Attorney: ‘Insecurities’ Caused Ex-EPA Climate Expert To Be A Phony CIA Operative

An attorney for former Environmental Protection Agency climate expert John Beale said In sentencing memos detailed by NBC News on Monday that his client lied about working with the CIA because of his “insecurities.”

However, federal prosecutors said Beale’s lies were designed to help him bilk about $900,000 in salary and other benefits from the EPA in what they described as a “crime of massive proportion” that was “offensive” to people who work for the CIA.

“With the help of his therapist,” Beale’s attorney, John Kern, wrote in his sentencing memo, “Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.”

NBC also reported on documents it said provided new details about Beale’s crimes, for which he pleaded guilty in September.

Beale was the EPA’s highest paid employee in his role as a “senior policy advisor” in the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation. Court documents showed he did not work for six months in 2008 and told supervisors he was working with the CIA on an election-year project involving “candidate security. In late 2010, Beale justified another absence from work by claiming to be in Pakistan.

In his sentencing memo, Kern admitted Beale did “absolutely no work” for an 18 month period that started in June 2011. In addition to his salary, Beale charged more than $200,000 in flights and hotel expenses to the EPA, including some that Kern said were made for “personal reasons.”

The EPA began investigating Beale in early 2012 after an administrator noticed he was still on the payroll months after holding a retirement party in September 2011. Beale officially retired in April. 

Shutterstock / Ritu Manoj Jethani

Correction: This post has been updated to show that Beale was a climate policy expert, not a scientist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com
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