By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
Unless Congress can agree on a new budget, the federal government will shut down midnight Monday.
But that’s unlikely to stop the massive spy machine at the National Security Agency.
The possible government shutdown would affect bureaucrats, park rangers and countless other government employees and contractors across the country. Even three-quarters of the White House staff would be sent home.
But “essential personnel” and services would stay online – including the NSA’s surveillance operations.
“A shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations,” a government official familiar with the plans told The Hill on Thursday.
On Friday, the Defense Department released its plans for dealing with a potential shutdown. In a memo, intelligence and surveillance programs were listed as essential duties of the department not be affected by a shutdown.
The essential duties of the Defense Department – including recruitment, operations of mortuary facilities for fallen service members and medical care for veterans – would carry on. Most directly relate to the military and its role in preserving national security, but the spies seem to get the same exception.
In all, about half of the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian employees would be furloughed in the event of a shutdown, the New York Times reported. All military personal would remain on duty.
After all, if they’re not tracking your phone calls and reading your emails, who would?
The NSA costs taxpayers about $10 billion annually, according to the so-called “black budget” leaked earlier this year by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Boehm is a reporter for Watchdog.org and can be reached at Eboehm@Watchdog.org. Follow him on Twitter at @EricBoehm87
- Shutdown plan: Virginia will carry federally funded state workers until Oct. 4
- OKC National Memorial and Museum will stay open regardless of federal shutdown
- TN rep equates looming government shutdown with hostage crisis
- Government shutdown won’t shut down NSA spying
- 7 myths about a federal government shutdown
- Obamacare goes full-speed ahead as military pay enters uncharted waters
- Shutdown sparks New Jersey confusion about Obamacare
- Federal shutdown could furlough 57,000 Virginians
- ‘Business as usual’ for PA state government as feds prepare for shutdown
- Union plans rally as MN braces for federal shutdown
- Only government you don’t know about could go away in Illinois
- Shutdown? NM seems OK on the state level, but federal workers will feel the pinch
- WI congressional delegation soldiers on in Obamacare-shutdown battle
- Shutdown? What shutdown? States will carry on despite impasse in Washington
- McAuliffe tries to ride shutdown to victory in November
- NM delegation on gov’t shutdown: It’s the other side’s fault
- Panda Cam goes dark as government shutdown cripples cute
- U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin: I’m shutting down, too
- Missouri’s Wagner declines congressional pay during shutdown
- GIs take first battle of government shutdown
- The horror: Shutdown delays pro-Obamacare video contest
- Obamacare device tax ‘devastating’ to TN manufacturers
- Did The New Republic call for Obama to dissolve Congress?
- 4 reasons to cross the Potomac during the shutdown
- Are furloughed park employees trying to pick a fight on Facebook?
- Shutdown is ‘boom time’ for political fundraising
- Sorry Yogi: Reid calls move to open parks a ‘wacky idea’
- World War II vets 90, government shutdown 0
- Shutdown shouldn’t alter NM oil and gas bottom line
- FL tourism industry is magic, shutdown or not
- Fed shutdown leaves Americans stranded abroad
- Government shutdown brings relief to Main Street
- GOP’s Johanns: People mad, feel ‘duped’ into believing government shutdown would stop ObamaCare
- Chris Matthews’ weak grasp of government shutdown history
- U.S. senator turns total shutdown into partial shutdown
- Fed shutdown grounds plan to airdrop possibly harmful substance on TN land
- Ohio vets ready to storm World War II Memorial
- Some states battling with feds to keep parks, landmarks open during shutdown
- Federal tourist blockades called ‘vindictive’ in Virginia
- Veterans’ day: Ohio vets conquer World War II Memorial during government shutdown
- E-Verify: Is Obama happy to see right-to-work database go?
- Two battlefields raise the question: Who maintains Civil War sites?
- Contradictions abound in federal shutdown policy
- Park Service losing $76 million a day in shutdown
- Nebraska federal judge tells Congress to ‘go to hell’
- Shutdown renews call to move western forests, parks under state control
- How to make NM less vulnerable to federal gov’t shutdowns
- Are senators playing selective service in shutdown politics?
- Double dipping: Shutdown means double pay for Oregon federal workers
- No double dipping for furloughed federal workers in Virginia
- Not so fast: Federal workers in Wisconsin must repay unemployment benefits