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Top FBI Officials Used War on Terror Jets for Personal, Business Travel

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation has found that top Department of Justice and FBI officials, including Attorney General Eric Holder, his predecessor in the Bush administration, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, have been using two Gulfstream V jets for business and personal trips at an expense of millions of dollars to taxpayers.

The FBI’s jets, leased for use during the war on terror, logged 60% of their hours between 2007 and 2011 on “non-mission flights” that cost taxpayers $11.4 million. The travel included 88 personal trips for Holder and former Republican Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who stepped down in 2009, and 10 for Mueller, the review found.

In 2011, Holder’s use of one of the aircraft left the FBI without access to the Gulfstream during a counterterrorism operation. As a result, agents had to scramble to secure a charter plane.

The FBI does have cheaper aircraft, the smaller Citation jet and a Haviland Dash 8 turboprop, which were used for years to transport former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Since 2007, those smaller and cheaper planes were only used by Holder, Mukasey, and Mueller about a third of the time, the GAO report found.

"These luxury jets were supposedly needed for counterterrorism, but it turns out that they were used almost two-thirds of the time for jet-setting executive travel instead," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of the Justice Department and FBI.

Read the GAO Report, Department of Justice: Executives’ Use of Aircraft for Nonmission Purposes, here.

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