EPA's 'secret agent' con man pleads guilty -- then pleads the Fifth
A high-ranking federal Environmental Protection Agency official who admitted to cheating the government out of nearly $1 million by pretending to be a secret agent, smugly refused to answer questions from lawmakers Tuesday, invoking the Fifth Amendment – even though he’s already pleaded guilty.You know what? Beale shouldn't be ridiculed. His supervisors - and their supervisors - who failed to perform even the most cursory of checks on him should be ridiculed. And fired. Preferably from a cannon. This guy claimed to be working at the CIA for over a decade and no one asked him what department, or who he reported to, or CALLED THE DAMN CIA to make sure he was working there? Nothing? Is this routine? Federal employees just make shit up and no one checks? Do they amuse themselves by lighting large piles of taxpayer dollars on fire on Friday afternoons, too?
John Beale, who got himself a cushy four-day workweek for years by telling his bosses he had a one-day-per-week gig at the CIA, refused to answer even the most basic questions from Rep. Darryl Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Although Issa said his committee hauled Beale, 64, in not to “ridicule” him, but to ensure that the fraud he committed wasn’t being duplicated by other government employees, Beale calmly refused.
Over. A. Decade. He claimed to work for a different agency entirely - this isn't like he was claiming to be at a different EPA branch or something; he was claiming that he was working with the CIA. Now, perhaps the EPA and the CIA are all buddy-buddy these days, but even at that, you'd think that over the course of ten years someone might have asked him what he was working on or at least confirmed his work. He claimed a back injury that caused him to have to fly first class, and no one checked up on that either - to the tune of $13,000.
This entire story, of course, is reflected in the glow of the "shutdown" or, as the media has taken to calling it, "slimdown". At a time when we're closing access to national parks - parks that, as taxpayers, we have every right as Americans to visit - we have stories like this making the news of federal employees stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars by claiming phony jobs and using said phony job to cover for flying to their vacation home.
It's hard to see the shutdown as a bad thing if it means fraud like this is starved of cash...
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)