Following quickly after the reports of the John Beale affair at the EPA, the CIA today announced its own scandal whose similarities to the Beale affair seem past belief, the subject of spy fiction. In fact, the CIA’s story is as real as it gets.
First, a little background, Recall that John Beale, one of EPA’s senior policy advisors, cashed in for 13 years masquerading as a CIA operative. During that time by citing his duties with the CIA, Mr. Beale chalked up the kind of expensive perks reserved exclusively for members of Congress, i.e.,: unearned pay and bonuses, first-class airline tickets, a high-priced handicapped parking spot and months at a time to goof off on the taxpayers’ dime.” [POLITICO] Last Friday, Beale pleaded guilty to charges that will cost him more than a million dollars restitution, and as much as three years jail time. And more charges may follow.
Congress quickly became outraged,. Last Tuesday, Republican Chairman Darrell Issa convened his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to snoop into the matter. The shocked committee loudly criticized EPA. That this long-time federal government employee could get paid for not working, and for impersonating a member of another agency, caused Congressional tummy aches.
Under that lens, Mr. Beale shrank and took the Fifth. In his stead, committee folk raked EPA higher-ups over the coals. Officials fought for answers as to why Beale’s deception went unchallenged, particularly when, in 2012, he demanded permission to operate drones from EPA headquarters. Permission granted.
Pressing them, Chairman Issa asked,
“Did no one notice the rocket launcher mounted behind his desk? the ammo on his desk? the parachute he always wore? Did not one of you wonder “Why is Beale hiding in the lobby garden?”
After huddling for a few moments seven EPA officials answered in seriatim, ”Nuh uh.”
All together unsatisfied, Issa and others promised more hearings and howlings will follow. Congress is up in arms.
But wait, there’s more already.
This morning spokespersons at the Department of Homeland Security and CIA headquarters revealed that, Edward Hunter, an 18 month year veteran senior intern in charge of covert operations in Harumpistan had perpetrated fraud similar to that of EPA’s John Beale. And, worse still, the two fraudsters may have been in cahoots for the past 15 months.
Here’s what federal investigators surmise. Mr. Beale, at some point in 2010, sought to launder his ill-gotten EPA bonuses through the acquisition of a beachside home in tony East Hampton, New York. He surreptitiously sent out word of his need for a partner, and in a coincidence as startling as it is true, Mr. Hunter, at CIA, contacted him.
As they discussed the real estate deal, they each revealed they were, in effect, scamming their respective agencies. Each explained how. Mr. Beale disclosed his 13 years at EPA where he impersonated a covert CIA operative, and how he often convinced his supervisors he was regularly called upon to conduct top-secret missions that would take place off-site of EPA offices.
Mr. Hunter explained that his CIA intern supervisor rarely, if ever, asked questions, and explained that due to a massive recruitment lull since 2003 they were so pleased to have him working there that, if he cared to, he could operate as a lone wolf, James Bond fashion. Within three months at CIA he requested permission to run all overt and covert operations and in-country operatives in Harumpistan. Request granted. He went to work on all things Harumpistan, often visiting the country for three months.
In time, each swindler thereby received numerous bonuses, awards, first-class travel vouchers, and a special commode section in the men’s room on his floor, all for the ”accomplishments” they fabricated. Unsurprisingly, Beale and Hunter became fast friends. In fact, according to inspector general investigators, these two bunko artists often planned their ventures simultaneously so they could meet at various hot spots from Las Vegas to Branson, Missouri, from Honolulu to Monte Carlo. They each received an award and audience from Pope Francis for their charitable work, all, of course, financed with stolen money. Last year, at Cannes Film Festival, a documentary film about fraud in the United States government which Beale and Hunter financed and co-wrote won them a “Must See” award. High life seekers, their co-owned East Hampton manse offered lavish headquarters where parties, widely known as debauched, lasted for a week at a time. In 2012, gleefully pushing their luck, they jointly purchased a 2010 vintage EPA airplane that the agency could no longer afford to operate.
Wow! Truly though, unless one is hopelessly hard-hearted, one must pull for the two, mustn’t one?
Realistically, one can understand how Mr. Beale managed to fool his EPA supervisors. After all, Beale’s mere mention of a CIA connection, and its well-know secretive operations, would carry considerable weight with his superiors. at the Oversight hearing many EPA officials admitted they were unaware of the CIA’s phone number so could not confirm Mr. Beale’s story.
Less easy to understand: How did Mr. Hunter, a college age intern get away with his exploits? Well, it turns out the CIA has even less rigorous standards for vetting its personnel than the EPA.
The CIA College Intern Recruitment Director, Edgar Naught, reported exclusively to this reporter:
“Well, since Iraq, no one wants to work for us. And with retirements, forced and voluntary, we’re quite understaffed. Some of our operatives will not leave federal incarceration for many years. So, we’re in a buyer’s market, so to speak. We’ve had to open up our vetting process to ensure continuity of the agency. We do that with interns.
Our actuaries maintain that by fiscal year 2015 at our present rate of retirements/incarcerations/kidnappings versus new hires, our staff will sit at less that 30, including me and the janitorial staff, some of whom are themselves operatives. Nowadays, and I hope you’ll not publicize this, we receive no applications for full-time employment whatever. None. Nada.
Fortunately, college and graduate school students, due to their lack of historical perspective and common sense, continue to view CIA as a plum internship assignment. And we take any applicant who does not wet himself or herself during the interview. Once on board, we cater to their every need. They seem giddy.
With that as background, I’ll get back to your original question about Mr. Hunter and how he slipped through our intern selection process. For that answer, I refer you to what I spoke of just a few moments ago. And that is the official CIA position. We have never heard of Mr. Hunter. Nor have you.”
As I backed away from Mr. Naught’s desk, I inquired whether a “Harumpistan” existed at all. He replied that he had not been cleared to reveal that.
“In fact, only one person has a high enough clearance within the agency to discuss Harumpistan and the CIA has no knowledge of Mr. Hunter, as we previously attested.”
I understood. I went on my way.