Homeland Security employees abused overtime, cost government $8.7 million

WASHINGTON (AP) - A report from an independent government investigator says employees from six Homeland Security Department offices have abused an overtime program and cost the government about $8.7 million a year.

The head of the Office of Special Counsel, Carolyn Lerner, told President Barack Obama and lawmakers in a letter sent Thursday that whistle-blowers alerted Lerner's office to the abuses.

According to one whistle-blower, some Customs and Border Protection employees assigned to the commissioner's situation room at its headquarters in Washington were paid about two hours of overtime nearly every day but spent much of that time watching television, surfing the Internet or otherwise relaxing at their desks.