White House cocaine investigation concluded after just 11 days, no suspect ID’d: Secret Service
The Secret Service ended its investigation into cocaine found in the West Wing of the White House after just 11 days without identifying a suspect, enraging congressional Republicans who demanded answers about how an illegal drug got into one of the most secure buildings in the world.
In a statement Thursday, the protective agency said its probe was “closed due to a lack of physical evidence” after FBI forensic testing on the bag the cocaine was found in failed to turn up fingerprints or sufficient DNA.
“Without physical evidence, the investigation will not be able to single out a person of interest from the hundreds of individuals who passed through the vestibule where the cocaine was discovered,” the Service said.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) stormed out of a briefing offered to lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee moments after it began Thursday morning, calling the conclusion “bogus” and the investigation a “complete failure.”
“They know who goes in the White House. They have facial identification, they have — y’all know you can’t go in there without giving your Social Security number anyway, and to say that it’s just some weekend visitor, that’s bogus,” Burchett said. “Nobody’s buying that at all.”
Other GOP lawmakers who stayed for the briefing confirmed that roughly one gram of cocaine was found July 2 by a Secret Service agent in a storage locker inside the West Wing executive entrance, and that no cameras were in position to capture footage of the culprit. The cocaine was found in one of 182 lockers with the key missing, according to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).
Investigators also told lawmakers they were unable to determine exactly when the cocaine was left in the locker due to the lack of footage. The vestibule is located by the basement entrance to the West Wing, one floor below the Oval Office and steps from the Situation Room.
“They were able to narrow down a list of approximately 500 people that had left a small bag of cocaine,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told reporters. “My question to them was, have they drug-tested this list of 500 potential suspects that brought an illegal substance, or drug, cocaine, into the White House? Their answer was ‘no’ and that they’re unwilling to do so.”
“The real concern here is American citizens every single day go through drug tests as part of their employment for their jobs. This is a common practice,” she added.
President Biden’s staff is subject to routine drug tests, but White House visitors — including those given West Wing tours by invitation only — are not.
Boebert said it would have been “a very unusual thing to drug screen random citizens” and that she had constitutional concerns about taking that investigative step.
“Every time there’s something strange going on with President Biden or his family, or anything regarding his administration or the White House, no one can ever seem to find an answer,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) also told reporters. “This is one of the most secure locations in the world, some of the best law enforcement officers in the world — and they don’t have any answers.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed, telling Fox News the probe was a “farce.”
“You can’t tell me in the White House, with 24/7 surveillance in a cubby hole by a Situation Room that they don’t know who delivered it there,” he said. “We should get an answer to the question. It just seems to me that in America today anything involving Biden Inc. gets treated differently than anything else and that shouldn’t be the case.”
Boebert said she found the status of the investigation “disturbing” because she was one of several lawmakers “who were recently sent a white powdery substance in the mail.”
“There are no security measures in place at the White House to detect a substance, whether it be a Schedule II substance like cocaine that was recently found, marijuana, or even something more potentially dangerous like anthrax,” she said.
“In 2022, twice while going through screening, people were caught with marijuana in their possession,” Boebert added. “So for this being the third time that drugs were found on the White House property during the Biden administration certainly poses a question: What kind of people are we allowing to go onto that premise? And what is their actual purpose there?”
The briefing took place in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol building because the Secret Service was sharing confidential White House security details with committee members
The executive mansion was briefly evacuated after the cocaine was found. An initial test came back positive for the drug, and further testing by the FBI confirmed it was cocaine.
President Biden was not at the White House at the time the substance was found. He had departed for Camp David two days earlier with members of his family, including son Hunter Biden — who has acknowledged a past crack cocaine addiction and is due to enter a guilty plea on tax and firearm charges later this month.
“Washington, DC, is a trash can,” Burchett said. “Everybody wants to pick and choose. They may need to turn it upside down, put the dadgum garden hose to it, and clean it out.”