The EPA investigator who pretended he was a double-agent for the CIA
The problems with faking being an off-the-book spy only begin with trying to get proper with H.R. and payroll. Once people figure out you've just been fucking off from doing real work, the handcuffs come out.
He’d shake his head and cluck, “Well, if I told you anything, I’d have to kill you.”
In 2000, after 12 years with the agency, Beale started skipping work on Wednesdays for his “D.O. Oversight” missions. By this time, he’d been promoted to senior policy adviser, a position below the Senior Executive Service level but higher than a GS-15. For a while, and despite continuing to draw his EPA pay on those days, no one asked about his absences. He took nine of the days in 2000 and 15 in 2001.
The first time anyone broached the subject was that year, when Jeff Holmstead, then assistant administrator of the Air and Radiation Office, spoke with Beale about his “D.O.” Wednesdays. Beale revealed that the joke was no joke: He’d worked for the three-letter agency earlier in his career, and it was now calling him back for a secret assignment. He would have to take a half day off here and there to help out. Maybe a few whole days, too. Holmstead, who’d known Beale during his time working on the Clean Air Act amendments, agreed to the arrangement.
In 2002 “D.O. Oversight” would appear in Beale’s calendar 22 times. The next year 14 times, and the year after that 18. In 2005 his covert operation took him away for 25 days. At times he’d make coy references to big international news—a bombing in Pakistan, violence in India—and insinuate that the CIA had him working on it. To colleagues who saw Beale as an outstanding employee, it made sense that agencies more selective than the EPA would put his talents to use.
Beale also let drop to coworkers that he’d fought in Vietnam, which dovetailed with his secret-agent identity. In 2002 he divulged to his boss that he’d caught malaria in the jungle battlefields three decades earlier. The condition apparently made his trek from an EPA parking lot difficult. The agency gave him a parking space closer to his office, subsidizing the spot at a cost of $200 a month.
. . .
When the two finally met in January 2013, McCarthy told Beale outright that the EPA needed the CIA’s verification of his employment. A document, a phone call, anything. He said he’d get something soon.
But the next month, he returned empty-handed. “Gina, the agency’s not going to acknowledge what I’ve been doing,” he said.
“Well,” she told him, “that puts you in a really bad position, doesn’t it?”