Report: Government Shutdown Would Not Stop NSA Spying Programs

No matter what side of the issue you are on, the looming government shutdown over raising the debt ceiling in Washington D.C. may shut down some important services but it will never stop the Nation Security Agency's (NSA) spying programs. At least that's what this report in The Hill notes. A government shutdown is imminent on Oct. 1 if lawmakers in the House and Senate can't agree on the particulars of a bill to raise the debt ceiling once again. At issue is a provision put in the bill by Republican lawmakers that does not fund Obamacare. The Senate plans to send a bill back to the House that strips that provision out.

But while all this drama over Obamacare and the debt ceiling plays out, the NSA will remain unaffected. According to a government official speaking to The Hill, all the political posturing will do nothing to slow down the NSA's spying activities:

"A shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations," a government official familiar with the plans said. In fact, the Defense Department is excepted to issue a contingency plan on Friday detailing how it will operate should the government actually be forced to shut down. It will be nearly identical to its 2011 plan, according to The Hill.

In its 2011 plan, outlined in a memo by then-Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, exempted activities necessary for "protection of life and property." The exemption covered "intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities required to support national or military requirements necessary for national security," according to the memo. The document also noted that "activities required to operate, maintain, assess, and disseminate the collection of intelligence data necessary to support tactical and strategic indications and warning systems" would not be affected by a shutdown.

Intelligence gathering that was "not in direct support of excepted activities" would be subject to a shutdown.

The government official that spoke to The Hill said that most of the NSA's operations would likely not fall under that restriction. According to document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to The Washington Post earlier this year, the NSA's annual budget is $10.8 billion.

Source: The Hill

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