FBI to respond to questions about travel

Aug. 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- The FBI said it would respond to questions from Congress on the use of agency aircraft amid allegations officials used the aircraft for personal travel.

The Justice Department and the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed FBI Director Robert Mueller will respond to the allegations that Attorney General Eric Holder was among agency officials who "may have used FBI planes for his own travel when aircraft were needed for FBI operations," CNN reported Friday.

Congressional Republicans in the House and Senate said in a letter sent Thursday to Mueller that one allegation claimed Holder reserved an FBI aircraft, "upgraded to a larger aircraft owned by a different agency and left the FBI plane sitting idle because he failed to notify the FBI in a timely manner."

Lawmakers want to know why the FBI pays for Holder's travel, even when he uses non-FBI planes, CNN said. Congressional members also want the FBI to detail all flights billed to the FBI by the Justice Department, and whether those flights were used for official or personal travel.

One key issue is the government's requirement that attorneys general, Homeland Security secretaries, FBI directors, and defense and civilian intelligence officials travel in government aircraft for security reasons, CNN said.

When the designated officials travel on personal business they must reimburse the government at the price of a round trip coach fare and taxpayers pick up the difference, CNN said.

The letter was sent to Mueller on the day The Washington Post published an article in which it reported Holder was planning a trip to the Middle East after traveling on official business to Denmark, Germany, Guam, Malaysia and Singapore. The article indicated Holder has a full business agenda and had little time for personal activities.

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