- “It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a rare public statement on Friday.
- The FBI has been hit hard by the government shutdown and most of its employees are still working but without pay.
- Wray ensured employees the FBI is “actively advocating for you left and right, at every level.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Friday issued a rare public statement slamming the ongoing partial government shutdown and its impact on the agency’s employees.
“Making some people stay home when they don’t want to, and making others show up without pay – it’s mind-boggling, it’s short-sighted, and it’s unfair,” Wray said. “It takes a lot to get me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.”
The majority of FBI agents are still on the job during the shutdown, which has now lasted over a month and is the longest government shutdown in US history, but are not being paid.
Addressing this, Wray said, “You’re public servants, and I know I can count on you to keep doing everything you can to help others, however you can. But you’re also people with bills to pay. You’re also mums and dads. You’ve also got rent payments and mortgages, and utilities and car payments and gas and groceries to buy. And you can’t put those worries aside just because you serve the public.”
Wray also touched on the highly polarised current political climate in the US, noting the difficulties of the FBI taking public positions as it already faces a slew of criticism of issues related to the 2016 presidential election.
He said the FBI has been thrust into “the political spotlight more than we would have liked over the past few years,” and that the “last thing” the agency needs is for “its leadership to wade into the middle of a full-on political dispute.”
Wray, who was tapped to head the FBI by President Donald Trump after the controversial ousting of James Comey, added, “But let me also be very clear: We’re actively advocating for you left and right, at every level. We’re having conversations day and night with people who can have the most impact, to show them how much this is affecting all of you and your families, and how it could affect the work we need to do for the American people.”
This statement comes just hours after FBI agents raided the home of Roger Stone, former adviser to the Trump campaign and longtime GOP strategist, who was indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Earlier this week, the FBI Agents Association released a report featuring anonymous testimonials from agents who are disgruntled by the shutdown. Agents expressed concern about the FBI’s ability to function and the overall affect on national security.
“The shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate,” one unnamed special agent said. “It’s bad enough to work without pay, but we can only conduct administrative functions while doing it. The fear is our enemies know they can run freely.”
The government shutdown is a product of an impasse between Trump and Democrats in Congress over funding for a wall the president wants to build along the US-Mexico border.