Robert McDonald, a former agent who now teaches criminal justice at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, said the ultimate takeaway from the situation will be determined by the outcome of the investigation into how cocaine ended up inside the White House.
“While this was cocaine, it certainly could have been something else that either went undetected or was somehow secreted in something that wasn’t able to be visible by the officers,” McDonald said in an interview with The Daily Wire. “This will be an opportunity for the Secret Service to continue to better its procedures and protocols, to evaluate and reevaluate what they’re doing so that something like this doesn’t happen again.”
McDonald said that Secret Service members who screen people coming into the White House employ “much more complex and robust” procedures than what one might expect at a baseball or basketball game. He said the officers in charge of screening are “very, very good” at their jobs.
“We still need to figure out how this got in there, who brought it in. Once we figure out those answers, I think that’s going to be able to show us whether the Secret Service missed something here or if it was brought in by someone who potentially didn’t go through screening,” McDonald said.
He said that messaging coming out of the White House on the discovery was “incredibly poor” and only leads to more “speculation,” referencing Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates’s comments on Air Force One that the Hatch Act prevented him from commenting on the investigation.
Secret Service agents themselves are subject to frequent drug testing, McDonald added
Charles Marino, another former agent who is now the CEO of Sentinel Security, told The Daily Wire that he believes the Secret Service should be able to narrow down the list of suspects relatively quickly.
“Based on where the cocaine was found, I’m pretty confident that it was not there for a long period of time, based on the security measures, the sweeps of that area. So that gives the Secret Service some type of a time frame,” he said.
According to media reports, the cocaine was found on Sunday in a cubby by the lower West Wing entrance, which is immediately accessible from West Executive Avenue. This area is in a restricted and secured area, according to Marino.
The area would be accessible to outsiders being escorted on a tour by people with a West Wing pass, which would include individuals who work in the area, Marino said.
Marino said that the key is to wait while the investigation runs its course.
“The investigation is going to determine here how this entered the complex. If you have, for example, a family member or a higher-level person that does not have to undergo such screening scrutiny, then that’s going to be one aspect that needs to be looked at. If it’s ultimately found [that the cocaine] came through the normal screening process to enter the White House, then that’s going to, I think, enact other responses,” he said.