By Debbie Gregory.

During the recent government shut down and the risk of another; while the majority of FBI employees remained on the job, albeit without pay, the 14,000 members of the FBI Agents Association had been hampered from performing their duties, including investigations, travel, training, payments to confidential sources and employee benefits, all due to the government shutdown.

Thomas O’Connor, the FBI special agent who is the volunteer president of the association, said “It’s sad” and “disgusting” that the bureau’s law enforcement professionals “have been let down by our elected officials.”

So the association took the rare step of collecting anonymous, volunteer statements from special agents as to how they have been affected by Washington’s inability to keep the government functioning.

The report, “Voices from the Field: FBI Agent Accounts of the Real Consequences of the Government Shutdown,” identifies the risks that may emerge from another shutdown, and it will be distributed to all lawmakers.

“We are releasing Voices from the Field to ensure that our elected leaders and members of the public are aware that the resources available to support the work of FBI Agents stretched to the breaking point and dwindling day by day,” said O’Connor in regards to the recent government shutdown.

The report details of how a lack of funding caused by the government shutdown had undermined criminal, counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence operations; delayed and complicated child trafficking and exploitation investigations; harmed cooperation with local law enforcement; reduced informant cooperation; and hindered a wide range of other efforts.

“For us, the fight for funding is not political. It is a matter of completing our mission to protect this country from criminal and national security threats,” said O’Connor. “It’s time for Congress and the White House to negotiate an agreement that protects national security and public safety, so that Agents can get back to work,” O’Connor added. “Our message is simple. For FBI Special Agents, financial security is national security. It is critical to fund the FBI.”

For Agents, the fight for funding is not political. It is a matter of completing their mission and protecting the Constitution and the people of our nation.

One overriding fact is clear when you listen to FBI Agents: Financial security is national security.