Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began receiving around-the-clock security from the U.S. Marshals Service days after being confirmed, an armed detail provided to no other cabinet member that could cost U.S. taxpayers $19.8 million through September of 2019, according to new figures provided by the Marshals Service to NBC News.
It remains unclear who specifically made the request, but former Attorney General Jeff Sessions granted the protection on Feb. 13, 2017. It came just a few days after DeVos was heckled and blocked by a handful of protesters from entering the Jefferson Academy, a public middle school in Washington. DeVos was confirmed as education secretary on Feb. 7 of that year.
"The order was issued after the Department of Education contacted administration officials regarding threats received by the Secretary of Education," the Justice Department said in a statement. "The U.S.M.S. was identified to assist in this area based on its expertise and long experience providing executive protection."
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In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the cost of DeVos' security was $5.3 million and $6.8 million, respectively. The estimated cost for fiscal year 2019 is $7.74 million.
An Education Department spokeswoman said DeVos had not personally requested the protection.