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The Government’s Laziest Employee Would Do Literally Anything to Avoid Work

Topics: Current Events

Think your co-workers are lazy? We bet they never told you they were on a CIA mission in Pakistan in order to explain why they weren’t at the office. John C. Beale, once the EPA’s highest paid employee, did just that. Tomorrow, he’ll be sentenced in federal court for defrauding the government of $1 million in salary and benefits.


(Photo Credit: jareed/Flickr)

Beale was an expert on climate change, pulling down over $200,000 a year — more than his boss, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, the recipient of emails bearing some of his more creative excuses for not being at work.

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NBC News reports that he once told McCarthy that he was urgently needed in Pakistan, because the Taliban was torturing his replacement at the CIA.

“Due to recent events that you have probably read about, I am in Pakistan,” he wrote. “Got the call Thurs and left Fri. Hope to be back for Christmas ….Ho, ho, ho.”

Needless to say, Beale did not work for the CIA. In fact, EPA Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan, who led the investigation into Beale’s absences, said that Beale had never even been to Langley, the CIA headquarters in Virginia.

“I thought, ‘Oh my God, How could this possibly have happened in this agency?'” said Sullivan. “I’ve worked for the government for 35 years. I’ve never seen a situation like this.”

Beale reportedly spent his free time reading books, riding his bike, and puttering around his homes in Northern Virginia and Cape Cod. (Slate proposes a name for his memoir, or perhaps the next James Bond film: The Spy Who Loved Clam Chowder.)

If convicted, he could serve as much as 30 months in prison.

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What’s the laziest behavior you’ve ever encountered in a co-worker? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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