December 22, 2008:
After September 11, 2001, the United States began sending hundreds of
FBI (and other federal law agency) personnel overseas, often to combat zones.
These were tough, and dangerous assignments. Usually there were only for three
months at a time, but the FBI didn't have combat pay, like the Department of
Defense did. Agent morale needed a little perking up, and some nameless
bureaucrats came up with a quasi-legal way to solve the problem.
Agents were encouraged to claim lots of overtime
(which the FBI could legally pay for.) By claiming 16 hour days (seven days a
week) for all the time spent overseas, agents would triple their pay. This was
great for morale, and the supervisors went along with it. But eventually the
media found out, and an investigation is under way. No prosecutions are
expected, and the money (over $10 million for at least 1,500 FBI, and other
federal agency personnel) will probably not have to be repaid.
It's not like the agents didn't earn it, even if
Congress didn't authorize it. But the
sudden cut in pay for federal agents working in combat zones, will not be good
for morale. Efforts to obtain more "danger pay" are not getting