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Biden Administration

BREAKING: White House Closes Cocaine Investigation, Concludes No Suspect ID’d

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The Secret Service ended its investigation into cocaine found in the West Wing of the White House after just 11 days without identifying a suspect, enraging congressional Republicans who demanded answers about how an illegal drug got into one of the most secure buildings in the world.

In a statement Thursday, the protective agency said its probe was “closed due to a lack of physical evidence” after FBI forensic testing on the bag the cocaine was found in failed to turn up fingerprints or sufficient DNA.

“Without physical evidence, the investigation will not be able to single out a person of interest from the hundreds of individuals who passed through the vestibule where the cocaine was discovered,” the Service said.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) stormed out of a briefing offered to lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee moments after it began Thursday morning, calling the conclusion “bogus” and the investigation a “complete failure.”

“They know who goes in the White House. They have facial identification, they have — y’all know you can’t go in there without giving your Social Security number anyway, and to say that it’s just some weekend visitor, that’s bogus,” Burchett said. “Nobody’s buying that at all.”

Other GOP lawmakers who stayed for the briefing confirmed that roughly one gram of cocaine was found July 2 by a Secret Service agent in a storage locker inside the West Wing executive entrance, and that no cameras were in position to capture footage of the culprit. The cocaine was found in one of 182 lockers with the key missing, according to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).

Investigators also told lawmakers they were unable to determine exactly when the cocaine was left in the locker due to the lack of footage. The vestibule is located by the basement entrance to the West Wing, one floor below the Oval Office and steps from the Situation Room.

“They were able to narrow down a list of approximately 500 people that had left a small bag of cocaine,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) told reporters. “My question to them was, have they drug-tested this list of 500 potential suspects that brought an illegal substance, or drug, cocaine, into the White House? Their answer was ‘no’ and that they’re unwilling to do so.”

GOP congressmen did not identify a suspect connected to the cocaine.
GOP congressmen did not identify a suspect connected to the cocaine.

“The real concern here is American citizens every single day go through drug tests as part of their employment for their jobs. This is a common practice,” she added.

President Biden’s staff is subject to routine drug tests, but White House visitors — including those given West Wing tours by invitation only — are not.

Boebert said it would have been “a very unusual thing to drug screen random citizens” and that she had constitutional concerns about taking that investigative step.

“Every time there’s something strange going on with President Biden or his family, or anything regarding his administration or the White House, no one can ever seem to find an answer,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) also told reporters. “This is one of the most secure locations in the world, some of the best law enforcement officers in the world — and they don’t have any answers.”

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) stormed out of a briefing moments after it began, calling the conclusion “bogus.”

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed, telling Fox News the probe was a “farce.”

“You can’t tell me in the White House, with 24/7 surveillance in a cubby hole by a Situation Room that they don’t know who delivered it there,” he said. “We should get an answer to the question. It just seems to me that in America today anything involving Biden Inc. gets treated differently than anything else and that shouldn’t be the case.”

Boebert said she found the status of the investigation “disturbing” because she was one of several lawmakers “who were recently sent a white powdery substance in the mail.”

“There are no security measures in place at the White House to detect a substance, whether it be a Schedule II substance like cocaine that was recently found, marijuana, or even something more potentially dangerous like anthrax,” she said.

“In 2022, twice while going through screening, people were caught with marijuana in their possession,” Boebert added. “So for this being the third time that drugs were found on the White House property during the Biden administration certainly poses a question: What kind of people are we allowing to go onto that premise? And what is their actual purpose there?”

Burchett said that an official announcement concluding the probe will come Friday.
Burchett said that an official announcement concluding the probe will come Friday.

The briefing took place in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in the Capitol building because the Secret Service was sharing confidential White House security details with committee members

The executive mansion was briefly evacuated after the cocaine was found. An initial test came back positive for the drug, and further testing by the FBI confirmed it was cocaine.

President Biden was not at the White House at the time the substance was found. He had departed for Camp David two days earlier with members of his family, including son Hunter Biden — who has acknowledged a past crack cocaine addiction and is due to enter a guilty plea on tax and firearm charges later this month.

