Millions being spent on U.S. Marshals Service security detail for DeVos: report

Millions being spent on U.S. Marshals Service security detail for DeVos: report
© Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosFailed charter schools cost federal government almost 5M in nine years: report Pelosi gets standing ovation at Kennedy Center Honors On The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas MORE is being protected by an around-the-clock security detail from the U.S. Marshals Service at a cost of millions each year, according to a new report from NBC News.

Devos is the only member of the Cabinet getting the protection, the report states.

Although it is unclear who made the request, which could potentially cost taxpayers roughly $19.8 million through next September, NBC News reported on Friday that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSenate Democrats demand Trump fire Stephen Miller The shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes MORE granted the protection to DeVos on Feb. 13, 2017 — just days before the education secretary was heckled by a group of protesters outside a public middle school in Washington.

"The order was issued after the Department of Education contacted administration officials regarding threats received by the Secretary of Education," the Justice Department told the news agency in a statement. "The U.S.M.S. was identified to assist in this area based on its expertise and long experience providing executive protection."

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According to the report’s findings, the estimated cost to cover the security detail provided to DeVos was $5.3 million in fiscal year 2017 and $6.8 million in fiscal year 2018. The estimated cost of security for the secretary in 2019 is $7.74 million.

Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, told NBC News that DeVos did not personally request the security detail.

"We’re obviously not at liberty to discuss the nature of the threats," Hill told the publication. "But it should be obvious that they are significant. Otherwise, the trained professionals who made the call to escalate her detail wouldn’t have done so." 

The total costs for the security detail are also reportedly reimbursed by the Education Department. 

Anthony Chapa, a former assistant director of the Secret Service, told the publication that government officials can be provided with enhanced security protection if they face a specific threat or for a particular trip.

"I personally don’t know what the threats (against DeVos) may be," Chapa said, "but somebody probably made that determination and felt, because of that particular level of threat, she has increased vulnerability."

But "if someone made a decision outside of that scope, then that evaluation is worthy of review,” he added.