FBI Jet Veers Off Course

Tricked-out aircraft designated for counterterrorism often ferries director

By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 12, 2007 10:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – The FBI says it needs its $40 million Gulfstream V jet for counterterrorism missions, yet nearly one-quarter of its flight time consists of routine trips by director Robert Mueller, the Washington Post reports. A key Republican senator calls this use of the only agency aircraft capable of international flights "a good way to lose congressional approval of a necessary resource."

A bureau spokesman justifies the use, describing Mueller as "the CEO of the FBI's part in the war on terror." The agency acquired the jet to relocate terrorism suspects long distances on short notice without having to rely on military aircraft or sympathetic private-plane owners. Budget requests stress the jet’s performance in "fast-moving investigations and crisis situations" overseas.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 26, 2007, before the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing on proposed fiscal 2008 appropriations for the FBI. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 26, 2007, before the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing on proposed fiscal...   (Associated Press)
Gulfstream's G150 Executive Jet Makes Maiden Flight
Gulfstream's G150 Executive Jet Makes Maiden Flight   (Getty Images)
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FBI director Robert Mueller is seen on a large screen as he speaks during the opening of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism International Law Enforcement Conference Monday, June 11, 2007 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FBI director Robert Mueller is seen on a large screen as he speaks during the opening of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism International Law Enforcement Conference Monday, June 11, 2007...   (Associated Press)
FBI Director Robert Mueller delivers an address at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday April 26, 2007. Mueller discussed the balance of national security and civil liberties. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
FBI Director Robert Mueller delivers an address at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Thursday April 26, 2007. Mueller discussed the balance of national...   (Associated Press)
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