Pushing back against criticism of Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt’s pricey first-class air travel, security officials on Thursday said “profanities being yelled at him” in airports prompted special travel precautions. Henry Barnet, director of the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, told Politico that numerous aggressive encounters at airports led to a recommendation from the head of Pruitt’s security detail that he travel in first class. First-class travel was seen as a way to keep him away from people “approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations and so forth,” Barnet said. In one such encounter in October, an individual recording Pruitt with his cellphone reportedly shouted, “Scott Pruitt, you’re fucking up the environment.” The threats against Pruitt are “so prevalent,” Barnet said, that his security detail conducts a new threat assessment every 90 days. Pruitt came under fire for his air travel habits after a Washington Post report earlier this week revealed that he and other EPA staff spent more than $90,000 in taxpayer funds on air travel in early June alone.
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