The United States Secret Service has released files pertaining to an incident in July 2023, where a suspicious white powdery substance, later identified as cocaine, was found at the White House. These documents, released following a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Black Vault (FOIA Case: 20230736), provide a detailed account of the events and the subsequent response by security and emergency services.
On the afternoon of July 2, 2023, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division (USSS/UDW) reported the discovery of a small bag containing an unknown white powdery substance at the White House. This finding prompted an immediate response, including the evacuation of the West Wing and the closure of nearby streets. “The West Wing was evacuated as a result of the finding and 17th Street from H Street NW to New York Avenue NW was closed,” the report stated.
The White House Watch Commander swiftly requested the Crime Scene and Technical Services Division (TSD) to evaluate the substance. By 8:24 PM EDT, the West Wing, West Executive Avenue, and the entire area surrounding the White House had been evacuated, with closures extending to vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the vicinity. This large-scale security operation was indicative of the high level of alert and the seriousness with which the incident was treated.
By 8:59 PM EDT, the USSS/UDW/JOC (Joint Operations Center) confirmed that the substance was not hazardous, leading to the lifting of closures and the departure of all partner agencies involved in the response.
The documents also reveal the extent of the security measures taken during the incident, including the evacuation of the White House and the Ellipse, along with road closures from Constitution Avenue to H Street. The USSS/PID (Protective Intelligence Division)/JOC informed relevant parties of the incident for situational awareness, demonstrating the coordinated approach of various agencies in managing such high-profile security incidents.
This release of documents provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the Secret Service and their protocols in handling potential security threats at the White House. The incident, while swiftly contained, underscores the continual challenges and responsibilities faced by national security agencies in ensuring the safety of key government locations and personnel.
All files released by the Secret Service [115 Pages, 22MB]
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