Scott Pruitt Requests Funds For a 24/7 Fleet of Bodyguards

Susan Walsh/AP

The administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, historically, has had some measure of government-funded personal security detail. Agents routinely picked Gina McCarthy from the airport, for example, or accompanied her on site visits during her time as EPA administrator from July 2013 to Jan 2017. But Scott Pruitt, the new EPA chief, wishes to be guarded 24/7.

While the draft budget for the EPA obtained by the Washington Post this month shows massive cuts to environment, health, and climate change programs—including the elimination of a program to prevent childhood exposure to lead paint—it also includes a request to hire 10 additional security guards to create an around-the-clock personal security detail for Pruitt, the New York Times reports.

The Times calls it a first for an EPA chief, and notes that the 10 additional agents would more than double the agency’s current security staff, which has hovered between six and eight agents in recent years. Similarly, security detail for education secretary Betsy DeVos has reached unprecedented levels: Typically, the secretary of education is guarded by about six agents from within the Department of Education. Since her contentious confirmation, DeVos has been under the protection of the US Marshals Service, costing $8 million over eight months.

What security menace is Pruitt guarding against? According to Myron Ebell, who led Trump’s EPA transition team but is no longer employed by the administration, Pruitt is at risk from his own employees—and “the left.”

“I think it’s prudent given the continuing activities by the left to foment hatred, and the reported hostility within the agency from some unprofessional activists,” Ebell told E&E News.

EPA staff have reportedly been anticipating the security bulk-up for some time. In an email obtained by E&ENews, EPA’s criminal enforcement office chief emailed staff shortly before Pruitt’s mid-February confirmation to warn them of the change: “Based on conversations with the transition team, we anticipate that Mr. Pruitt will initially request a 24/7 detail.”

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.