FBI director followed federal guidelines on using government planes for personal travel: Office

FBI Director Christopher Wray followed federal guidelines on the use of government aircraft for personal travel, according to the office.

“The FBI Director travels on government aircraft due to the FBI’s national security mission, which requires specific communications capabilities and security considerations. Director Wray has adhered to federal regulations governing the use of the aircraft to include reimbursement for personal use,” an FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.

“The Bureau’s national security and law enforcement operations, including transportation of investigators and critical evidence, have been and remain the top priority for all FBI aircraft,” he added.

Wray recently flew on the FBI’s Gulfstream 550 jet from Washington to his vacation home in upstate New York, the New York Post reported.

Wray is said to have flown on the jet home on at least two other occasions.

Lawmakers demand answers

“While certain federal officials are permitted to use government aircraft for personal or political purposes, these expenses must be reimbursed,” said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the Republican on the House Oversight Committee, and his colleagues at Wray in an August. 15 letter (pdf), citing advice from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Comer and other Republicans asked Wray for information on all the government flights he’s taken since becoming FBI director, including trips for personal travel; details of any reimbursements he has made for personal travel, if any; and any passengers he traveled with when he flew on government aircraft.

“The FBI can no longer simply set its own rules. Any misuse of taxpayer funds by FBI Director Wray for personal travel must be uncovered,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (RN.Y.), House Republican conference chair, said in a statement.

Representative Michael Turner (R-Ohio), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, also signed the missive.

They noted that Wray walked out of a Senate panel hearing earlier in the month despite Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) repeatedly asking him to stay longer to answer more questions.

“We just found out half an hour ago that you had to leave at 1:30 p.m.,” Grassley said during the hearing, explaining that each Republican wanted three minutes for a second round of questioning.

“Is there a reason we couldn’t accommodate them for 21 minutes?” he wondered.

“Senator, I had a flight I was supposed to be leaving from here, and I figured we were going to be done at 1:30 a.m., so that’s how we got to where we are,” Wray said.

“I assume you have other business,” Grassley said when Wray approached just before he left.

“Yeah,” Wray said.

Asked about the Post’s initial report previously, an FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email, “Hearing logistics are worked out in advance with congressional committees. Director Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week was consistent with the pre-established format and schedule, as well as the length of the committee’s oversight hearing in 2021.”

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Zachary Stieber covers US and world news. He is based in Maryland.

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