Opinion| We’ve all known that virtually every trip made by congressional delegations are nothing more than junkets for millionaire politicians. From both sides of the aisle.
Former Secret Service Agent Dan Bongino has been on his share of them, in many cases, as the lead agent charged with guaranteeing their safety. Here’s what he had to say:
Embassy staff hates them.
As far back as March of 2009, Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch had discovered:
“… that Speaker Pelosi treats the Air Force like her personal airline. Not only does Speaker Pelosi issue unreasonable requests for military travel, but her office seems unconcerned about wasting taxpayer money with last minute cancellations and other demands.”
In one case the cost of the flight was estimated at $83,000. She reimbursed the Air Force $800.
In Pelosi’s world of deficit spending this little guy knows that he’ll be paying for these trips long after Pelosi has passed and been forgotten.
Judicial Watch presented but a few of the highlights from the documents discussing Speaker Pelosi’s opulent, and demanding, expectations:
In response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one Defense Department official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi’s team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”
-One DOD official complained about the “hidden costs” associated with the speaker’s last minute changes and cancellations. “We have…folks prepping the jets and crews driving in (not a short drive for some), cooking meals and preflighting the jets etc.”
-The documents include a discussion of House Ethics rules and Defense Department policies as they apply to the speaker’s requests for staff, spouses and extended family to accompany her on military aircraft. In May 2008, for example, Pelosi requested that her husband join her on a Congressional Delegation (CODEL) into Iraq. The DOD explained to Pelosi that the agency has a written policy prohibiting spouses from joining CODEL’s into combat zones.
-Documents obtained from the U.S. Army include correspondence from Speaker Pelosi’s office requesting an Army escort and three military planes to transport Pelosi and other members of Congress to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral services of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Pelosi noted in her letter of August 22, 2008, that such a request, labeled “Operation Tribute” was an “exception to standard policy.”
-The documents also detail correspondence from intermediaries for Speaker Pelosi issuing demands for certain aircraft and expressing outrage when requested military planes were not available. “It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable…The speaker will want to know where the planes are…” wrote Kay King, Director of the House Office of Interparliamentary Affairs. In a separate email, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King writes, “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset [s]peaker.”
Editor’s Note: The G-5 is perhaps the most luxurious private aircraft in service today.
-During another email exchange DOD staff advised Kay King that one Pelosi military aircraft request could not be met because of “crew rest requirements” and offered to help secure commercial travel. Kay King responded: “We appreciate the efforts to help the codel [sic] fly commercially but you know the problem that creates with spouses. If we can find another way to assist with military assets, we would like to do that.”
.@SpeakerPelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 85 trips, covering 206,264 miles, from March 2, 2009 through June 7, 2010. Pelosi, her guests and Air Force personnel logged a total of 428.6 hours on these flights.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 18, 2019
That’s enough miles to circumnavigate the globe more than eight times… in 15 months!
And, reserving flight time every weekend in advance so that the preferred aircraft might be available, and then cancelling, she shoes no concern for the crew members who are constantly having their lives, and those of their families, disrupted.
Maybe we need a Speaker who’ll stay in Washington and get things done and not Speaker Pelosi who jet sets around the world looking for where she can make her next deal sabotaging American interests.