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Clapper: Cuts hurt national security

March 12, 2013 at 3:05 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- The nation's top intelligence chief told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday sequestration cuts jeopardize national security.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence, appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"In my considered judgment as the nation's senior intelligence officer, sequestration jeopardizes our nation's safety and security," Clapper said. "And this jeopardy will increase over time. The National Intelligence Program, or NIP as it's called, which I manage is spread across six Cabinet departments, and two independent agencies. Much of it is included in the [Defense Department] budget. For that portion of the NIP, the Congress directed that the National Intelligence Program use an even more onerous set of rules to carry out these cuts than that imposed on the Defense Department."

The reductions, called sequestration, are part of the broad across-the-board cuts launched by law as Congress and the executive fail to reach a budget agreement.

"This restrictive Program Project and Activity, or PPA, structure as its known, compounds the damage because it restricts our ability to manage where to take deductions in a balanced, and rational way," Clapper said. "Accordingly the sheer size of the budget cut, well over $4 billion, or about 7 percent of the NIP will directly compel us to do less, with less."

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