Shutdown unlikely to stop NSA spying

A government shutdown, set for Oct. 1 if lawmakers fail to strike a deal, would be unlikely to impede the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

“A shutdown would be unlikely to affect core NSA operations,” a government official familiar with the plans said. 

{mosads}The Defense Department is set to release its plan for how to handle a potential shutdown on Friday. That plan is expected to be similar to one the department released in 2011 ahead of another congressional showdown that ultimately resulted in a deal to keep the government running.

The 2011 plan, outlined in a memo by then-Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn, exempted activities necessary for “protection of life and property.” The exemption covered “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities required to support national or military requirements necessary for national security,” according to the memo.

The document also stated that “activities required to operate, maintain, assess, and disseminate the collection of intelligence data necessary to support tactical and strategic indications and warning systems,” would not be affected by a shutdown. 

The memo did state, however, that intelligence gathering “not in direct support of excepted activities” would be subject to the shutdown. But the government official said most NSA operations would likely not fall under that restriction. 

The NSA’s annual budget is $10.8 billion, according to a secret budget leaked to The Washington Post by Edward Snowden.

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