A second piece of the Southwest Flight 1380 plane

A second piece of the Southwest Flight 1380 plane has been found in a Pennsylvania town about 60 miles northwest of the Philadelphia International Airport

A second piece of the Southwest Flight 1380 plane has been found in a Pennsylvania town about 60 miles northwest of the Philadelphia International Airport

President Donald Trump affirms his plans to meet with Kim Jong Un after the CIA chief held secret talks with the North Korean leader two weeks ago but warns he could still pull out of a summit if isn’t going to be “fruitful.”

President Donald Trump affirms his plans to meet with Kim Jong Un after the CIA chief held secret talks with the North Korean leader two weeks ago but warns he could still pull out of a summit if isn’t going to be “fruitful.”

President Donald Trump affirms his plans to meet with Kim Jong Un after the CIA chief held secret talks with the North Korean leader two weeks ago but warns he could still pull out of a summit if isn’t going to be “fruitful.”

President Donald Trump affirms his plans to meet with Kim Jong Un after the CIA chief held secret talks with the North Korean leader two weeks ago but warns he could still pull out of a summit if isn’t going to be “fruitful.”

James Comey and President Donald Trump seem to disagree on most everything, but the ex-FBI director’s memos show consensus on at least one thing: the need to hunt down leakers.

James Comey and President Donald Trump seem to disagree on most everything, but the ex-FBI director’s memos show consensus on at least one thing: the need to hunt down leakers.

Former President George HW Bush greets mourners honoring his wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush

Former President George HW Bush greets mourners honoring his wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush

With Iran and a list of other tough issues awaiting them, President Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron are starting off the French president’s three-day visit with an anything-but-ordinary double date with their wives at George Washington’s house

With Iran and a list of other tough issues awaiting them, President Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron are starting off the French president’s three-day visit with an anything-but-ordinary double date with their wives at George Washington’s house

With Iran and a list of other tough issues awaiting them, President Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron are starting off the French president’s three-day visit with an anything-but-ordinary double date with their wives at George Washington’s house

With Iran and a list of other tough issues awaiting them, President Donald Trump and France’s Emmanuel Macron are starting off the French president’s three-day visit with an anything-but-ordinary double date with their wives at George Washington’s house

Claire Foy says the controversy over her pay for the Netflix series “The Crown” has changed her approach to Hollywood

Claire Foy says the controversy over her pay for the Netflix series “The Crown” has changed her approach to Hollywood

Claire Foy says the controversy over her pay for the Netflix series “The Crown” has changed her approach to Hollywood

Claire Foy says the controversy over her pay for the Netflix series “The Crown” has changed her approach to Hollywood

Acquaintances and relatives say suspect in rifle attack on a Tennessee Waffle House had begun showing erratic behavior years before the shooting rampage.

Acquaintances and relatives say suspect in rifle attack on a Tennessee Waffle House had begun showing erratic behavior years before the shooting rampage.

Acquaintances and relatives say suspect in rifle attack on a Tennessee Waffle House had begun showing erratic behavior years before the shooting rampage.

Acquaintances and relatives say suspect in rifle attack on a Tennessee Waffle House had begun showing erratic behavior years before the shooting rampage.

(Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean via AP). In this Monday, April 23, 2018 photo, Travis Reinking, suspected of killing four people in a late-night shooting at a Waffle House restaurant, is escorted into the Hill Detention Center in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, …

(Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean via AP). In this Monday, April 23, 2018 photo, Travis Reinking, suspected of killing four people in a late-night shooting at a Waffle House restaurant, is escorted into the Hill Detention Center in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, …

Authorities say two Dallas police officers were escorting a man from a home improvement store when he shot them and a store employee.

Authorities say two Dallas police officers were escorting a man from a home improvement store when he shot them and a store employee.

Authorities say two Dallas police officers were escorting a man from a home improvement store when he shot them and a store employee.

Authorities say two Dallas police officers were escorting a man from a home improvement store when he shot them and a store employee.

(Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News via AP). Law enforcement officers stand guard at the driveway entrance to the emergency room at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Two Dallas policemen were reportedly shot at a nearby Home Depot and reportedly were …

(Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News via AP). Law enforcement officers stand guard at the driveway entrance to the emergency room at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Two Dallas policemen were reportedly shot at a nearby Home Depot and reportedly were …

One of five black women golfers who say they were told to leave a Pennsylvania club says it felt like they were “playing with targets on our backs.”.

One of five black women golfers who say they were told to leave a Pennsylvania club says it felt like they were “playing with targets on our backs.”.

One of five black women golfers who say they were told to leave a Pennsylvania club says it felt like they were “playing with targets on our backs.”.

One of five black women golfers who say they were told to leave a Pennsylvania club says it felt like they were “playing with targets on our backs.”.

