Why the Secret Service closed its investigation of the cocaine found in the White House without conducting interviews


The Secret Service announced Thursday that it had closed its investigation into who left a small package of cocaine at the White House without finding the culprit, and an agency spokesperson told NBC News it did so without conducting interviews.

The agency, along with the FBI, analyzed the package to determine it was cocaine and looked for fingerprint or DNA evidence. But the tests turned up no usable forensic evidence. Video footage of the area where the baggie was found also provided no evidence to narrow down possible suspects beyond a list of about 500 staff and visitors who stopped by over a weekend earlier this month.

Secret Service spokesman Anthony Gugliemi said the agency determined that interviewing all 500 people could be a burden on resources, could infringe on civil liberties and would likely be fruitless without corresponding physical evidence linking anyone to drugs. .

“Yes, I could have a consensual interview,” he said, meaning the interviews would be voluntary. «But we don’t have evidence to get close to them.»

Gugliemi said the small amount of cocaine, 208 milligrams or about 0.007 ounces, would only result in a misdemeanor charge in the District of Columbia and the agency determined that it did not justify the expenditure of resources needed to interview 500 people.

The incident has drawn a lot of public attention in recent days, including criticism from Republicans who have accused the Biden administration of not doing enough to find the culprit.

Former President Donald Trump posted on Truth Social on Thursday: “Even though all the cameras are pointed straight at the ‘crime scene’ and the best forensics in the world just can’t figure it out? They know the answer, and so does everyone else!”

Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor and acting administrator of then-President Barack Obama’s Drug Enforcement Administration, said law enforcement agencies must consider their resources when making decisions about who and what to investigate.

«They could have done the interviews, but at the end of the day it’s a long way over dry sand,» said Rosenberg, an NBC News contributor. «They have finite resources and it’s okay for them to decide that some things are worthwhile and others are not.»

Kelly O’Donnell contributed.

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