Interior docs show Zinke brought security detail on Mediterranean vacation

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke brought along a security detail for a trip to Greece and Turkey last summer,...

Posted: Mar 22, 2018 6:55 AM
Updated: Mar 22, 2018 6:55 AM

Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke brought along a security detail for a trip to Greece and Turkey last summer, recently released records show.

Politico reported on the documents Wednesday -- the latest revelation about Zinke's travel and the travel of other Trump administration Cabinet members.

ZInke's itinerary, obtained by Politico, showed the secretary had a planned vacation for two weeks with his wife in August 2017, a non-government trip on which other records showed Zinke had an organized security detail.

The cost of the detail is unclear.

Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift told CNN that "as a matter of protocol we do not share specifics about security matters," but outlined some general issues and concerns.

She noted that Zinke is in the line of presidential succession "and has access to sensitive and classified information, which makes his protection a matter of national security." The US Park Police have provided foreign and domestic security for the Interior secretary for several decades, she said. Swift also said there were "at least five terrorist attacks in Istanbul," and during his period of travel, there were "several security incidents and threats in the region."

"Both of these considerations further merited a prudent security presence," Swift said.

An email from department official Caroline Boulton, included in the document release from a Freedom of Information Act request, showed her providing temporary contact information for the security team abroad to the secretary.

A records review by CNN last month found notable examples of Zinke's travel that raised red flags with ethics watchdogs, and the secretary has responded to questions and criticism of his travel practices by calling them insulting.

Other Trump administration officials have likewise faced questions over their use of public funds while traveling, and last year, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned following revelations about his use of private planes for official travel.

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