May 14, 2018, 7:34 PM ET

EPA requested 24/7 security for Pruitt on day one, internal watchdog says


Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt requested a 24/7 security detail when he was confirmed as administrator, according to a publicly released letter from an internal watchdog to members of Congress.

According to the internal watchdog's letter, the EPA division that oversees security and criminal investigations made the decision "after being informed that Mr. Pruitt requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as Administrator. The OIG played no role in this decision."

The agency's inspector general, an independent watchdog office that investigates threats against EPA employees, said in letters to two Democratic senators Monday that the EPA began providing Pruitt with a 24/7 detail on his first day as the administrator.

Pruitt and the EPA have previously said that his upgraded security and first-class flights were recommended because of an "unprecedented" number of threats against him compared to threats against previous administrators.

“As the report says, EPA’s Office of Inspector General does not determine security assessments. EPA’s Protective Service Detail handles security decisions and this particular decision was made before Administrator Pruitt arrived at EPA,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox told ABC News in a statement.

Pruitt cited a document from the inspector general's office when asked about the need for increased security in a hearing before a House subcommittee last month. He read from a summary of threats prepared by the inspector general's office, including a Facebook message dated May 21 that said: "I hope your father dies soon."

An investigation into that specific threat was closed, according to reports provided to ABC News through a Freedom of Information Act Request, and investigators suspected the Facebook account was deleted.

"The inspector general has noticed that the threats against me have been unprecedented compared to previous administrators as it relates to the number, as also the type of threats. And that dictated the changes that were made in my travel. I was flying coach last year until those changes were made based upon security assessments," he told a House appropriations subcommittee.

Pruitt said in March that he would direct his staff to book him on more coach flights.

Pruitt was sworn in as EPA administrator on February 17, 2017. The EPA's internal investigative office has completed investigations into 14 threats directed at Pruitt and his family, three of which are dated before he was sworn in.

The reports, provided to ABC News through a Freedom of Information Act request, show that most of the incidents were not seen as an immediate threat or that the Justice Department did not pursue charges. At least two investigations are still pending but the inspector general's office would not confirm any information about ongoing investigations.

The inspector general's office is currently looking into the cost of Pruitt's security detail and travel, as well as other questions about his rental arrangement in a condo connected to lobbyists.

The letter from Inspector General Arthur Elkins answered questions from the ranking member of the Senate committee with oversight of EPA, Sen. Tom Carper from Delaware, and another Democrat on the committee Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island.

“A threat to a federal employee’s personal security is extremely serious, but so is using security as pretext for special treatment on the public dime,” Carper and Whitehouse said in a statement about the letter. “This letter raises troubling questions about whether Administrator Pruitt told the truth during his testimony before the House. Now more than ever, Mr. Pruitt should come clean about his spending of taxpayer dollars on all manner of extravagances, and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle should demand he do so.”

Pruitt is scheduled to testify for a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday.

News - EPA requested 24/7 security for Pruitt on day one, internal watchdog says

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  • Thomas

    Shocked that he lied.

  • Norm Stansfield

    So what are the Dems upset about? That they're not letting the new head of the EPA get killed by one of their wacko supporters?

  • Two Cents

    Pruitt is fully aware of his crimes against the environment and lives in fear that justice will be served.

  • JuPMod

    Pruit is just like his master, Trump. He wants to be treated like a king, thus he wants all these lavish expenses on the tax payer's dime He does not care for the people what so ever. Trump is a liar that he says he would 'drain the swamp' when he put people like Pruitt in charge.

  • Erwin Schrodinger

    So, Pruitt lied before Congress. Not surprising, but should be interesting now there is direct evidence of it. Where's my popcorn?

  • Bud Simpson

    Pruitt may be as big a liar as Trump...nope I'm wrong, no one's as big a liar as Bone Spur.

  • TexasVulcan

    When a person whose job it is to destroy the agency they are heading - one that is supposed to be keeping our air and water clean - I can see where some extremists would want to target Pruitt.

  • T. andreas

    Pruitt called for transparency, and reproducibility, in the studies run by the government and supporting bodies that guide legislation. The response from the left was like he drowned a baby seal in oil on national television. I cannot conceive how any scientist, government or otherwise, can still call themselves a scientist if they do not allow their raw data and methods to be examined so that the "experiment" can be replicated. That is literally a tenet of basic scientific theory. So yeah, I get why he'd be afraid some lunatic eco-terrorist would try to kill him to "save the planet."

