Stop. Threatening. People.
People. Grow up. Due to the enormous amount of death threats thrown at EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the government has amped up his security. Congress has asked if this is a waste of money, but it seems a legit concern. From CNN:
The EPA’s inspector general’s office, which investigates threats, says Pruitt has received more death threats than any of his predecessors. The office has launched more than 70 investigations into threats against Pruitt and others, the agency said.
“We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy,” said assistant inspector general Patrick Sullivan, referring to Gina McCarthy, who held the post under President Barack Obama.
“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.”
Asked for comment on this story, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said, “We decline to comment on security measures taken months ago to protect the administrator.”
The government even provided new security in Pruitt’s office, which will restrict “access to even the hallway near his office.” The security checks “government IDs against a list of employees who are approved for access, according to individuals who work at and have visited the building.” Plus one of his aides opens his office at 7AM to let in the cleaning crew.
Other enhancements included “two access control card readers” at his office plus another card reader at the security office along with “an alarm in the office to alert agents.” Pruitt installed a soundproof box in his office to protect communications from hacking and eavesdropping.
The new security detail will cost around $2 million a year and CNN said that does “not include costs such as training, equipment, and travel.” The card readers and alarm cost $15,780 while the soundproof box cost $25,000.
Last month, former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman implied that Pruitt is to blame for the these threats:
Whitman criticized Pruitt’s request for an expensive security detail while he also proposes deep cuts to the agency’s budget.
“If he has had enough serious death threats, then he shouldn’t have proposed the deep cuts to the EPA budget,” she said in an interview. “What worries me is if these people are being used for protecting him, they are not cracking down on environmental crimes being committed by companies.”
Okay, lady. Pruitt’s life should totes be in danger because of his decisions. Democratic lawmakers in Congress have also wondered if this is going to the extreme despite the fact that Pruitt receives way more threats than those who came before him. Of course, they took a swipe at President Donald Trump:
Reps. Peter DeFazio and Grace Napolitano asked the EPA inspector general to investigate their concerns that “taxpayer funds are being misused.” Their letter states Pruitt’s security costs “during his first quarter as EPA administrator is nearly double what the two previous administrators spent on security over that same timeframe.” That was before the new agents were hired.
Pruitt’s spending on travel, security and the soundproof room is “symptomatic of a troubling culture that appears to have swept through this administration,” the Democrats wrote.
“This culture, which is reflected in travel and lifestyle choices from the President on down, seems to embolden senior, politically appointed officials of the Trump administration to undertake lavish spending of taxpayer dollars for their sole and personal benefit, and not for the benefit of Americans paying the tab,” they added.
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