Republicans demand Secret Service briefing on cocaine found in White House

WASHINGTON — House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is seeking a Secret Service briefing on the recent discovery of a bag of cocaine at the White House.

In a letter Friday to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle, Comer, R-Ky., said he wanted a staff-level briefing by the end of next week as his committee seeks more details. over cocaine found in a heavily trafficked part of the West Wing on Sunday, prompting a brief evacuation.

“This alarming development compels the Committee to assess White House security practices and determine what failures led to the evacuation of the building and the discovery of the illegal substance,” Comer wrote.

“The presence of illicit drugs in the White House is unacceptable and constitutes a shameful moment in the history of the White House,” he added.

In an accompanying statement, Comer said the incident “and the possible evacuation of personnel now clearly raises concerns about the level of security maintained at the White House.”

Asked for comment, US Secret Service spokesman Steve Kopek said on Friday the agency had received the investigation from Congress.

“Since this is an open and active investigation, we are communicating with the committees and working through the appropriate channels to identify what might meet the demands,” Kopek said.

President Joe Biden and his family were at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland when the cocaine was discovered, the White House said.

While earlier reports said the gunpowder was found in the West Wing’s official lobby, several officials involved in the investigation said Thursday it was discovered in a cubbyhole near the west executive entrance to the building. White House.

Two sources familiar with the investigation said Thursday that the Secret Service is expected to complete its investigation by Monday, ahead of schedule.

An official with knowledge of the investigation said Wednesday that the agency would review cameras and entry logs and examine the small zippered bag containing the cocaine for DNA, fingerprints and a full chemical analysis in a federal laboratory. Officials have warned that it may not be possible to identify who left it there if no identifiable forensic material is found.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Asked Cheatle on Wednesday to divulge more details and answer a series of questions about White House security procedures.

“If the White House complex is unsecured, Congress needs to know the details, as well as your plan to fix any security breaches,” Cotton said in a letter, asking for answers by July 14.

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