EPA spending almost $25,000 for soundproof booth

EPA spending almost $25,000 for soundproof booth

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spending nearly $25,000 to build a soundproof phone booth for Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the agency entered into a $24,570 contract last month for a “privacy booth for the administrator” with Acoustical Solutions, a company that specializes in sound-dampening technology for hearing tests.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told the Post that the booth will be “a secured communication area in the administrator’s office so secured calls can be received and made.”

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“Federal agencies need to have one of these so that secured communications, not subject to hacking from the outside, can be held,” she continued. “It’s called a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). This is something which a number, if not all, Cabinet offices have and EPA needs to have updated.”

The EPA already has a SCIF in a separate area of the building, the Post reported, and it’s unclear if Pruitt believes that it is out of date or somehow insufficient.

The contract comes as Pruitt has weathered criticism for being secretive, eschewing emails and written communications, prohibiting employees from bringing phones to meetings and the like.

In addition, Pruitt has a 24/7 security detail, involving 18 law enforcement officers, in contrast with his predecessors, who only had security details when working and in transit.