FBI counterterrorism division managers condoned a time-billing practice under which 1,150 employees between 2003 and 2007 earned about $71,000 during a typical 90-day tour -- nearly triple the typical worker's salary, Inspector General Glenn Fine reported.
The practice violated federal law and regulations and accounted for at least $7.8 million to the $99 million taxpayer cost of the FBI efforts.
Millions of dollars were wrongly paid to many FBI employees over a period of years with the connivance of their supervisors and managers? Wow. It's a good thing they're cops, otherwise that's illegal.
The FBI has roughly 12,000 agents and a couple thousand more support professionals, so the 1,150 employees who wrongly benefited represent almost 10 percent of its workforce. Even assuming repeat tours in Iraq, its still a non-trivial percentage. With so many people submitting, approving, and processing this improper time-billing, we may assume that this practice was widely known within the FBI.
Here's the part I liked best:
T.J. Harrington, then deputy assistant director of the counterterrorism division, said the pay was justified because agents were constantly on call, had no freedom to use off-time and exercised to maintain fitness and relieve stress, the report stated. Generous pay was needed to attract volunteers for dangerous and uncomfortable duty, he said.
Say, why didn't the State Department try that incentive when they were looking for more volunteers to go to Iraq? The recruitment pitch might have gone like this:
"While in Iraq you'll receive R&Rs and danger pay. Even better (but keep this on the down-low), we'll look the other way while you defraud the government about your Time and Attendance."
"Really? That's a pretty sweet deal. Where do I sign up?"
If somebody doesn't get criminally prosecuted for this, I'll be more impressed than ever by the FBI's impunity to political consequences.