Saturday 8 July 2023

Secret Service now facing an investigation over White House cocaine scandal: 'Unacceptable and a shameful moment'

 The Secret Service is facing congressional scrutiny over the White House cocaine scandal.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer wrote Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle on Friday demanding to know how cocaine slipped through the Secret Service's security measures. 

"The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating the details surrounding the discovery of cocaine in the White House. 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," Comer wrote.

"This incident has raised additional concerns with the Committee regarding the level of security maintained at the White House," he added.

To assist with a congressional investigation, Comer requested Cheatle provide Congress with a briefing by next Friday.

"The presence of illegal drugs in the White House is unacceptable and a shameful moment in the White House's history," Comer said. "Congress funds White House security procedures, and the Secret Service has a responsibility to maintain effective safety protocols." 

What is the background?

The cocaine was discovered on Sunday when President Joe Biden and his family were at Camp David. They departed last Friday and returned on Independence Day.

Initial reports indicated the illicit drug was discovered in the White House library on the ground floor. But the latest report indicates it was found near the West Executive entrance, a highly secure area not far from the Situation Room. 

Congressional oversight is now crucial because law enforcement sources have repeatedly told reporters that despite a Secret Service investigation, which has included forensics, the person responsible for the cocaine may not be identified.

The potential that someone could have brought cocaine into the White House undetected is indeed mind-boggling.

No one enters the White House without the Secret Service knowing. Not only is the White House one of the most secure buildings in the world, staff members and visitors are subjected to a high-level of security. If someone or something tries to enter the White House but does not belong, the Secret Service knows about it.

With visitor logs and countless surveillance cameras, finding the culprit would be basic investigative work (at least it seems).

Comer's letter was sent two days after Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sent Cheatle a series of questions about the cocaine scandal, including whether the agency would arrest the person responsible.

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