Cocaine found in the White House posed no threat to national security, a top aide to President Joe Biden said Friday, underlining that a highly sensitive facility nearby was not in use at the time.
The cocaine was found last Sunday, embarrassing the administration which has taken pains to emphasize decorum after the disruption of the Donald Trump years.
The Secret Service, which guards the White House, says the drug was found in a heavily trafficked area used by visitors. It was reportedly a small quantity found in a locker where cellphones and other belongings are left during visits.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters that although the discovery was made near the White House's highly restricted Situation Room, the facility has not been in use "for months because it is currently under construction."
"So the only people coming and going out of the Sit Room in this period have been workers."
Sullivan reiterated that White House staff are subject to "rigorous drug testing policies."
Because Biden's son Hunter Biden has a long, well-documented history of drug addiction, right-wing US media have led a barrage of reporting suggesting he might be linked to the cocaine.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre snapped at a reporter Friday who asked whether the cocaine belonged to anyone in the Biden family.
"The Biden family were not here," she said, recalling that the president and his family were away at the Camp David retreat for a long weekend when the cocaine was found.
"To ask that question is actually incredibly irresponsible," she said.