Snitches get no pay during shutdown. The partial government shutdown hasn't just hurt airport security theater. The drug war is suffering too: FBI agents are complaining that they don't even the funds to pay snitches or to buy drugs in undercover stings.
These complaints come up in a 72-page FBI Agents Association report in which anonymous agents talk about the shutdown's effect on FBI operations. It has "stripped the department of the ability to buy drugs for narcotics busts and pay confidential informants," notes NBC News. "Not being able to pay confidential human sources risks losing them and the information they provide forever," one agent says.
Another complains that agents had to take a brief break from "using government funds to purchase narcotics or firearms from gang members," while a third is upset that there's no money to "conduct controlled narcotics purchases." Yet another's lament:
[W]e are going to be unable to conduct any controlled purchases of illicit drugs because the FBI and our partner…have no evidence purchase funds available.
Throughout the report, agents object to a lack of funds for paying "confidential human sources" and for fighting the war on drugs. The shutdown may also be affecting the FBI's ability to give overtime pay to state and local cops working with them on drug and prostitution stings.
In addition, the bureau seems to be running out of DNA tests and tires:
At least one agent complains about not being able to protect oil and gas industry representatives:
The Senate is supposed to vote today on two separate shutdown-ending measures—one backed by Republicans, one backed by Democrats, and neither expected to pass.
New York state prisons are indefinitely holding post-release prisoners because there's not enough room in supportive housing facilities. Now lawyers for six men have filed a federal lawsuit "to force Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to address a shortage of housing for people with serious mental illnesses who need help adjusting to life outside prison walls," The New York Times reports.
Read the complaint here.
Major layoffs are happening at BuzzFeed, Verizon, and Gannett. BuzzFeed is set to lay off 15 percent of its staff—about 220 employees. The news was reported by The Wall Street Journal yesterday and later confirmed by BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. The company saw double digit growth in 2018 but still failed to meet revenue targets.
Yesterday also saw an announcement from Verizon that its media division—which includes HuffPost, Yahoo, and AOL—will cut 7 percent of its employees. And Gannett is laying off newspaper staff around the country.
- From The Hill: "A panel of federal judges this week ordered Virginia to adopt new state legislative district lines that are likely to significantly aid Democratic efforts to reclaim control of the House of Delegates."
- Lessons from a lifetime of gender policing.
- Cato's Juan Carlos Hidalgo parses the situation in Venezuela, where Juan Guaido declared himself interim president Wednesday and rival president Nicolas Maduro told U.S. diplomatic personnel they had 72 hours to get out.
- Kamala Harris talked criminal justice on The Rachel Maddow Show last night:
Kamala Harris just said on Maddow that she believes in seeking the highest possible sentence for those who commit violence.
It seems like she's angling more for the tough-on-crime than the "progressive prosecutor" angle.
— John Pfaff (@JohnFPfaff) January 24, 2019