Sunday evening, a small baggie of white powder was found in the West Wing, prompting a brief shutdown of the White House campus.
Preliminary tests determined the substance was cocaine, allowing the White House to be reopened and the bag shipped out for further analysis.
As the US Secret Service undertakes its investigation into who brought a bag of cocaine to the White House, an unnamed law enforcement official has told US media the culprit may never be found.
On Tuesday, lab results confirmed that the substance was cocaine.
While the Secret Service and the White House have refused to say exactly where the baggie was found, both have said it was located at a heavily trafficked area. The Secret Service described it as a “work area of the West Wing” while White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said it was in an area frequented by guests and noted tours had taken place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“Where this was discovered is a heavily traveled area, where many […] West Wing visitors come through this particular area,” Jean-Pierre said during Wednesday’s White House briefing. “I just don’t have anything more to share, it is under investigation by the Secret Service, this is in their purview.”
Jean-Pierre added the White House has “confidence the Secret Service will get to the bottom of this.”
US media outlets have reported on an unnamed official familiar with the investigation who said it is possible the investigation may not discover who brought the illicit substance into the White House because of the area’s high traffic between government officials and tourists. “It’s gonna be very difficult for us to do that because of where it was,” the official reportedly said.
The Secret Service said they are reviewing visitor logs and video cameras as part of the investigation. A reporter noted on Wednesday that the baggie remains at the lab for additional tests, including for fingerprints and DNA.
Jean-Pierre refused to answer a reporter’s question about whether US President Joe Biden wanted the culprit to be prosecuted if the investigation reveals the source of the cocaine.
“I am just not going to get into hypotheticals from here, let’s let the Secret Service do their job, it’s under their purview,” she said.
Biden and his family were not in the White House when the cocaine was discovered – that includes the president’s son Hunter Biden, who at the time was vacationing at Camp David with his father and first lady Jill Biden.
However, Hunter Biden, who has a well-documented history of cocaine use, including multiple instances that were caught on video, was at the White House on Friday.
At the Wednesday briefing, Jean-Pierre noted all visitors to the White House have to go through security checkpoints; however, she was not asked by reporters and did not clarify if that applies to members of the first family.
Earlier Wednesday, reporters shouted questions about the cocaine at Biden during his Oval Office photo op with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kistersson. Biden did not answer questions posed by the gaggle of reporters, who were quickly led out of the room by White House staffers.
An official for the House Oversight Committee previously told US media that the committee plans to request a briefing with the Secret Service about the incident.
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