Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is receiving additional security protection from the U.S. Marshals Service. Politico reports:
Drew J. Wade, a spokesman for the Marshals Service, said in an email to POLITICO that the law enforcement agency “is not aware of providing a protective detail for the U.S. secretary of Education in the past.”
“The Attorney General authorized the U.S. Marshals to provide the protective detail for Secretary DeVos,” Wade said. The Marshals Service, which is part of the Justice Department, declined to provide additional details about the new security measures or who requested them.
Last week DeVos was blocked from entering a Washington, D.C. area middle school by a group of protesters. The protesters also tried to block vehicles connected to her appearance by physically blocking a driveway until police moved them out of the way. One protester, Bilal Askaryar, was arrested for pushing a police officer. From the LA Times:
Askaryar was charged with two misdemeanors counts of assaulting, resisting or interfering with a police officer and one misdemeanor count of failure to obey a lawful order…
A D.C. Metropolitan Police Department report said he defied “several lawful orders to move out of the way of vehicle’s path” outside Jefferson Academy in the southwest of the city…
Despite warnings, the protesters “started pushing and shoving the police officers,” the statement said. Askaryar remained in the car’s path and said “no” when an officer told him to move, which was documented by a police body camera, police said.
DeVos eventually entered the building through another door in time for her scheduled meeting with local school officials.
The Washington Post contacted former Education Secretary Arne Duncan who was quick to praise the small security unit inside the Department of Education and to bash the additional security as a waste of money:
Duncan said he “never for one second doubted” the security team’s ability to do its job and never saw a need to ask for additional protection…
“That’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Duncan said of the use of U.S. marshals.
Duncan ought to be careful of accusing anyone of wasting taxpayer’s money. Last month the Education Department published a study which found that billions in stimulus money spent on School Improvement Grants on Duncan’s watch yielded no statistically significant improvement on math or reading scores.