Secret Service Closes White House Cocaine Probe. Heritage Isn’t Giving Up So Easily
By Tyler O'Neil, The Daily Signal
The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project is demanding that the Secret Service turn over the list of individuals who may have accessed the area of the White House where cocaine was discovered over the Fourth of July weekend, on the heels of news Thursday that the agency had closed the investigation.
“Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I respectfully request the following records from the United States Secret Service regarding the White House cocaine investigation,” the Oversight Project’s senior adviser, Mike Howell, wrote in a letter to the Secret Service. “Specifically, I am requesting a copy of the index of several hundred individuals who may have accessed the area where the substance was found.” (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)
On July 2, a Sunday, Secret Service officers found a suspicious white substance inside a vestibule leading to the lobby area of the West Executive Avenue entrance to the White House. Officers found the substance, later identified as cocaine, inside a receptacle used to temporarily store electronic and personal devices prior to entering the West Wing.
Authorities tested the cocaine for threats and found none. The FBI’s crime labanalyzed the cocaine for fingerprint and DNA analysis, handing over its results Wednesday.
The FBI “did not develop latent fingerprints and insufficient DNA was present for investigative comparisons,” so the Secret Service concluded that it “is not able to compare evidence against the known pool of individuals,” according to a Secret Service press release.
“There was no surveillance video footage found that provided investigative leads or any other means for investigators to identify who may have deposited the found substance in this area,” the Secret Service said in the press release. “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. At this time, the Secret Service’s investigation is closed due to a lack of physical evidence.”
Heritage’s Oversight Project seeks the list that the Secret Service referred to as “the known pool of individuals.”
Critics found the Secret Service’s failure unbelievable.
“At any given time, if you asked the security people at the White House who was in the White House at 12:35 p.m.—I’m just using that time—on a Friday afternoon, they can tell you,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Thursday on Fox News Channel. “Every single person that goes in there is logged in, is logged out. They know where the president is at all times, they know where the family is at all times.”
“So the idea that someone would walk into the White House with cocaine powder, drop it off somewhere, and they not know or at least be able to narrow it down to the 25 people on the planet who were in that area or had access to that area during a defined period of time—is ridiculous,” Rubio added. “It’s absurd. It’s just not true.”
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at Heritage’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, explained what visitors have to do when they enter the White House.
“One of the things you have to do when you go through the security checkpoints—and keep in mind, every staff member, every visitor, has to go through a background investigation to get into the White House—they not only check you for weapons,” von Spakovsky said. “You have to go through an area where they blow air through you and they have dogs sniffing, to try to detect any kind of illegal substances, bombs, or anything else.”
“And yet they missed someone bringing cocaine into the White House? That is hard to excuse,” von Spakovsky added.
Neither the president nor his son Hunter Biden—known for his past cocaine abuse—had been in the White House on the day of the discovery, officials said.
The first family left for Camp David on Friday, June 30, and returned for Independence Day festivities Tuesday, July 4. The substance that turned out to be cocaine was found in the West Wing on Sunday, July 2.
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