House GOPers Express Concern as Intelligence Agencies May Dismiss Thousands of Unvaccinated Officers
© Jason ReedFILE PHOTO: The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in La..
© Jason Reed
Mandatory vaccination for many categories of employees across the United States has raised concerns over lack of qualified personnel, especially in some crucial services, including firefighters and police, as many workers fail to meet vaccination deadlines.
Several Republican lawmakers expressed concerns over personnel shortages among the intelligence community as thousands of secret service officers may leave their jobs due to mandatory vaccination, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
Despite the fact that vaccination rates appeared to be higher than in the rest of the US (97 percent in CIA, 90 percent in the National Reconnaissance Office) and it is believed that many officers will meet the deadline, set for 22 November, some key national security-related agencies may face understaffing.
According to Republican congressman Chris Stewart, several agencies had between 20 and 40 percent of their officers still unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, closing the personnel gap was said to be a rather challenging task given the specificity of the work and security measures undertaken when hiring new staff. There is no data on vaccination statistics among all intelligence services, but Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that “we are not anticipating that it is going to be an issue for mission.”
“My question is what’s the impact on national security if we do that?” Stewart said. “You’re potentially firing thousands of people on the same day. And it’s not like you put an ad on Craigslist and have people apply by Thursday.”
He also called on the administration to introduce more exemptions for employees on medical, religious and other grounds, as well as to postpone the retirement of those officers who would miss the deadline.
The call was opposed by some lawmakers, including Democratic congressman Jason Crow, who said that “If somebody is not willing to do what’s necessary to protect their own health and the health of their unit, that actually calls into question their ability to effectively do the job.”
The administration’s recent actions to boost vaccinations among civil servants and military personnel across the US have been met with stiff resistance, with many employees opting to resign instead. According to the Military Times, 8,500 members of the US Air Force failed to meet the November 2 vaccination deadline.