  • F45

    The least he could do is have the oil and chemical companies pay for his security...

  • Prophet With Honor

    Does anyone think any of his guards would take a bullet for him?

  • doubledouble

    It’s the ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency.
    Not the Scotty Protection Agency

  • Pad

    The swamp is overflowing!!!!

  • Dicazi

    Pre-existing threats from Oklahomans angry over fracking earthquakes.

  • NuuJuce

    You mean that joke we have now that is not really the EPA anymore.

  • . sharky

    Pruitt never tells the truth to anyone. Never did in OK and not in DC.

  • ohyes2011

    From day 1? What a little pathetic man. Unfortunately he is costing us a lot of money.

  • GarfieldRocks

    I would like an explanation as to why this guy has reason to believe that there is a boogey man that's out to get him. He's just the EPA secretary. It's not exactly an earth moving position.

  • helico seek

    Lots of government officials get death threats, but the fact that it was clear that he hated the environment even before he was sworn in might have been a contributing factor. Do your job well and ethically and the death threats will decrease.

  • Puddin' Twain

    Trump hires only the best (pathological liars).

  • B-K KnightRider

    WHAT? Pruitt requested the increased security BEFORE he got any threats over policies he had not yet put in place? Nooooo, please say that ain't so! [extreme sarcasm off]

  • Lee Thompson

    This guy is as full of himself as his boss . . .

  • wd65

    A guy who takes bribes to allow companies to destroy the environment probably needs protection.

  • Prophet With Honor

    A long time ago in the far away galaxy known as DC...
    I knew a man who was Undersecretary/Acting Secretary of a major controversial department; he had a single driver/bodyguard and one uniformed guard near his office.
    Of course he wasn't a natural born coward.


    Good job Trumpsters, you made the swamp 1000% worse. Well done!

  • YouMayBanMeButYouCan'tBanIdeas

    Why would there be "unprecedented threats" against someone whose job is to protect the environment and prevent despoiling of America's beauty by greedy polluters?

    Oh, wait...

  • drathvedar

    Just another day in the clown show.

  • Tmaximus

    Seems like, Pruitt, the apex of Good Old Bible Bigot Boys from the deep south, is probably more afraid of his fantasies of what Northerners would do if they were in his proximity. I'd put my bet in Vegas on the fact he wears a chastity belt to protect his homophobic virtue. He didn't have his big girl panties on in an airport waiting area when he was terrified by someone who told him he was ruining our environment as they passed by him. The poor thing, he really is the best example of a the bible belts worst they can be.

  • Robert

    He is worth ever penny of the security cost. Just like Carson needs a $30,000 dining set.

  • AlexaGuyer

    This guy certainly thinks he is special, 24/7 security, soundproof booth to the tune of $43,000, only traveling first class or private. This guy should be investigated to the tenth degree. I am sick of taxpayers having to foot the bill for Trump's minions.

  • Bill S

    Pruitt needs 24 hour a security measure because the tax payers are picking up the tab.

  • Redd Menace

    I want 24/7 security. According to Pruitt I think I deserve it as an American citizen.

    What other reason do I need?

  • Two Cents

    This guy is really afraid of the public ....
    With his crimes against the environment he probably has reason to be.

  • HadEnoughYet

    How does this guy still have a job?

    Where is the GOP House/Senate providing oversight to the Trump mess?

  • Retired and Happy

    He's been lying about this all along. Figures.

  • odyssy06

    I just figure that Trump is so great for our country that I want to make sure that the people who work for him are safe and comfortable. They're doing God's work.

  • Not So Fast

    The secure phone booth (aka: the cone of silence) has until this news story been reported as costing taxpayers $43,000. Why report it now as costing $25,000??? Is someone attempting to mitigate the damage to taxpayers as reporting the booth costs less than it actually does? Sounds fishy.

  • Prophet With Honor

    I would like to see a comprehensive list of the security arrangements for all top administration officials. Comparisons would help.

  • JimBo

    With all of the environmental terrorists these days, I can at least see the reasoning.

  • MWP

    The threats began even before he was sworn in - so does make sense...