- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2018

Embattled Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt has a new public relations mess on his hands regarding the possible misuse of emergency sirens in heavy traffic.

President Trump can add the reassignment of EPA Special Agent Eric Weese to a growing list of stories that threaten to derail messaging for his environmental agenda. Mr. Pruitt is accused of replacing the 16-year veteran — previously the lead agent in charge of his security detail — after he rebuffed efforts to abuse the use of emergency sirens.

CBS confirmed its story with multiple sources on Thursday after viewing a letter by Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Tom Carper of Delaware.

“Under what circumstances did the prior Special Agent in Charge leave?” the lawmakers asked the agency.

EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson told the network, “We have no knowledge of anyone being removed from the detail for not using lights and sirens.”

An EPA spokesman said “We do not comment on personnel matters within EPA’s protective service detail.”

Mr. Weese was replaced by Pasquale “Nino” Perotta — himself under fire by the senators for an EPA security contract awarded to a business partner.

“Edwin Steinmetz [of Sequoia Security Group] was awarded a $3,000 contract to sweep Pruitt’s office for bugs. ‘Two other contracts,” both under the $3,500 threshold for public reporting, ‘were given for the purchase of biometric locks,’” CBS reported.

Mr. Perrotta did not immediately respond to the network’s request for comment.

Mr. Steinmetz told CBS that he could not discuss any possible clients, although he did say the company has not received “a kickback for the service.”

“We are under the required bid limit so they got a fantastic price,” he said.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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