FBI employees turn to food banks, outside work as shutdown drags on

As the government shutdown stretches towards a fifth week, FBI field offices across the country are opening food banks to help support special agents and staff struggling without pay.

In Dallas, Newark, New Jersey, and Washington, the FBI has set up or planned for areas where employees can drop off non-perishable food items for other employees to pick up, according to multiple law enforcement officials.

On the West Coast, at least two FBI field offices are considering establishing food banks as one of a number of ideas to help employees hurting from the shutdown, a law enforcement official said.

“We’re all in this together and we’re banding together to help each other out in any way we can,” said Melinda Urbina, a spokeswoman for the FBI field office in Dallas, where a volunteer employee group set up the food bank now filled with pastas and canned goods in one of the main break rooms.

Some 35,000 FBI employees, including administrative and support staff, missed a paycheck last week as negotiations between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over government funding and border security have stalled.

That has left many also searching for outside employment, despite limitations on the type of work employees can do and still keep a security clearance or not violate government employment rules.

Justice Department component agencies have had a number of requests from employees, including law enforcement agents and officers, seeking guidance on outside employment, two senior law enforcement officials told CNN. Lawyers have been doing research to determine what type of outside employment would be allowed, the officials said.

RELATED: State Department orders staff back to work, says they will be paid

Another law enforcement official said that the number of requests for outside employment at one FBI field office has “significantly increased.” All FBI employees must get approval through an established process before they engage in other work.

Law enforcement officials have also warned that FBI investigations are being damaged as operational budgets dwindle.

Pay for informants and surveillance work as well as drug buys in trafficking operations are all endangered as resource shortages restrict the tools available to investigators, according to Tom O’Connor, the president of the FBI Agents Association, which represents most of the bureau’s active duty special agents.

Still, throughout the country’s longest government shutdown, FBI special agents remain in the streets carrying out law enforcement activities.

On Wednesday, undercover FBI special agents in Georgia met 21-year-old Hasher Taheb in a parking lot with a trailer filled with inert assault rifles and explosives.

After Taheb, who was later charged by federal prosecutors for a plan to attack the White House and other DC monuments, exchanged his car for the weapons, agents, working without pay, took him under arrest, according to a criminal complaint.

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  • DaMailman

    They’ve missed ONE freaking check! Now we know why the federal budget is such a s***show. Sounds like government employees need mandatory Dave Ramsey training.

  • J.B.

    Every Fed/State employee i have ever met had a 50k+ a year paycheck +all the perks and benefits you could imagine…

    And “one” missing paycheck puts them to raiding the local food banks?

    Now imagine how hard “real” people have it everyday for their entire lives…Welcome to the party!

  • HenryFord

    This is further reason to disband the FBI, zero integrity. They are a politically driven gestapo now. Dismiss them all, and form a new organization from the ground up.

  • Matt

    Democratic propaganda. Nothing more. ” look at all these sad and hungry employees, you can help them its all Trumps fault bla bla bla bla bla.

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