Why Secret Service did not detect cocaine at the White House

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While it may be a felony crime to carry cocaine, it’s a substance not typically screened at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Cocaine at the White House is a felony crime. However, believe it or not, it’s a substance not typically screened for at what is arguably the most recognized place on the planet.

Powdery substances like anthrax and ricin are some of the lethal materials that law enforcement and detection systems around and near the White House typically search for with radiological, biological, chemical and nuclear devices. There are also police dogs that sniff for detection of the chemicals.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 11: Secret Service Officers stand by as demonstrators are arrested in front of the White House during a climate march in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day at on October 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. Activists organized the march to the White House to demand that U.S. President Joe Biden stop approving fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency, ahead of the United Nations climate summit in November. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

After a substance later confirmed to be cocaine was found in the White House’s West Wing on Sunday, officials confirmed that dogs on surveillance detail at the White House do not sniff for drugs.

A former senior high-ranking law enforcement official, who agreed to speak on security matters at the White House on condition of anonymity, told theGrio that identifying drugs like cocaine is “not what we police for.” The objective of the Secret Service and security measures at the White House are about “protecting the president.”

“It is not the job of the Secret Service to pat someone down and search them for drugs,” said Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. He told theGrio it’s more shocking that such an occurrence “has not happened before,” adding, “But it has happened now.”

Fleischer said the White House and the Secret Service must be forthcoming with information about the cocaine discovery at the White House, which is currently under investigation.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed President Joe Biden, who was out of town with his family at the time of the cocaine discovery, was briefed on the matter. The presidential spokesperson deferred all inquiries related to the investigation to Secret Service.

The last known publicized discovery of a white powdery substance connected to the White House was during Fleischer’s tenure as press secretary in October 2001. Fleischer announced that a mail facility miles away tested positive for anthrax. The facility processed letters for the executive mansion and the Secret Service. It was later confirmed that no anthrax was detected at the White House.

385309 01: White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer briefs reporters about the shooting that took place behind the White House February 7, 2001 in Washington, DC. A 47 year-old armed gunman was shot outside of the South Lawn fence of the White House and later transported by ambulance to the George Washington University hospital. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Newsmakers)

While the bioterrorist substance did not make it inside the White House, it did kill two Black postal workers and infected other mail personnel in D.C. and other areas throughout the country.

As Secret Service works to discover who brought the cocaine powder to the White House, the former law enforcement official told theGrio that visitor logs and security cameras would be checked for those who entered the building Sunday. Investigators will also try to find a match with fingerprints on record and DNA of the bag to determine if they can make a “match” of a suspect.

However, the investigation process may not be as easy to find as the job of the Secret Service is typically to prevent threats against the president – not cocaine investigations.

TheGrio spoke with other former White House law enforcement with security and protocol knowledge who corroborated the law enforcement source’s assessment.

Anyone who enters the White House for tours, visits, or works on the multi-acre complex undergo a criminal background check to determine if they’ve ever been arrested. If the Secret Service determines upon conducting a criminal history check that there is a valid outstanding arrest warrant, the individual will be arrested upon arrival at the White House.

A staffer or a guest of someone authorized to provide a West Wing tour Sunday is believed to be the individual who brought the substance inside the West Wing.

Fleischer said he would be shocked if the culprit is not found. He said, “It would be a frightening admission if [Secret Service] can’t catch who did it.”

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The post Why Secret Service did not detect cocaine at the White House appeared first on TheGrio.