FEBRUARY 1996

 

FEBRUARY 1996 FULL ISSUE

SMOKEY AND THE TIMBER BANDITS
WHAT THE FOREST SERVICE ISN’T DOING TO THWART THIEVES

By STEVEN T. TAYLOR

In 1992, Jeffrey Scott was an undercover sleuth for the U.S. Forest Service, investigating a rough­-and-tumble logger who was stealing old-growth trees from federal land along the Oregon-California border. Today, he sits idly in his Tennessee home, twiddling his thumbs and collecting a high­priced salary from the federal government to do nothing.

"I make $79,000 a year to sit here on my ass," Scott says. "It's a terrible waste of taxpayer money."  

Scott was forced into reluctant repose after he blew the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse within the Forest  Service, charging his supervisors with impeding theft investigations. He says USFS officials subsequently  threatened, harassed, discredited and humiliated him, in what appears to be on attempt to rid themselves of a man they considered a trouble maker.

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Paul Koberstein