EPA head cites ‘unprecedented’ threats to justify security
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt said there have been “unprecedented” threats against him and his family, requiring an increase in his security detail.
Pruitt told Bloomberg News in an interview published Thursday that the new security arrangement — including 24-hour guards, at a cost likely to be near $2 million a year — matches the risk that he faces.
“The level of protection is dictated by the level of threat,” Pruitt told the news outlet.
“The quantity and the volume — as well as the type — of threats are different,” Pruitt said. “What’s really disappointing to me as it’s not just me — it’s family.”
Pruitt told Bloomberg that the arrangements are dictated by security professionals. Previous EPA administrators only had security details while in transit and working.
Pruitt already had an 18-member security team, including officers who were pulled away from environmental enforcement duties, and the agency is in the process of hiring 12 new guards.
The costs have gotten the attention of congressional Democrats. Alongside other spending, like a nearly $25,000 soundproof booth in Pruitt’s office, lawmakers are scrutinizing whether the costs are reasonable.
A government official told Bloomberg that Pruitt has gotten death threats on Twitter, in letters and in packages delivered to his home.
The official added that the EPA administrator’s security was already insufficient before Pruitt’s arrival, and that only one member of the security team on any shift can be away from work at a time.
“I seek to engage in these decisions with civility and thoughtful discussion and meaningful discussion, and it is unfortunate, I think, at times perhaps it devolves into something that is much different,” Pruitt said in the interview. “Serious things take place that dictate a response.”