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FBI Director Makes Plea To Reverse Impending Budget Cuts

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Attorney General was in town for the International Chiefs of Police Conference (see related story).

And today, the Director of the FBI made a plea to reverse impending budget cuts that he says will impact the agency's ability to combat crime.

It's the first time he's spoken publicly about the situation.

Lots of concern, looks of concerns and words of concern from top police officials from all around the world here as the Director of the FBI announced for the first time, formally, that congressional budget slashing would have a major impact keeping the Bureau from doing its vital job.

At a time when FBI agents play a larger role than ever fighting violent crime and terrorism, they are facing potentially devastating cuts because of congressional budget slashing.

"I'm required to cut 3,500 positions, to cut my operations to the bone, to do things like ration gas money and to stare at the prospect of sending my folks home for an extended period," FBI Director James Comey said.

Comey making a plea for help to police leaders nationwide at the International Chiefs of Police Conference, including Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

"I don't think folks understand the impact on the FBI, the other members of the justice family," continued Comey.

"As police chief, I'm very concerned," Ramsey said.

Commissioner Ramsey says FBI budget cuts could badly hurt his department, which relies heavily on FBI manpower and expertise.

"We cannot afford to have the FBI cut, to that extent. It just simply cannot happen," Ramsey said.

"I cannot begin to imagine the impact of those kind of massive cuts to federal law enforcement on the local and county and state level," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Ferman also expressing concerns the budget cuts hurting the FBI could be a body blow to law enforcement throughout the region.

"If we lose access to those partners that will have a direct and very negative impact on public safety," Ferman said.

We have often heard from the FBI making pleas for help in solving criminal cases, but the plea that was heard here today, like none other, a plea to the public to reach out to Congress, to have them reverse the cuts, that are impacting the FBI.

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