Two Democratic senators are calling for a congressional inquiry into whether the round-the-clock security detail for Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt is justified, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The senators, Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Thomas Carper, D-Del., cited several internal EPA documents that note threats such as messages threatening to leave old paint scrapings at Pruitt's office and a message telling Pruitt "we are watching you" regarding the EPA's climate change policies, the report said.
Agency officials in a Feb. 14 "Preliminary Intelligence Enterprise Threat Assessment Review" memo used all caps and bold print in the conclusion that justification for Pruitt's detail "does not employ sound analysis or articulate relevant 'threat specific' information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator," The Post reported.
The memo also states "using all source intelligence resources, EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific credible direct threat to the EPA administrator," The Post reported.
The EPA pushed back against the criticisms.
"Scott Pruitt has faced an unprecedented amount of death threats against him," spokesman Jahan Wilcox said in a statement.
Sen. John Barasso, R-Wyo., said Tuesday he would not hold a hearing on the issue.
"I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a Cabinet member and his family," Barrasso said in a statement, The Post reported.
The new documents detail a disagreement among the EPA's intelligence officials, the EPA inspector general, and senior political appointees about the degree of threat that Pruitt faces, The Post reported.
The acting director and general counsel of the Office of Government Ethics sent a letter to the EPA with his concerns about Pruitt.
"The American public needs to have confidence that ethics violations, as well as the appearance of ethics violations, are investigated and appropriately addressed," wrote acting director David J. Apol, The New York Times reported.
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