Big budget woes worry new FBI Director James Comey.
The special agent training pipeline is empty, curtailed by prior economizing, reported McClatchy Newspapers. By Oct. 1, Comey must find an additional $800 million or so in budget savings, out of a total annual FBI budget of about $8.1 billion. Layoffs and furloughs appear inevitable.
“I’m not playing a game,” Comey told reporters Thursday. “I’m not crying wolf.”
Over the next decade, the automatic cuts known as the sequester, are estimated to reduce federal spending by about $1 trillion. Most Justice Department agencies would, like the FBI, shoulder cuts of 8.2 percent.
“It didn’t make sense before I was sworn in, and it still doesn’t make sense to me,” Comey said. “To get to where I need to be, I need to eliminate a bunch of positions, and then we’re faced with a furlough.”
The bureau grew immensely in both staff and funding during the past 12 years under Mueller. In fiscal 2001, it had a budget of $3.3 billion and a staff of about 27,000. By fiscal 2012, the bureau’s budget was $8.1 billion and the staff has expanded to more than 34,000 employees.
Comey indicated that he may have to “cut 3,000 positions,” as well as impose unpaid furloughs of up to two weeks on remaining employees to meet the sequester demands. He declined to spotlight specific programs where the potential cuts might hit.
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