The request for Scott Pruitt’s extraordinary level of security didn’t come from the inspector general, and wasn’t the result of a stack of accumulated threats—Pruitt himself ordered his 24/7 security. And, according to the Washington Post, he did it on his very first day at the EPA.
Scott Pruitt has one all-purpose excuse for his first-class flights, his 20-man security team, his taking over an entire floor of the EPA building, and his hiding of many facets of his schedule and activities: Threats. He’s claimed that he was subject to threats that were so bad, so “unprecedented” that it justified surrounding the EPA administrator with $3 million in personal security, taking military jets across the country, first-class flights around the world, and in every way making sure he never has to associate with the people who are paying his bills.
Every last word of it has turned out to be a lie.
- The letter Pruitt showed to Congress, supposedly proving that the inspector general ordered up his special security precautions, was nothing of the sort.
- The “threats” that Pruitt actually accumulated over the last year were not even a handful—and were so ridiculous, they wouldn’t have frightened a nervous child.
- To keep hiding the fact that there are no genuine threats, Pruitt has forced out employees who dared to challenge his “unprecedented threat” narrative.
And now it’s absolutely clear: No one demanded Pruitt’s kid-glove treatment except Pruitt, and he made that demand from the moment he came in the door. In response to a letter sent by Democratic Senators Sheldon WhiteHouse and Thomas Carper, the inspector general gave the actual timing of Pruitt’s security and the actual origin of the request:
“… Mr. Pruitt requested 24/7 protection once he was confirmed as Administrator.”
No one else decided that Scott Pruitt got to live in a first-class safety zone. Pruitt demanded it for himself. And while Pruitt has blamed the inspector general, the actual inspector general made it clear he was not involved.
The inspector general’s office, which investigates threats made against any EPA employees, “played no role in this decision,” Elkins added.
EPA employees were immediately concerned about the costs, personnel and disruption associated with following Pruitt around day and night in all situations, and the strain his requests would put on ordinary day-to-day activity in the agency. The special agent in charge of security for the EPA warned that it could mean doubling the agency’s security detail from 8 to 16. But it actually meant going to at least 20 for Pruitt alone.
Pruitt’s personal security detail isn’t twice that of previous EPA administrators—it’s over three times as large. And those previous EPA administrators also didn’t use “security” as an excuse for why they should requisition a military jet just to shuttle them around the US, or try to pretend that the plastic curtain between first-class and the peasants in the back of the plane was an important security distinction.
Every aspect of Scott Pruitt’s testimony before Congress has turned out to be riddled with lies. But his claims that he was forced to live the high life because of ominous threats have turned out to be nothing but lies. Lies that literally started the day Pruitt walked in.
But the information sent back to Senators Whitehouse and Carper does contain a genuine thread of why Pruitt behaves like … Pruitt. The incoming administrator’s security was authorized, not out of any genuine threat, but “as a precautionary measure given the controversy sure to ensue from some of the president’s early policy decisions.”
What Pruitt and Donald Trump were doing was so bad they expected death threats. That they didn’t get them didn’t stop Scott Pruitt from pretending that they did.