Ever since becoming administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt has been uncommonly paranoid.
In August, the New York Times reported that Pruitt is carrying out his EPA agenda in secret. The report revealed that Pruitt has installed a $25,000 soundproof communications booth in the agency's offices, and he has broken with EPA transparency practices to keep his personal schedule a secret. Not to mention the fact that he has surrounded himself with a 24/7 security escort.
Now, CNN reports that Pruitt has hired 12 more guards, bumping up his personal security detail to a total of 30 bodyguards.
According to figures compiled by CNN from public documents, their salaries alone will cost the department $2 million a year, and these estimates do not even touch the inevitable costs associated with travel, training and equipment.
The price seems excessive, especially when considering President Trump's recent budget proposal, which would cut the EPA's funds by more than 30 percent.
In June, Pruitt defended cuts to the agency, promising Congress that the EPA "can fulfil the mission of our agency with a trimmed budget, with proper leadership and management."
Pruitt's secrecy as an EPA administrator is unprecedented. Yet, according to assistant inspector general Patrick Sullivan, the paranoia is justified. Sullivan says that Pruitt has received more death threats than any other EPA chief.
"We have at least four times — four to five times the number of threats against Mr. Pruitt than we had against Ms. McCarthy," he said, referring to Gina McCarthy, who was the EPA administrator during Obama's presidency.
According to the agency, the office has launched more than 70 investigations into threats against Pruitt and others.
"The EPA is a lightning rod. We get threats from both sides of the spectrum," Sullivan told CNN.
"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."
When CNN reached out to EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman she declined to comment "on security measures taken months ago to protect the administrator."