Morale: Special Agents Lose Their Combat Pay


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 anywhere.



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