FBI Agents Complain That Shutdown Is Hampering Sex Trafficking, Gang Investigations

Is the government shutdown also Vladimir Putin's fault? Following a report released Tuesday by the FBI, we imagine it's only a matter of time before Rachel Maddow and the rest of the left-leaning cable news commentariat come to that conclusion.

In a 72-page-report and press conference, the FBI on Tuesday attacked President Trump for allowing the shutdown (now in its 32nd day) to continue and listed all the ways that break in funding for the DOJ (where the FBI is housed) has impacted its ongoing investigations (though it's worth noting that, according to media reports, the Mueller probe has continued without much of an interruption). Among the functions that have been interrupted: The US attorneys office can't issue grand jury subpoenas, ongoing investigations have been interrupted, agents are struggling to work without pay, and efforts to thwart sex trafficking and anti-gang operations (including investigations into MS-13) have been delayed.

The FBI shared a summary of these gripes in a twitter thread published by the FBI Agents Association. Though agents are still working cases, some agents are struggling to feed their families. All of this culminated with Agents Association President Tom O'Connor calling on lawmakers to pass legislation funding the FBI.

Some of the anecdotes included in the report offered more details about how the shutdown has affected investigations.

"I have been working a long-term MS-13 investigation for over three years," one FBI employee wrote in the report. "We have indicted 23 MS-13 gang members for racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, extortion, money laundering and weapons offenses. ... Since the shutdown, I have not had a Spanish speaker in the division. We have several Spanish speaking informants. We are only able to communicate using a three-way call with a linguist in another division."

Several agents claimed that, because the FBI currently cannot pay confidential informants, efforts to curb narcotics trafficking have fallen by the wayside because the bureau is "unable to do undercover" or confidential human source operations that require purchases of guns or drugs from dealers on the street.

In other words, Trump is using the shutdown to exact his revenge on the FBI...and he doesn't care whether it hampers investigations into gangs and drug traffickers.

Read the full report here.