The White House on July 10, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have said that the U.S. Secret Service told them in a closed-door briefing that the investigation into cocaine found at the White House has concluded and no suspect has been identified.
While the Secret Service hasn’t yet officially confirmed the conclusion of the investigation, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) told reporters on Capitol Hill on July 13 that this is basically the end of the line for the probe.
“I don’t see it moving forward in any way, shape, or form after this,” she said.
Ms. Mace said lawmakers were told during the closed-door briefing that investigators were unable to determine who brought the cocaine into the West Wing and how long it was before it was discovered on July 2. It was first identified as an “unknown item” and prompted a brief evacuation.
“No one knows how long it was there or who put it there, and they can’t get to the bottom of it,” she said, noting that more than 500 people visited the White House that weekend and suggesting that the hypothesis that one of the visitors brought it in isn’t unreasonable.
At the same time, Ms. Mace expressed dismay at the failure of the probe to determine who brought the drugs into the White House and when.
“This, as a member of Congress, is frustrating. It’s the most secure site, the most secure building in the world, with the best law enforcement officers in the world, and we don’t have any answers,” she said.
“From my perspective, it’s just frustrating. Every time we have questions about activity around the Biden White House, the administration’s family, no one can ever get any answers.”
Although Ms. Mace didn’t name anyone in particular, much of the speculation around the drug find has focused on President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, who in his memoir discussed his past addiction to crack cocaine.
Asked whether she thinks the matter might get taken up by the House Oversight Committee, Ms. Mace said it’s unlikely because lawmakers have their hands full with other investigations.
Republicans in Congress have initiated a number of investigations into the Biden administration, including one into how government agencies colluded with big tech companies to censor Americans’ constitutionally protected free speech.
‘Pretty Good Diversion’
Other lawmakers who spoke to reporters following the Secret Service briefing told much the same story as Ms. Mace.
“They told us they don’t know who it is,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Burchett said it was “bogus” that the Secret Service wouldn’t be able to identify a suspect given all the security technology that’s deployed at the White House and the fact that visitors are screened quite closely.
“It’s a complete failure,” he said. “This thing is ridiculous.”
Asked for specifics of the information provided during the briefing, Mr. Burchett said lawmakers were told that the amount of cocaine that had been found was “less than a gram.”
“It’s a pretty good diversion. A lot of people are upset about it,” he said. “I think they’re thumbing their nose at the American public right now, like this administration has had a habit of doing.”
Mr. Burchett said a formal announcement of the conclusions of the investigation is expected on July 14.
Secret Service officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Secret Service Refuses to Hand Over Records
It comes days after the Secret Service stated that it wouldn’t comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records relating to the White House cocaine, citing the potential for interference in an ongoing investigation.
In a letter dated July 11, the Secret Service told Bloomberg Business investigative reporter Jason Leopold that it wouldn’t comply with the FOIA request he made to the agency.
Mr. Leopold’s FOIA request had asked for information such as emails, text messages, memos, intelligence bulletins and threat assessments, after-action reports, and suspicious activity reporting regarding the cocaine found in the West Wing of the White House on July 2.
The Secret Service stated that the requested information could “interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
Usually, when an agency denies a FOIA request under the “enforcement proceedings” exemption, it’s signaling that releasing the requested information could hinder ongoing or future law enforcement actions.
The Secret Service told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that the investigation remained “open and active” at that time and that disclosure of documents and records is prohibited under the federal FOIA until cases are closed and adjudicated.
On the evening of July 2, a substance initially described as an “unknown item” was found in the White House library, prompting a brief evacuation.
Although the Secret Service didn’t identify the nature of the substance, a D.C. firefighter said in a radio dispatch call at 8:49 p.m. on July 2 that the substance had tested positive for cocaine.
As the investigation progressed, Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Epoch Times that the substance may have been brought in by someone who works there or had authorization to be there.
According to Mr. Guglielmi, the drugs were discovered in an area where West Wing staff, media personnel, visitors, and others involved in the security screening process gather.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said recently that the administration would “let the Secret Service do its job” before determining what action it needs to take.
“We will take any action that is appropriate and warranted pending the outcome of the Secret Service [investigation],” Ms. Jean-Pierre told reporters during a weekly White House press briefing.