EPA secretary Scott Pruitt 'fires his security chief after he refused to use sirens for non-emergencies'

Special agent Eric Weese reportedly also tried to stop Mr Pruitt flying first class on short trips

Lydia Smith
Friday 06 April 2018 09:32 BST
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt (Getty Images )

A security officer who tried to stop the US environment agency chief Scott Pruitt from using his vehicle's sirens frivolously to get through traffic is among a number of employees who were removed from their jobs and reassigned, according to US media reports.

Reports in CBS News, the New York Times and others paint a picture of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where those who question Mr Pruitt find themselves sidelined.

Mr Pruitt, a key Trump appointee who has previously suggested climate change might actually be good for humans, is reportedly often late for meetings where he has to travel across Washington DC.

Yet when special agent Eric Weese told Mr Pruitt that his security detail's lights and sirens were only for emergencies, he was replaced as the man in charge of security detail by Pasquale Perotta, according to CBS.

Mr Weese had also unsuccessfully tried to convince his boss not to fly first class for short trips, according to The New York Times. The EPA administrator had justified it by saying flying in economy posed a security risk.

Speaking to the New Hampshire Union Leader in February, Mr Pruitt explained he flies in first class to avoid a lack of “civility”.

“Unfortunately, ... we’ve had some incidents on travel dating back to when I first started serving in the March-April timeframe,” he said.

“We’ve reached the point where there’s not much civility in the marketplace and it’s created, you know, it’s created some issues and the (security) detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat.”

In February, the Washington Post reported that Mr Pruitt once spent $1,641.63 (£1,173.29) on a first-class ticket for a flight from Washington DC to New York City for a television interview.

The two aides who accompanied him on the trip travelled in economy class.

Mr Pruitt also reportedly flew in first class and business class for international trips.

The Times quoted sources within the EPA as saying another four officials were reassigned or demoted for questioning Mr Pruitt's spending or management. It said career officials Reginald E Allen, John E Reeder and John C Martin, as well as political appointee Kevin Chmielewski, were all sidelined for "confronting" Mr Pruitt. None of them commented when approached by the Times, and the White House declined to issue a statement.

In response to the specific report of Mr Pruitt requesting the use of sirens in non-emergencies, EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson told CBS News: “We have no knowledge of anyone being removed from the detail for not using lights and sirens.”

When asked why Mr Weese was removed from his post, an EPA spokesperson added: “We do not comment on personnel matters within EPA's protective service detail.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in