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The FBI's sequester plan

When America faces crime and crisis, we often turn to the FBI.

When America faces crime and crisis, we often turn to the FBI.

As the Justice Department’s main law enforcement and intelligence arm, the FBI investigates the most significant instances of crime, corruption and terrorism in the country.

James Comey, a former Republican prosecutor who became FBI director this month said: "I’m not sure that the effects of sequestration on this great institution that’s charged with protecting the American people are known well enough yet…I was very surprised to learn about the impact of sequestration is having on the FBI."

Comey says the sequester cuts are non-sensical. And he says they will force him to cut and send home a lot of FBI investigators at a time when we need them. "Not only am I having to lose 3,000 positions, but there's a very real prospect, unless something is done, that I'm going to have to send home, for two weeks without pay, the good men and women who work in this building behind me that are in charge of protecting the American people," Comey said. "That makes no sense to me."

I bet it won’t make sense to you, either.

The FBI’s sequester plan is based on requirements from the arbitrary spending cuts demanded by Republicans. Here’s how the New York Times summarizes the plan:

-        FBI headquarters will “shut down” for several days a time, the FBI field offices will shut down as well and during shut downs, “the bureau will have only a skeleton crew on hand.”

-        It’s questionable “how effectively [the FBI] can respond to crime” under the plan, but investigators can “return to work if there was a terrorist attack or a crime like a kidnapping.

We should ask whether continuing these cuts make us safer and stronger. And whether we want even more cuts across the board. That is what Republicans are demanding in the next budget showdown this month.