Today’s Washington Post:
When the FBI asked Congress this spring to provide $3.6 million in the war spending bill for its Gulfstream V jet, it said the money was needed to ensure that the aircraft, packed with state-of-the-art security and communications gear, could continue to fly counterterrorism agents on “crucial missions” into Iraq.
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the bureau has made similar annual requests to maintain and fuel the $40 million jet on grounds that it had a “tremendous impact” on combating terrorism by rapidly deploying FBI agents to “fast-moving investigations and crisis situations” in places such as Afghanistan.
But the jet that the FBI originally sold to lawmakers in the late 1990s as an essential tool for battling terrorism is now routinely used to ferry FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to speeches, public appearances and field office visits.
So we are using a state of the art jet, designed to monitor and combat terrorism, to taxi around the FBI director.
Well this sounds somewhat familiar to me. As matter of fact, this story strikes a very similar note to this one:
In June of 2006, [Michael] Leavitt [Secretary of Health and Human services] came under criticism for misappropriation of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionâ€™s (CDC) Gulfstream III Emergency Response aircraft to, primarily, promote the newly reformed Medicare plan.
Critics argue that Leavitt irresponsibly has used the aircraft since January of 2006, logging over $700,000 worth of flight time in the 14 seat private jet. Leavittâ€™s office maintains that the use of the aircraft was necessary and legal since the Senate Appropriations Committee approved his use of the aircraft, and commercial services could not meet the deadlines required by his engagements. During two recent emergencies that the CDC has required use of the aircraft, they were forced to privately charter a different plane since the CDCâ€™s GIII was in use by Leavitt.
So we have top people in the Bush administration misusing equipment meant for the safety of our nation. If a citizen of this country interferes with an emergency vehicle (police car, fire truck, ambulance, etc.), they are charged with interfering with emergency response. Why aren’t top government officials held to the same standards?
This is nothing more than abuse of tax payer dollars by the part who is supposed to stand for smaller government. Just remember – the Republicans won’t question this behavior though (and most likely try to block any Democratic investigation into it). This doesn’t have the priority of something so wasteful, as say; the Clintons Christmas card list.