(Dawn J. Sagert /York Dispatch via AP). CORRECTS SOURCE TO YORK DISPATCH INSTEAD OF THE YORK DAILY RECORD- In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017 photo, Brewvino Owner and Manager Jordan Chronister talks about renovations that will be made following Brewvino…

(Dawn J. Sagert /York Dispatch via AP). CORRECTS SOURCE TO YORK DISPATCH INSTEAD OF THE YORK DAILY RECORD- In this Wednesday, March 1, 2017 photo, Brewvino Owner and Manager Jordan Chronister talks about renovations that will be made following Brewvino…

Black woman golfer: It was like we had targets on our backs

Black woman golfer: It was like we had targets on our backs

A California State University, Fresno professor who called Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” and cheered her death won’t be punished.

A California State University, Fresno professor who called Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” and cheered her death won’t be punished.

A California State University, Fresno professor who called Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” and cheered her death won’t be punished.

A California State University, Fresno professor who called Barbara Bush “an amazing racist” and cheered her death won’t be punished.

Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers are poised to walk off the job this week to demand more funding for public education.

Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers are poised to walk off the job this week to demand more funding for public education.

Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers are poised to walk off the job this week to demand more funding for public education.

Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers are poised to walk off the job this week to demand more funding for public education.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File). FILE – In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Stefanie Lowe, a teacher at Tuscano Elementary School, smiles as she joins other teachers, parents and students as they stage a “walk-in” for higher pay and school funding in…

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File). FILE – In this April 11, 2018, file photo, Stefanie Lowe, a teacher at Tuscano Elementary School, smiles as she joins other teachers, parents and students as they stage a “walk-in” for higher pay and school funding in…

Until last week, Southwest Airlines had a string of 47 years without a passenger dying in an accident, but it has also paid millions in fines over safety.

Until last week, Southwest Airlines had a string of 47 years without a passenger dying in an accident, but it has also paid millions in fines over safety.

Until last week, Southwest Airlines had a string of 47 years without a passenger dying in an accident, but it has also paid millions in fines over safety.

Until last week, Southwest Airlines had a string of 47 years without a passenger dying in an accident, but it has also paid millions in fines over safety.

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File). FILE – In this April 4, 2011 file photo, a Southwest Airlines plane sits in a remote area of the Yuma International Airport, after the plane had a section of fuselage tear from the plane during a flight in Yuma, Ariz….

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File). FILE – In this April 4, 2011 file photo, a Southwest Airlines plane sits in a remote area of the Yuma International Airport, after the plane had a section of fuselage tear from the plane during a flight in Yuma, Ariz….

A man who disarmed a gunman accused of killing four people at a Nashville Waffle House has received a standing ovation from Tennessee lawmakers.

A man who disarmed a gunman accused of killing four people at a Nashville Waffle House has received a standing ovation from Tennessee lawmakers.

A man who disarmed a gunman accused of killing four people at a Nashville Waffle House has received a standing ovation from Tennessee lawmakers.

A man who disarmed a gunman accused of killing four people at a Nashville Waffle House has received a standing ovation from Tennessee lawmakers.

(Metro Nashville Police Department via AP). In this image released by the Metro Nashville Police Department, Travis Reinking poses for a booking photo on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. The mentally unstable gunman suspected of killing four…

(Metro Nashville Police Department via AP). In this image released by the Metro Nashville Police Department, Travis Reinking poses for a booking photo on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. The mentally unstable gunman suspected of killing four…

Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial are poised to start deliberating after a marathon day of closing arguments.

Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial are poised to start deliberating after a marathon day of closing arguments.

Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial are poised to start deliberating after a marathon day of closing arguments.

Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial are poised to start deliberating after a marathon day of closing arguments.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Bill Cosby departs after his sexual assault trial near a cloud of bubbles blown by a protester, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum). Bill Cosby departs after his sexual assault trial near a cloud of bubbles blown by a protester, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa.

A string of crashes involving Amtrak trains is rekindling memories for survivors of the passenger service’s deadliest accident ever.

A string of crashes involving Amtrak trains is rekindling memories for survivors of the passenger service’s deadliest accident ever.

A string of crashes involving Amtrak trains is rekindling memories for survivors of the passenger service’s deadliest accident ever.

A string of crashes involving Amtrak trains is rekindling memories for survivors of the passenger service’s deadliest accident ever.

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson). This Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, photo shows a family picture of Andrea Chancey and her father, in Biloxi, Miss., taken during her childhood. Chancey’s parents were killed when the transcontinental train the family was on, tumb…

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson). This Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, photo shows a family picture of Andrea Chancey and her father, in Biloxi, Miss., taken during her childhood. Chancey’s parents were killed when the transcontinental train the family was on, tumb…

It took a big money push from the Republican Party, tweets by the president and the support of the state’s current and former governors, but the GOP held onto an Arizona U.S. House seat they would have never considered endangered in any other year.

