Secret Service Refuses to Hand Over Records Regarding Cocaine in White House

Secret Service Refuses to Hand Over Records Regarding Cocaine in White House
The West Wing of the White House on July 5, 2023. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Secret Service has refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records relating to the cocaine that was recently found in the White House, 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 the FOIA request he made to the agency for records regarding the White House cocaine cannot be complied with.

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 reason the Secret Service gave is that the requested information could potentially “interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Typically, when an agency denies a FOIA request under the “enforcement proceedings” exemption, it is signaling that releasing it could hinder ongoing or future law enforcement actions.

The Secret Service told The Epoch Times in an earlier statement that it was investigating the discovery of the cocaine.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Secret Service with a request to provide more details regarding the justification for the FOIA denial.

The Secret Service’s refusal to comply with the FOIA request and its resorting to the “enforcement proceedings” exemptions is the latest development in the saga around hard drugs found at the White House.

NTD Photo
The White House in Washington on July 10, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

‘Unknown Item’ Prompts White House Evacuation

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.

“The White House complex went into a precautionary closure as officers from the Secret Service Uniformed Division investigated an unknown item found inside a work area,” Anthony Guglielmi, chief of communications, U.S. Secret Service, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

The discovery of the mysterious substance in the West Wing prompted the dispatch of a Hazmat team as well as the D.C. Fire Department and EMS.

“The D.C. Fire Department was called to evaluate and quickly determined the item to be non-hazardous,” Guglielmi added, noting that the item was sent out for further evaluation and an investigation into how it entered the White House is pending.

While the Secret Service did not 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.

“We have a yellow bar stating cocaine hydrochloride,” the firefighter can be heard saying on the call.

“Bag it up and take it out,” the firefighter added, presumably addressing someone on the Hazmat team.

Cocaine Possibly Dropped by Authorized Person

As the investigation progressed, Mr. Guglielmi would later tell 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 area where the drug was discovered is not accessible to the public. He explained that it’s a restricted area where West Wing staff, media personnel, visitors, and others involved in the security screening process gather. He declined to provide detailed information due to security reasons.

The White House will not initially be involved in the investigation, but that could change. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said 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 the weekly White House press briefing.

Ms. Jean-Pierre said the substance was found in an area that is “heavily traveled.”

NTD Photo
The White House in Washington, on July 2, 2023. (Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images)

Republicans Raise Security Concerns

Following the discovery of the drugs and subsequent investigation, some Republicans have raised concerns about security at the White House.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on July 5 pressed the Secret Service to disclose more details about its investigation into the matter.

“The American people deserve to know whether illicit drugs were found in an area where confidential information is exchanged,” Mr. Cotton wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle. (pdf).

The letter posed a series of questions to Ms. Cheatle, seeking clarification on the security of the complex and requesting the Secret Service’s plan to address any identified security flaws.

“If the White House complex is not secure, Congress needs to know the details, as well as your plan to correct any security flaws,” wrote Mr. Cotton, who is a member of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism.

He also requested a “complete list” of individuals who can enter the White House without undergoing full security screenings and those who are subject to lesser security screening requirements than those entering the West Wing, along with “the reasons such individuals are not subject to complete screening.”

Separately, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has requested a formal briefing from the Secret Service before Congress over the discovery of the cocaine.

“This alarming development requires the committee to assess White House security practices and determine whose failures led to an evacuation of the building and finding of the illegal substance,” Mr. Comer wrote in a July 7 letter (pdf) to Ms. Cheatle.

Comer requested the briefing by July 14.

Drugs in the White House

While it’s unclear how the cocaine got into the White House, it isn’t the first time that illicit drugs have made their way onto the premises.

Rapper Snoop Dogg told comedian Jimmy Kimmel in 2014 that he smoked marijuana in a White House bathroom.

Former President Jimmy Carter revealed in the documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President,” that his son Chip smoked “a big fat Austin torpedo” with Willie Nelson on the White House roof in 1980.

Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick said in 2011 that she had intended to spike then-President Richard Nixon’s tea with LSD in 1970.

Slick reportedly had 600 micrograms of LSD powder in her pocket and her plan was to drop it into Nixon’s teacup during a conversation, but the plan did not come to fruition as she was turned away at the door by security.

Caden Pearson contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.