WASHINGTON – FBI Director Christopher Wray told his agents Friday that the five-week government shutdown has been “mind-boggling” and “unfair,” delivering unusual and unusually pointed public remarks to voice his anger.
After the second missed paycheck of the longest partial government shutdown on record, Wray noted the anxiety and strain caused by forcing some workers to work without pay while forcing others to stay home when they want to work.
“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.”
Tom O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association, said in a statement that Wray clearly articulated the challenges confronting agents and workers.
“The director is correct that the FBI family comes together during a crisis, and we look forward to continuing to work with him and FBI leadership to protect the American people from criminal and terrorist threats,” O’Connor said.
The video came days after Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, released a video Wednesday calling the shutdown “unacceptable” for forcing workers to rely on food pantries and donations.
Wray acknowledged that it’s rare for the FBI to weigh in on political fights because “there are real costs to doing that.”
“The last thing this organization needs now is its leadership to wade right into the middle of a full-on political dispute,” Wray said.
But he assured workers in the 5 minute, 45-second video, posted on the agency’s website, that FBI leadership was advocating for a solution behind the scenes, just not in the press.
“We are actively advocating for you left and right at every level,” Wray said.
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