FBI Director Christopher Wray's use of the bureau's $60 million Gulfstream G550 has come under scrutiny after claims that Wray typically summons the plane to nearby Reagan National Airport instead of being driven 30 miles to the regional airport where it’s kept.
The whistleblower, a suspended FBI agent who spoke to The Daily Wire, said that the local trips are made to save Wray and possibly other bureau bigwigs from the 45-minute drive to and from Manassas on either end of their flights.
“The FBI jet is being used, I believe, in a grossly mismanaged way,” FBI agent Kyle Seraphin, who was suspended from the bureau last year, told The Daily Wire. “Chris Wray has a jet fly from Manassas, Virginia, to Reagan National Airport, because he doesn’t want to sit in traffic.”
Records obtained by the outlet show that the jet has made the roughly 15-minute flight between its base at Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia and Washington D.C. area airports 140 times since 2020. 124 of these trips were to or from Reagan National, the closest major airport to the bureau’s Pennsylvania Avenue headquarters.
Nine were either to or from Dulles International Airport, some 26 miles from downtown Washington, and five flights involved Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Two other flights landed in specific locations in the nation’s capital.
The private sector cost to fly the jet ranges between $7,000 to $11,000 per hour, including fuel, landing fees, and other costs. Gulfstream G550 jet fuel tanks hold about 6,000 gallons and the aircraft burns roughly 500 gallons per hour, most of which is burned at takeoff and landing. A 15-minute flight of that duration by a Gulfstream 550 burns 223 gallons of fuel, the source estimated, noting flights of a half-hour or less can burn up to 70% more fuel on a per-hour basis than longer ones.
However, there are substantial other costs. General aviation services at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are handled by Signature Flight Support company, which told The Daily Wire that average landing fees vary per aircraft. However, representatives said those registered in a waiver program designed for government officials average around $2,500 per landing.
In response to the allegations, the FBI released a statement saying, "The FBI is not going to comment on specific plane locations because of operational and security sensitivities. The FBI Director’s use of FBI aircraft is long-established and continues due to the mission needs of the FBI and the FBI Director’s security requirements."
The statement went on to say that Wray's use of government aircraft is in compliance with federal regulations and that the bureau's priority is national security and law enforcement operations, including transporting investigators and critical evidence.
Seraphin, who spent six years in the bureau working in counterterrorism and counterintelligence, was officially suspended indefinitely and without pay in June 2022 after he complained of questionable activity within the bureau and refused to comply with its COVID vaccine mandate. Because he refuses to resign, Seraphin remains sidelined and unable to seek alternative employment without the bureau’s permission.
In light of the allegations, House Republican lawmakers have approved the creation of a new select subcommittee under the Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to investigate the weaponization of the federal government, including the FBI. Jordan has stated that over two dozen whistleblowers from the bureau have come forward since lawmakers approved the GOP resolution and Seraphin is expected to be among the first to testify about the agency he once served.