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152 views • July 8, 2023

House Republicans Request Briefing on Bag of Cocaine Found at White House

Capitol Report
Capitol Report
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has requested a briefing over cocaine found at the White House. In a July 7 letter to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, Mr. Comer said the committee is looking into the matter. “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,” wrote Mr. Comer. Mr. Comer called the July 2 discovery of the illegal substance “unacceptable and a shameful moment in the White House's history.” The White House said that the illegal drug was found near the West Wing. "What I wanted to be very clear is that this is a heavily, heavily trafficked—heavily traveled to be more accurate—area of the campus of the White House," said White House Press Secretary Kaine Jean-Pierre on July 5. "It is where visitors to the West Wing come through.” However, subsequent reporting by NBC News found that the bag was found near the Situation Room, an area not open to the public. Specifically, according to the outlet citing sources familiar with the Secret Service probe, the illegal drug "was found in an entrance area between the foyer and a lower-level lobby and "is near where some vehicles, like the vice president’s limo or SUV, park." The cocaine appeared to make it through the tight Secret Service security on the White House campus. The Secret Service said on July 5 that the illegal substance could have been left by an authorized entrant or White House employee. “There’s a multitude of individuals who come through this area," Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told The Epoch Times. "It’s an open area for individuals who are authorized to be in the West Wing.” Mr. Comer said that the matter “has raised additional concerns with the committee regarding the level of security maintained at the White House.” He requested a briefing on the incident by July 14. Ms. Jean-Pierre expressed confidence on July 7 that the Secret Service will “get to the bottom of it.” Mr. Comer is not the only member of Congress to send a letter to Ms. Cheatle about the incident. In a July 5 letter, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote that “the American people deserve to know whether illicit drugs were found in an area where confidential information is exchanged.” Mr. Cotton went on to tell Ms. Cheatle that “if the White House complex is not secure, Congress needs to know the details, as well as your plan to correct any security flaws.” He asked Ms. Cheatle to answer six questions by July 14 and schedule a briefing with him. These questions include, “who has access to the White House complex without passing through any security screening,” and “Who has access to the White House complex while subject to lesser security screening requirements than the most complete screening required of individuals accessing the West Wing.” Mr. Cotton also asked Ms. Cheatle for the number of White House visitors who are screened by K-9s and the instances where West Wing visitors are not screened by those dogs. Additionally, Mr. Cotton asked for the frequency behind the Secret Service confiscating illegal drugs at the White House and how often such drugs were discovered “during security screenings, and how often were these drugs encountered inside secure areas.” Moreover, Mr. Cotton asked whether the Secret Service arrests those who have cocaine with them on the White House grounds. Finally, Mr. Cotton asked: “How often does the Secret Service audit its security procedures for the White House complex and adjust those procedures to correct potential flaws” in addition to requesting the Secret Service’s latest audit and if it was conducted by the agency itself. A couple of the 2024 GOP candidates have chimed in on the cocaine news. "Does anybody really believe that the cocaine found in the West Wing of the White House, very close to the Oval Office, is for the use of anyone other than Hunter and Joe Biden," former President Donald Trump posted on his social media site, Truth Social, on Ju
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