FBI Agents release petition calling the lack of pay during government shutdown 'a security threat'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The federal government is in its 20th day of the partial shutdown, with no end in sight.

Thousands of FBI agents are expecting to miss their paychecks Friday.

[LINK: Petition from FBI Agents Association]

[ALSO READ: Hundreds of federal food inspectors not working as government shutdown continues]

"So many of these agents are serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, all around the world,” said Chris Swecker, a former FBI assistant director. “They don’t need to worry about what is happening with their families."

Swecker said one of the biggest issues is not having major money for agents to get their jobs done.

[NO DEAL: President Trump walks out of White House shutdown talks]

"Vital operations will be cut short because they’re not sure of a continual funding stream,” Swecker said. “We're talking millions of dollars sometimes to do one significant undercover operation.”

The FBI Agents Association released a petition calling the lack of pay a security threat and urging leaders in Washington, D.C., to fund the bureau as soon as possible.

The petition describes concerns over delays in agents being able to get or renew security clearances and potentially disqualifying some agents from certain cases.

"It's a matter of national security if they can't put their full attention on the job they’re supposed to be doing,” Swecker said.

Swecker said the partial government shutdown won’t stop agents from doing their job, but it may be a major distraction if it continues.

"Anybody not getting paid, agents who support their families, worry how they’re going to make ends meet,” Swecker said.

Swecker said FBI agents have relief assistance available much like veterans.

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