EPA policy John Beale pretended to be CIA agent for more than a decade

John Charles Beale (born 1948) is a EPA former climate policy expert of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Beale was convicted of felony theft of government property after it came to light in 2013 that he had defrauded the government out of $886,186 starting in 2000, primarily by pretending to be an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).


Given Beale’s degree of travel in his work for the EPA, there were rumors that he was a “secret agent”. Beginning in 2000, Beale began skipping work on occasional Wednesdays with “D.O. Oversight” noted on his calendar on nine days throughout 2000, and continuing many times until his retirement in 2011. In his 2013 deposition, Beale recalled the first time speaking with someone about these skipped days. Beale said that he told Jeffrey Holmstead, then assistant administrator at the Office of Air and Radiation, that Beale was working for the CIA, and that these days were spent working for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations (now the National Clandestine Service). Beale would later admit that during these days he was at home reading or exercising. In 2002, Beale was given a subsidized parking space because he had led his coworkers to believe that he had contracted malaria during the Vietnam War. Beale held the space until June 2005, costing a total of $8,000. He in fact never had malaria, and did not serve in Vietnam. Beale was familiar with the symptoms of the disease from his time as medic in the army, treating soldiers in the United States. From 2005 to 2007, Beale claimed to be working on an EPA research project and drew $57,235 in travel expenses to Los Angeles, where he was in fact visiting family in nearby Bakersfield. The travel expenses covered first-class flights and stays in high-end hotels. For a period of six months in 2008, Beale did not report to work for the EPA under the guise of his CIA work, but continued to draw his salary from the EPA. Beale retired from the EPA in 2011, throwing a boat party on the Potomac River in September that was attended by his boss, Gina McCarthy, now the administrator of the EPA. Despite the retirement, Beale continued to draw his salary, and the temporary bonus that was supposed to cease in 2003 continued to be paid through 2013. By the time of his retirement, Beale was the highest paid employee in the EPA, making more than administrator McCarthy.