The White House disclosed Wednesday that nine employees currently are in a special drug-testing program, while the Secret Service said as many as 40 workers had used cocaine, crack and hallucinogens in recent years.
White House spokesman Mike McCurry - noting he himself had smoked marijuana occasionally “while a kid in the 1970s” - said President Clinton “was aware of the fact that there were people who had used drugs in their past.”
But he said Clinton has insisted on a “zero-tolerance” program for anyone in sensitive jobs. “Not one of these people has flunked one of these tests,” McCurry said. None of the nine currently in the program hold top-level positions, he said.
The administration set up the program for 21 workers in 1994 to pacify the Secret Service, which raised security concerns about giving them access passes after they had admitted using drugs within five years before coming to the White House.
It was unclear if the 12 no longer in the program are still at the White House.
McCurry said Clinton’s efforts to make the White House drug-free go “well beyond Congress or just about any workplace I’m aware of.”
But the revelations are likely to become campaign fodder for Republicans. Sen. John Warner, R-Va., called the situation “awful and unbelievable.”
Wednesday’s White House admissions were sparked by a House oversight hearing investigating the Clinton administration’s improper accumulation of hundreds of FBI background files on Republicans.
Secret Service agents told the House panel that dozens of White House workers had admitted drug histories.
“I would say more than 30, more than 40 perhaps, had drug usage,” said agent Jeffrey Undercoffer. “I have seen cocaine usage. I have seen hallucinogenic usage, crack usage.”
Agent Arnold Cole said that Craig Livingstone was named head of the administration’s personnel security office despite previous drug use.
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