fly commercial? not the FBI chief

Posted on June 12, 2007

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Oh, it’s alright, it’s all perfectly legal and above board, because the FBI has the approval of the Department of Justice for each flight on its $40 million Gulfstream Jet V.

Hmmm, right. That’s really reassuring, especially if you’ve been reading the news and followed what’s been going on in that Department and how it’s run.

If that’s not all, the jet costs taxpayers $3.6 million a year for upkeep and derives that cash from the war spending bill. Go to the Gulfstream website and check out how fancy these planes are. Some come equipped with cherry oak-panelled bars and plush leather seats. It’s not the jet for Hollywood moguls for nothing.

Ostensibly, the jet is a tool in the “war on terror”, but the Washington Post reports that it is more often than not used to take FBI chief Robert Mueller to speeches, public appearances and field office visits.

Talk about a waste and misuse of taxpayers’ money by pompous government bureaucrats with royalty- or rock star-complexes. It’s amazing how much money is being misused under the pretense of its necessity for the war against terror.

Some will argue that it’s small change compared to the billions we have bled away in Iraq. Sure, but don’t be surprised that government expenses have become so bloated and the federal government is up to its eyeballs in debt. In the private sector, companies that are too excessive or inefficient go under but our government agencies, which have proven themselves disastrous when real disasters strike, just seem to get more cash thrown at them. Where’s the logic in that?

Part of the FBI’s justification for the Gulfstream jet is because of its special communications system. “FBI officials said Mueller relies on the jet’s special communications gear to ensure that he can be in instant contact with Washington in the event of another terrorist attack that grounds commercial flights, and also to conduct sensitive conversations during routine travel,” the Washington Post said.

I fail to see the rationale for Mueller to fly in this “special-purposed” jet. The “secure communication” excuse is just that, an excuse. Does Mueller have to be within reach at all time? Is Mueller the sole person on whom the entire country depends in the “war against terror”? What about his deputy and all the other staff? The implications that Mueller has to be in contact and no other person at FBI can handle emergencies when he is flying just seem excessive and frankly ludicrous.

Sure, the director of the FBI needs to fly securely. So let him fly in military jets then. No need for custom luxury jets. He wouldn’t have to stand in lines for security searches or show up hours early like for commercial flights (not that he would have to anyway, even if he were to fly commercial. Get real). If the FBI chief can’t trust military jets to ensure him a safe and secure flight, what does that say about our security?

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Posted in: fbi, justice, politics, US