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Robert Kiley

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Robert Kiley, former National Student Association leader, worked for the CIA even before graduating, then became deputy to Richard Helms, DDPlans and reportedly handled student operations. After leaving the CIA he became a transportation administrator in Boston, NY and London, where he apprently is still paid to just get drunk. He's probably in a Hollywood rehab with starlets.

Ken, his crony, and a row over a drunken interview

By Andy McSmith

Published: 15 June 2007

In a clinic in the United States, an ex-CIA agent is receiving treatment for

alcohol addiction, an illness that may have its origins in a dreadful tragedy

that befell his family years ago.

Bob Kiley might sound like a suitable case for public sympathy but sympathy

has been noticeably lacking in the questions about him directed at London's City

Hall this week. Because Mr Kiley, 72, is not just an alcoholic, he is also one

of Britain's highest-paid public servants.

While he was Transport Commissioner, he earned £3.9m and was allowed a house,

rent-free, in Belgravia - a perk reckoned to be worth £13,000. He has use of it

until 2009.

When he ceased to be a full-time commissioner, he was paid £2m in a severance

deal and retained as a 90-day-a-year consultant for Transport for London (TfL)

with a daily fee of £3,200, giving advice on issues such as Crossrail and the


This week, the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, who hired Mr Kiley six years

ago, felt compelled to say that the generous flow of Londoners' money into Mr

Kiley's current account would have to stop. The Mayor has tactfully suggested

that Mr Kiley will have the good sense not to submit an invoice until he is well


The Mayor made this announcement with obvious reluctance, accompanying it

with a glowing tribute to all that Mr Kiley has done.

But some people have wondered whether there is anyone who is paid so much out

of the public purse to do so little. In an interview in March with the London

Evening Standard Mr Kiley admitted that his intake of vodka went up as his

workload went down. "If you ask me what I actually do to earn my consultancy,

I'd have to tell you, in all honesty, not much," he said.

Mr Kiley has since stressed that he did not mean this remark to be taken

seriously. Mr Livingstone claims that he was drunk when he said it. "I deplore

that someone having a problem with alcohol is used by the media as he was," he


Mr Kiley has hinted that his drinking relates to the shock he endured many

years ago when his wife of 15 years and their two sons, aged three and five,

were killed in a multiple collision near New York. He pulled through by

immersing himself in work, running the Boston subway system and overhauling the

New York subway, spending $9bn (£5bn) on improvements.

Educated in Indiana and at Harvard Graduate School, he led a CIA-funded

student group before he joined the organisation in 1963. He rose to be executive

assistant to the director, Richard Helms, who received a suspended prison

sentence for lying to Congress about the CIA's operations abroad. Mr Kiley went

into transport management in 1970.

Mr Kiley oversaw the introduction of the London congestion charge, which is

being studied by other big cities around the world.

There are 10 million Oyster cardholders. More Londoners than ever are cycling

and there are 40 per cent more bus passengers. He also succeeded in securing the

right to borrow huge sums to invest in transport. The quality of London's

transport infrastructure was one of the factors that secured the success of the

2012 Olympics bid.

But success has come at vast cost, according to Mr Kiley's critics. Annual

bus subsidies have risen from an average of £32m to an average of £428m. And it

emerged this week that in the last financial year TfL spent £222m on consultancy

fees. On top of that, there is the money spent on Mr Kiley. His next fee, of

£146,250, is due on 1 July. It is not likely to be paid.



Reminiscences of Robert Kiley:


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Interesting article Bill.

Any idea how he got into the transportation field? Were they impressed by his beach landings? Did he moonlight as a busdriver for Scroll and Key?

Interesting how CIA connections can smooth over mid-life career changes.


I can't answer any of your questions. At least he's a living witness who could be called to testify and answer such things.


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