It took a big money push from the Republican Party, tweets by the president and the support of the state’s current and former governors, but the GOP held onto an Arizona U.S. House seat they would have never considered endangered in any other year.

It took a big money push from the Republican Party, tweets by the president and the support of the state’s current and former governors, but the GOP held onto an Arizona U.S. House seat they would have never…

It took a big money push from the Republican Party, tweets by the president and the support of the state’s current and former governors, but the GOP held onto an Arizona U.S. House seat they would have never…

(AP Photo/Matt York). Republican U.S. Congressional candidate Debbie Lesko, right, celebrates her win with former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at her home, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. Lesko ran against Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni for …

(AP Photo/Matt York). Republican U.S. Congressional candidate Debbie Lesko, right, celebrates her win with former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer at her home, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Peoria, Ariz. Lesko ran against Democratic candidate Hiral Tipirneni for …

By MICHAEL BIESECKER and JEFF HORWITZAssociated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The security chief for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency worked on the side as a private investigator for the owner of a tabloid news company with close ties to President Donald Trump.

EPA special agent Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta performed regular work for National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. during the 2016 election, according to person with knowledge of the company’s internal workings.

But unlike another private investigator hired by the Enquirer, Perrotta didn’t work on such newsroom projects as tracking down sources. Instead, the person told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Perrotta was engaged to discretely handle investigative work at the direction of AMI chairman and CEO David Pecker.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the company’s operations and spoke on condition of anonymity. The New York Times first reported Perrotta’s link to AMI.

In addition to his job at EPA, Perrotta is the top executive at Sequoia Security Group, a Maryland-based security firm. The person with knowledge of the situation did not know whether Perrotta was paid for his work for AMI and Pecker through Sequoia or another business entity.

A former Secret Service agent, Perrotta has worked at EPA for more than a decade. He was tapped by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year to lead his 20-member, full-time personal protective detail.

Perrotta’s predecessor as Pruitt’s security chief was reassigned for refusing to acquiesce to the administrator’s demands for VIP treatment, including using the emergency lights on a government vehicle to speed through Washington traffic to make airline flights and dinner reservations.

Perrotta did not respond late Tuesday to messages seeking comment. EPA’s press office also did not respond to messages seeking comment about the security chief’s side business.

AP reported earlier this month that Perrotta oversaw a rapid expansion of Pruitt’s security team and the taxpayer-funded precautions used to ensure his personal safety, including the use of first-class airline seats after a fellow traveler cursed at the EPA chief in an airport.

Perrotta also spearheaded the purchase of a $43,000 soundproof booth for Pruitt’s office to help ensure his telephone calls could not be overheard by others. The Government Accountability Office found earlier this month that the spending on the pricey privacy booth violated federal purchasing laws.

Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday issued a letter questioning whether Perrotta was improperly operating an outside consulting firm without proper approval from EPA ethics officials.

Under Pecker, American Media became one of the earliest and most fervent backers of Trump’s political career, providing breathless coverage as far back as 2011 to Trump’s promotion of the false theory that President Barack Obama might not be a U.S. citizen.

During the 2016 campaign, Pecker’s flagship National Enquirer was in close contact with Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen while it attacked Trump’s Republican opponents from its perch in supermarket checkout aisles, printing thin allegations about Sen. Ted Cruz’s personal life and alleging Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was in declining physical and mental health.

AMI also helped Trump in a far less public fashion. The company paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump during his marriage to Melania, and another $30,000 to a former Trump doorman peddling another story about Trump.

AMI has denied the payments were hush money, though Pecker himself noted in a New Yorker interview last year that the contract with Playmate Karen McDougal prevented her from “bashing Trump.”

Records show Perrotta received clearance in March 2013 for limited nongovernment consulting work but was required to get updated approval if his job duties changed. Perrotta received a significant promotion and pay raise last year.

According to the letter approving his work outside the agency, Perrotta told EPA ethics officials he expected to be “self-employed” to provide consulting to two to three clients for approximately three to six hours per week on issues related to cybersecurity and “denial of service insurance.”

The 2013 approval, which was in effect for a five-year period that expired last month, also barred Perrotta from using his government position to advance his personal interests.

AP reported in December that EPA paid $3,000 to contractor Edwin Steinmetz Associates last year to search Pruitt’s office for secret listening devices. Steinmetz is also listed as a vice president at Perrotta’s security firm.

Emails obtained by congressional Democrats showed that Perrotta played a role in the decision to conduct the bug sweep, the contract for which the lawmakers allege he improperly steered to Steinmetz.

Tuesday’s letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who serve on a committee with oversight of EPA. They ask an agency ethics official to re-examine whether Perrotta’s outside employment violates agency rules.

Follow Associated Press investigative reporters Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck and Jeff Horwitz at http://twitter.com/JeffHorwitz

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.