Scott Pruitt gets more security than any EPA head ever
There are so many threats against the head of the Environmental Protection Agency that his security detail is being expanded from 18 to 30, it was reported Monday.
Officials said the extraordinary measures are necessary because Scott Pruitt is getting far more death threats than anyone who has ever led the agency.
“We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy,” Assistant Inspector General Patrick Sullivan told CNN, referring to Gina McCarthy, EPA chief during the Obama administration.
“The EPA is a lightning rod. We get threats from both sides of the spectrum,” Sullivan added.
“Some people believe the EPA is not doing enough to enforce environmental laws, and they’re upset about that. Other people think the EPA is doing too much, vis-à-vis enforcing environmental laws, and they’re upset about that.”
He said his office has launched 70 investigations into threats made against Pruitt or other officials.
Security was such a minor concern for previous EPA administrators that they didn’t even bother to lock their office doors.
Christine Todd Whitman, George W. Bush’s EPA chief, was accompanied by agents only when traveling on official work.
The security expansion comes as the Trump administration plans to slice the EPA’s budget by 30 percent, which critics say will lead to major cuts in staff and programs.
The agency’s inspector general is also expanding its probe into Pruitt’s use of military or private planes to travel on government business instead of using commercial flights.
Salaries for personnel providing the extra protection will cost more than $2 million a year, not including training, equipment or travel — a level of around-the-clock security no other EPA chief has ever received, CNN reported.
Even before the latest security upgrades, the cost of protecting Pruitt raised red flags among Democrats in Congress.
Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Grace Napolitano of California wrote to the EPA Inspector General’s Office that Pruitt’s security expenditure “during his first quarter as EPA administrator is nearly double what the two previous administrators spent on security over that same time frame.