The White House has denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for additional information regarding the discovery of cocaine in the West Wing. Washington D.C.’s Fire and Emergency, Medical Services Department decided not to cooperate in providing records related to their response when the white substance was found in the president’s corridors. The department cited privacy concerns as the reason for withholding the requested 19 pages of documents. Investigative journalist Jason Leopold, who submitted the FOIA request, expressed frustration over the denial and tweeted about the withheld records.
The department justified its decision by pointing to two Washington, D.C. statutes that prohibit the disclosure of certain information. The first statute prevents the release of “investigative techniques and procedures not generally known outside of the government.” The second statute restricts the department from disclosing the 19 pages due to a “specific vulnerability assessment,” which aims to prevent or mitigate potential acts of terrorism.
In his request, Leopold sought the release of various documents, including a copy of the Secret Service’s call to the Hazmat team, a test document confirming the substance as cocaine, photos of the substance, emails referencing it, and final incident reports. However, the department refused to comply with these requests.
Editorial Opinion: The denial of this FOIA request raises concerns about transparency and accountability within the White House. Withholding information regarding the discovery of cocaine in such a sensitive location is troubling, as the public deserves to know the full extent of the incident and the government’s response. By citing privacy concerns and statutes related to investigative techniques and terrorism, the department seems to be avoiding full disclosure. This lack of transparency fuels speculation and conspiracy theories, undermining trust in the administration. The American people deserve honest and open communication from their government, especially in matters of national security.