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Yessiree, our Nation’s top officials will leave no dollar unspent in their unstinting effort to keep us safe from terrorists – including spending several million dollars on the essential need of transporting the FBI director to speaking engagements.
In 1999, the bureau persuaded Congress to buy a $40 million Gulfstream V jet for the agency as part of its growing role in counter-terrorism work. The sleek, fast, and posh Gulfstream is a favorite of corporate executives. But the FBI wanted it to zip agents abroad for rapid-response investigations. And that’s exactly how the bureau used the Gulfstream… until George W took office in 2001 and named Robert S. Mueller III as his FBI director.
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The rationale for the jet has remained the same. This spring, for example, when seeking another $3.6-million annual appropriation to maintain, fuel, and fly it, the bureau reported that the plane was having a “tremendous impact” in the war on terrorism by transporting agents to “fast-moving investigations and crisis situations.” Unreported, however, was the fact that Mueller has been commandeering the Gulfstream about a fourth of the time for his own flights to make speeches and to visit field offices here in the U.S.
No doubt Mueller is a busy fellow – but his predecessor was, too, and he traveled either on commercial jets or by using a smaller jet the agency keeps. Well, snapped a spokesman, Mueller is “the CEO” of the FBI, and every trip he makes “furthers the operational mission of the bureau.” Hmmm – I wonder if that includes when Mueller uses the Gulfstream to fly to a speech event, then stays behind for a vacation? Even some Republicans are critical – as Sen. Charles Grassley says: “If the FBI wanted a jet to fly the director around, then it shouldn’t try to justify the plane as a weapon in the war on terror.”
“Mueller Often Uses FBI Jet Bought for Counterterrorism,” Washington Post, June 12, 2007