“Washington, DC, is a trash can,” Burchett said. “Everybody wants to pick and choose. They may need to turn it upside down, put the dadgum garden hose to it, and clean it out.”

Biden Administration

Biden Admin is Using Fraudulent Climate Dataset in Push For Green Agenda, According to Government Watchdog

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A government watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Biden administration over its use of a dataset frequently used to push its climate agenda.

Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) filed the complaint with the Commerce Department over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Billions Project” dataset, which purports to keep track of natural [and climate] disasters that have caused at least $1 billion in damages going back to 1980. The billion-dollar disasters (BDD) data — cited frequently by the Biden administration to insinuate that climate change is intensifying and justify sweeping green policies — is based on opaque data derived from questionable accounting practices, PPT alleges in the complaint.

“American families and businesses continue to struggle with persistently high inflation, which many attribute in large part to the energy policies and government spending of the current administration. The idea that blatant violations of scientific integrity could be underlying the rationale for these policies should concern every American,” Michael Chamberlain, PPT’s director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated incident. The Biden Administration came into office pledging that its decision making would be grounded in the highest-quality science, but all too often has failed to live up to those promises.”

The complaint was filed with the Commerce Department, as NOAA operates under its auspices, Chamberlain told the DCNF.

PPT’s complaint alleges that NOAA does not adequately disclose its sources and methods for compiling the BDD dataset, adds and removes BDD events from the dataset without providing its rationale for doing so and produces cost estimates that are sometimes significantly different than those generated by more conventional accounting procedures.

While NOAA states that it develops its BDD data from more than a dozen sources, the agency does not disclose those sources for specific events or show how it calculates loss estimates from those sources, PPT’s complaint alleges.

The complaint further alleges that NOAA’s accounting methods are opaque and “produce suspect results.”

For example, when Hurricane Id alia took aim at Florida in 2023, NOAA initially projected that the storm would cause about $2.5 billion worth of damages before insured losses ultimately came in at about $310 million, according to PPT’s complaint, which cites the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

 for that figure. Nevertheless, NOAA subsequently marked up its estimate for how much damage the storm caused to $3.5 billion, a discrepancy for which NOAA provided no explanation, PPT alleges in its complaint.

NOAA researchers have disclosed in the past that the agency considers factors such as functions pertaining to livestock feeding costs — in addition to more conventional types of damages — in their cost calculations.

Further, the complaint alleges that BDD events are quietly added and removed from the dataset without explanation, citing Roger Pielke Jr., a former academic who believes climate change to be a real threat but opposes politicized science. In a forthcoming paper analyzing the merits of BDD statistics, Pielke compared the dataset in late 2022 to the dataset in the middle of 2023 and found that ten new BDD events were added to the list and 3 were subtracted without explanation.

Apart from the issues with methodology alleged by PPT in its complaint, the use of BDD events as a proxy for climate change’s intensity is inherently misleading because economic data does not reflect changes in meteorological conditions, as Pielke has previously explained to the DCNF.

For example, increasing concentrations of assets, especially in coastal areas, can confound the usefulness of BDD events as an indicator for the intensity of climate change, as Energy and Environment Legal Institute Senior Policy Fellow Steve Milloy has previously explained to the DCNF. Hypothetically, the same exact hurricane could hit the same exact place, decades apart, with vastly different damage totals; this would be the case because there are simply more assets sitting in the way of the storm, not because the storm was any more violent due to worsening climate change.

NOAA has acknowledged this limitation of the dataset in prior communications with the DCNF.

Additionally, NOAA will add disasters to the list retrospectively because it adjusts for inflation, meaning that a hurricane that caused $800 million in damages in 1980 dollars would be added to the list because the damages exceed $1 billion when adjusted for inflation, for example.

The Biden administration has frequently cited the BDD dataset to substantiate its massive climate agenda.

For example, Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk cited the dataset in written testimony submitted to lawmakers in February explaining the White House’s decision to pause new approvals for liquefied natural gas export terminals.

The BDD statistics are also referenced Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), the Biden administration’s landmark climate report that is intended to provide the most sound scientific basis for lawmakers and officials to craft climate policy.

