DOJ spends millions on ‘nonmission’ luxury travel for Attorney Generals, FBI director

Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News on Wednesday that the mandatory budget cuts set to take effect at the end of the week as a result of sequestration will make Americans less safe.

“This is something that is going to have an impact on the safety of this country,” Holder told ABC News.

“The Justice Department is going to lose nine percent of its budget between now and September 30th. We’re going to lose $1.6 billion. There are not going to be as many FBI agents, ATF agents, DEA agents, prosecutors who are going to be able to do their jobs,” he added. “They’re going to be furloughed. They’re going to spend time out of their offices, not doing their jobs.”

As the report explains, until 2011 the FBI director had the option to travel commercially, while the Attorney General has “historically” had to use government aircraft for all travel.

The GAO audit was conducted from March 2012 to Feb 2013.

Update: In a joint statement issued after publication the FBI and Justice Department stressed that the number one priority for their aircraft is counterterrorism and weapons of mass destruction operations. They noted that the GAO report “confirms that the Department of Justice always adheres to these priorities in scheduling use of its aircraft”

“The report also makes clear that the overwhelming majority of travel by recent Attorneys General and the Director – although termed ‘non mission’ travel by the report – has been for official business travel in furtherance of the Department’s national security and public safety mission,” their statement adds. “The Department’s national security mission necessitates the communications and range capabilities of the Department’s Gulfstream V aircraft, which are essential for certain overseas operations.”

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