In another case of glaring government ineptitude, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed one of its leading climate change experts to defraud taxpayers for nearly $1 million in salary. Moreover, he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in unearned bonuses and expenses for five-star hotels and limos.
John C. Beale was able to deceive his gullible superiors by devising a bizarre story that he was on a secret mission for the CIA. Therefore, he was unable to fulfill his normal job duties at the EPA. Beale, who headed up United Nations climate change conferences, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C. Federal Court on Wednesday, according to a report by NBC News National Investigator Michael Isikoff.
Beale served as a “senior policy analyst” and simply did not show up to work for long periods of time. This includes one 18-month span in which he did “absolutely no work,” as Beale’s lawyer affirmed in his court filing. In reality, the EPA climate control specialist had no relationship with the CIA whatsoever. Most of the time while Beale was supposedly on a clandestine spy mission, he was in fact riding his bike, reading books, working on his house in Virginia, or enjoying his vacation home on Cape Cod. “He’s never been to Langley (the CIA’s Virginia headquarters),” said EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan. “The CIA has no record of him ever walking through the door.”
New reports by the EPA Inspector General’s office concluded that top officials “enabled” Beale by not verifying any of his bogus accounts of where he was during his long absences. One story that Beale concocted was that he had to fly to Pakistan to help rescue another CIA agent from being tortured by the Taliban. “Due to recent events that you have probably read about, I am in Pakistan,” he wrote in a December 18, 2010 email. “Got the call Thurs and left Fri. Hope to be back for Christmas ….Ho, ho, ho.”
At one time, during the 2008 election year, Beale did not go to work for six months, claiming he was part of a CIA “candidate security” project. That deception cost the government $57,000 for five excursions to California which his lawyer admitted were made for entirely “personal reasons.” One of the reports said Beale had flown, mostly first class, over 33 times between 2003 and 2011, staying in high end hotels costing the government $266,190 in fraudulent expenditures. His expense vouchers were immediately approved by another EPA official who is now being investigated by the inspector General.
Sullivan is not surprised that a fraud of this nature could take place at the EPA. “There’s a certain culture here at the EPA where the mission is the most important thing,” he confessed. “They don’t think like criminal investigators. They tend to be very trusting and accepting.”