NOAA asserted that the increasing frequency of BDD events is a sign of intensifying climate change in a January press release and blog post summarizing 2023, and then defended the use of the dataset in subsequent communications with the DCNF.

“Sensational climate claims made without proper scientific basis and spread by government officials threaten the public’s trust in its scientific officials and undermines the government’s mission of stewarding the environment,” PPT’s complaint states. “It also poses the danger of policymakers basing consequential government policy on unscientific claims unsupported by evidence.”

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Biden Administration

U.S. Military Has Started Recalling Retirees Due to Recruiting Crisis

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The U.S. Army Publishing Directorate released the ALARACT 017/2024, titled, “Utilization of the Army Retiree Recall Program.”

The document cites Executive Order 13223 from the Bush administration in 2001.

A retiree recall is a “retired Soldier who is ordered to active duty (AD) from the Retired Reserve or the retired list under 10 USC 688/688a, 12301(a), or 12301(d). Per AR 601-10, Recalled retiree Soldiers must be aligned to a valid vacant AC requirement that matches the grade and skill of the retiree before he or she may be recalled to AD,” according to the document. “The retiree population will be utilized as a last resort to fill Active Component vacant requirements.”

The ALARACT 017/2024 comes as the U.S. military is experiencing a recruitment crisis.

The U.S. Army recently announced that it is cutting thousands of positions. Authorized troop levels will now be an estimated 470,000 by fiscal year 2029, down 24,000 from its 494,000 soldiers.

“While making these investments and adding formations, the Army must also reduce force structure to protect readiness in light of decreased end strength. The Army is currently significantly over-structured, meaning there are not enough soldiers to fill out existing units and organizations. Army leaders seek to have at least 470,000 soldiers in the Active Component by FY29, which is nearly 20,000 above the current end strength but a reduction of about 24,000 authorizations compared to currently planned force structure,” the report

 states.

It added that the Army is “undertaking a similarly important transformation of its recruiting enterprise so that it can man units sufficiently, continue to bring the right types and amounts of new talent into the Army, and rebuild its overall end strength.” Noting the ongoing recruitment failure within the U.S. military, the document noted, “The Army must solve its recruiting challenges to successfully transform for the future.”

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Trucker Claims he was Forced at Gunpoint to Transport Illegal Immigrants

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A truck driver in Texas who was arrested for smuggling migrants claims that he was forced to transfer them at gunpoint.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has highlighted smuggling and drug activities linked to illegal immigration as reasons for deploying Texas National Guard personnel and Texas Department of Public Safety officers to address the surge in migrant encounters at the US-Mexico border, which reached a record 2.4 million during the 2023 fiscal year, marking a substantial increase from the previous year.

Senate Bill 4 includes a provision allowing Texas to enforce its own immigration regulations, distinct from federal oversight. This provision proposes increasing the minimum sentence for convicted migrant smugglers or individuals operating stash houses from two to ten years.

The truck driver in question, Luis Enrique Lara from Laredo, was apprehended at a highway checkpoint on March 24 and charged with various offenses related to transporting migrants, as per an affidavit from the Laredo Morning Times. The affidavit indicates that during a checkpoint s top, law enforcement’s K-9 unit signaled potential contraband in Lara’s trailer. Subsequently, officers found three migrants hidden under pillows, contrary to Lara’s assertion that he was unaware of their presence.

Lara explained to authorities that he was coerced by an individual named “Luis” at gunpoint about a month before his arrest at a gas station in Katy. This person allegedly instructed Lara to transport migrants to San Antonio, leading to the events that culminated in his detention.

Concerns about human and drug trafficking across the southern border have been raised by various political figures and officials, including former US Ambassador to the UN and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who expressed worries about criminal exploitation of border vulnerabilities.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has also testified about the potential for terrorists using fake IDs to enter the country undetected, emphasizing the challenges faced by federal agencies in monitoring illegal immigration flows.

Governor Abbott, while facing criticism from some religious leaders regarding the portrayal of migrants, has urged legislative action to address illegal border crossings. The political landscape suggests differing approaches depending on election outcomes, with potential shifts in immigration policies based on who holds office.

SOURCE: LAREDO MORNING TIMES

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