corruption, Don Beyer D-VA, Eavesdropping, fossil fuel, Gerry Connolly D-VA, government waste, House Oversight, nuclear power, oil and gas, Privacy Booth, pruitt, Pruitt security, secret communications, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), soundproof privacy booth, Trey Gowdy R-SC, Trump EPA, Trump Pruitt EPA, US Congressman Cummings, US EPA
For those who missed it, Pruitt had a sound-proof “privacy booth” (phone booth) installed in his office at the EPA. He claims he needs security because he is under threat, but he wants a soundproof booth where he could scream for help and no one would hear? What did he want it for? The EPA handles virtually no classified information and they have a special location in the basement for that. So, what is he hiding?
Given his track record it appears to be for secretive discussions with polluters. VOA news reported that it was so that he could have “private conversations about agency business….” https://www.voanews.com/a/us-watchdog-attacks-bill-for-official-soundproof-booth/4350355.html The Guardian reported in early 2017: “The documents show that Pruitt, while Oklahoma attorney general, acted in close concert with oil and gas companies to challenge environmental regulations,...” See: “New EPA head Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal close ties with fossil fuel interests” By Oliver Milman and Dominic Rushe Wed 22 Feb 2017 11.47 EST, Last modified on Fri 14 Jul 2017 13.37 EDT https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/22/scott-pruitt-emails-oklahoma-fossil-fuels-koch-brothers
Eugene de Blaas “The Eavesdropper”
The other possibilities appear few of why he would need a sound-proof “privacy booth”:
Visits by (a) girlfriend(s) and/or (a) boyfriend(s)?
He sleeps at work and snores loudly?
He suffers from audible indigestion?
He wants to practice a musical instrument at work?
He wants to sing or play loud music at work?
Any, all, or some combination are possible.
From The Washington Post: “Scott Pruitt’s security detail cost nearly $3.5 million his first year, agency reports“: “Agency figures show that amount is nearly double what was spent annually on average for security for his two predecessors...” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/05/25/scott-pruitts-security-detail-cost-nearly-3-5-million-his-first-year-agency-reports/
“Top Senate, House Democrats Send New Documents to Chairman Gowdy Regarding Pruitt’s Office Security Sweep Apr 23, 2018 Press Release
Letter raises questions regarding Pruitt’s security spending and phone booth
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Representatives Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) sent a letter to Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) transmitting new documents that they have obtained regarding the security sweep of his office performed prior to construction.
The lawmakers wrote, “Documents provided to us from within EPA indicate that as of March 2017, the Administrator’s office was not cleared for classified communications. The phone booth, which was installed months later, appears to be a ‘privacy booth’ installed by a vendor that describes itself as a ‘manufacturer and distributor of acoustical products’ whose mission is ‘to solve sound and noise control problems to improve every environment of your life.’
Even if the phone booth itself is authorized to receive top secret communications, that would mean classified information is being received in an otherwise not-secured location, preventing the Administrator from discussing it with any other cleared person. EPA already has two Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (known as ‘SCIFs’) in its Washington DC headquarters which do not suffer from this infirmity.”
The letter continues, “In addition, we are providing unclassified but non-public documents that also cast doubt on EPA’s spending on enhanced security measures and the process used for obtaining them. Senators Carper and Whitehouse have previously written to EPA with concerns that Pasquale ‘Nino’ Perrotta, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of Administrator Pruitt’s security detail, improperly directed a contract to his business partner Edwin Steinmetz…These new documents raise serious questions about EPA’s security expenditures. They also raise questions about the role Mr. Perrotta played selecting Mr. Steinmetz for a security sweep, particularly after being advised by EPA officials that such sweeps are governed by National Security Council regulations.”
“Given the latest developments and these new documents, we believe these and related matters are ripe for additional document requests to EPA and that Administrator Pruitt should testify about all of these matters immediately,” the Democrats concluded.
The full text of the letter to Chairman Gowdy can be found...” at link:
He’s probably discussing things like this (Comment deadline extended to August 16th.)
GAO concluded “that EPA violated section 710 when it obligated $43,238.68 for the installation of a soundproof privacy booth without providing advance notice to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate….” https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/691272.pdf
“EPA justified the $43,238 expenditure for the soundproof booth, saying Pruitt needed space where he could use a ‘classified telephone’ so he could have private conversations about agency business….”. “US Watchdog Attacks $43,000 Bill for Official’s Soundproof Booth“, April 16, 2018 3:30 PM, by Ken Bredemeier https://www.voanews.com/a/us-watchdog-attacks-bill-for-official-soundproof-booth/4350355.html
“Pruitt’s phone booth a ‘head-scratcher’” by Kevin Bogardus, E&E News reporter, Greenwire: Wednesday, September 27, 2017, https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060061891/