Paranoid Pruitt spends taxpayer $$$ on “cone of silence”. What’s he hiding?

  • Published on September 27th, 2017

It’s not enough that the paranoid EPA-hating chief of the EPA Scott Pruitt has diverted a dozen of the agency’s already understaffed investigative team to do round-the-clock bodyguard duty, even when he is in his office at headquarters. Now Brady Dennis at The Washington Post reports that Pruitt ordered an expensive customized acoustic booth to ensure his phone calls remain secret.

"Cone of silence" from TV show Get SmartBy Meteor Blades

No doubt this updated “cone of silence” will make it easier to keep the contents of his lickspittle conversations with executives of the fossil fuel, mining, and automobile industries away from prying ears.

Sources did not say whether the booth is big enough to allow both Pruitt and a bodyguard to occupy it at the same time:

The agency signed a $24,570 contract earlier this summer with Acoustical Solutions, a Richmond-based company, for a “privacy booth for the administrator.” The company sells and installs an array of sound-dampening and privacy products, from ceiling baffles to full-scale enclosures like the one purchased by the EPA. The project’s scheduled completion date is Oct. 9, according to the contract.

Typically, such soundproof booths are used to conduct hearing tests. But the EPA sought a customized version — one that eventually would cost almost several times more than a typical model — that Pruitt can use to communicate without fear of being monitored. […]

No previous EPA administrators had such a setup.

In the past, the agency had a so-called Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) on a different floor EPA admin Scott Pruitt by Gage Skidmore on Flickrwhere anyone with the proper clearance could go when sharing classified information.

The cone of silence is just the latest of Pruitt’s efforts to keep whatever pollution-friendly shenanigans he’s up to out of the wrong hands.

In a change from longstanding practice, he doesn’t post his appointment schedules. And, after scrutiny of his emails as attorney general of Oklahoma were pried loose by The New York Times and a lawsuit from the Center for Media and Democracy—exposing his close ties to energy companies in his efforts to smash regulations affecting them—Pruitt avoids email exchanges with EPA staffers, preferring face-to-face meetings and verbal instructions. Plausible deniability enabled.

The obvious question: Given how bad Pruitt’s known activities are, how much worse is the stuff he’s hiding?

(Originally appeared at DailyKos.)

About the Author

Meteor Blades is a writer and contributing editor at DailyKos. He believes there is something profoundly wrong with our system. - the unchecked accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a very small group of corporate business interests has contributed to the wholesale corruption of our political system. For an understanding about the level of corruption in our country, he encourages you to view these two PBS documentaries: (1). ,The Untouchables; (2) The United States of ALEC.