“The FBI Director travels by government aircraft due to the FBI’s national security mission, which necessitates specific communications capabilities and security considerations. Director Wray has adhered to the federal regulations governing the use of the aircraft to include reimbursement for personal use,” a spokesperson for the FBI told The Epoch Times in an email.
“The Bureau’s national security and law enforcement operations, including transporting investigators and critical evidence, has been and remains the first priority for all FBI aircraft,” it 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 reportedly flew on the jet to the vacation home on at least two other occassions.
Lawmakers Demand Answers
“Although certain federal officials are permitted to use government aircraft for personal or political use, these expenses must be reimbursed,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the top House Oversight Committee Republican, and colleagues told Wray in an Aug. 15 letter (pdf), citing guidance from the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Comer and other Republicans asked Wray for information on all government flights he’s taken since becoming FBI director, including trips for personal travel; details on any reimbursements he’s made for the personal trips, if any; and all passengers he’s traveled with when he’s flown using government aircraft.
“The FBI can no longer get away with making its own rules. Any abuse of taxpayer funds by FBI Director Wray for personal travel must be uncovered,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the House Republican conference chair, said in a statement.
Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, also signed the missive.
They noted that Wray left a Senate panel hearing earlier in the month despite being asked multiple times by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to remain longer to answer more questions.
“We just heard a half hour ago about you having to leave at 1:30,” Grassley said during the hearing, explaining that each Republican wanted three minutes for a second round of questions.
“Is there any reason we couldn’t accommodate them for 21 minutes?” he wondered.
“Senator, I had a flight that I’m supposed to be high-tailing it to out of here, and I had understood that we were going to be done at 1:30, so that’s how we ended up where we are,” Wray said.
“I assume you’ve got other business,” Grassley said when Wray approached just before he left.
“Yes,” Wray said.
Asked previously about the Post’s initial report, an FBI spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email: “Hearing logistics are worked out with congressional committees in advance. Director Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week was consistent with the prearranged format and timing, and was also consistent with the length of the Committee’s 2021 oversight hearing.”