GOP: Fake CIA Agent Beale Helped Draft EPA Regulations

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 01:17 PM

By Lisa Barron

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John Beale, the former Environmental Protection Agency official convicted of stealing nearly $900,000 by pretending to work for the CIA, was deeply involved in drafting sweeping environmental standards, according to a report by Senate Republicans.

The 67-page report from Republicans on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released Wednesday, also said investigators want the agency to review the work Beale did during his 24-year tenure there, Fox News reported.

Beale, who was a high-level staffer in the Office of Air and Regulation, was sentenced to two years in prison in December for defrauding the EPA by accepting his salary and bonuses while allegedly on assignment for the CIA.

Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the committee, said in a statement that the study "connects the dots between John Beale and the numerous air regulations that he's responsible for, regulations with a lasting impact," according to Fox News.

"The product of his labors have remained intact and have been shielded from any meaningful scrutiny, much the same way Beale was protected by an inner circle of career staff who unwittingly aided in his fraud," the report says.

"Accordingly, it appears that the agency is content to let the American people pay the price for Beale and EPA's scientific insularity."

Beale was reportedly recruited to the EPA in 1987 by his friend Robert Brenner, former EPA deputy assistant administrator. He spent two years working as a part-time consultant before being hired as a career employee.

Beale had no previous experience with environmental work, however, according to the report. Investigators found that he graduated from law school but failed the Washington state bar exam. After later passing the bar, he practiced in a small town in Minnesota.

Yet Beale worked on what are known as National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter to regulate pollutants in the air.

"Under Beale's leadership EPA took the unprecedented action of proposing standards for the two pollutants in tandem and aggressively tightened the standards to controversial levels," the report said.

It also argued that the 1997 regulations "set in motion" the way the EPA issues rules under the Clean Air Act, including "inflating benefits while underestimating costs."

In response to the report, EPA officials acknowledged that agency officials were duped by Beale for years but defended the regulations he helped establish, The Washington Times reported.

Beale "was just one of a large number of people from a number of disciplines across the agency who provided input on those rules," EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said in an email to the Times.

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