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According to the inspector general, some agents and supervisors defended putting in for 16-hour days. They said they were always “on call” and 16 hours a day was a reasonable average of the amount of time they worked. Generous overtime pay was necessary to encourage people to volunteer for war zone assignments, they said.

As one agent is quoted in the report: “When you’re in that environment, anything you do to survive is work for the FBI.”

The report concluded that using that rationale, agents billed for time spent at cocktail parties hosted each Saturday evening by the FBI, watching DVDs at the Baghdad Operations Center and washing laundry.

The FBI has made changes that include requiring supervisors in Iraq to approve the working hours reported by agents. Previously, a supervisor in the U.S. gave approval.

“We recognize that the FBI’s failure to comply with applicable laws and its own policies in the early stages of the Iraq war was understandable to some extent due to the crisis atmosphere in a war zone,” the inspector general’s report said. “However, the FBI has had five years since the Iraq war began to establish lawful overtime procedures, and it failed to do so prior to the initiation of this investigation.”