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Sara Swann
By Sara Swann July 13, 2023

Don’t believe this altered Associated Press headline about the White House cocaine culprit

If Your Time is short

  • The image in the TikTok video was manipulated. An Associated Press article with this headline does not exist.

  • The investigation into the discovery of cocaine at the White House continues, and the U.S. Secret Service has not publicly announced its findings.

A viral video claims that recent reporting identified the source of the cocaine found at the White House.

A July 9 TikTok showed a screenshot of a headline that gives the appearance of being on The Associated Press website and includes the AP logo. The headline, with incorrect punctuation, reads, "Breaking News - White House camera shows Bidens tiktok influencer harry sisson leaving the bag of cocaine near the situation room in the west wing."

Sisson is a Democratic activist who supports President Joe Biden and has a large social media following.

Above the headline, suggesting Sisson’s presence at the White House, there are two screenshots from TikTok videos Sisson posted about meeting Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House. Sisson’s TikToks were posted in 2022, nearly a year before the cocaine incident occurred.

TikTok identified this video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact's partnership with TikTok.)

On July 2, U.S. Secret Service agents found suspicious powder, which was later tested and identified as cocaine, in the common room near the West Wing. An investigation continues and details about the findings haven’t been publicly released.

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The Associated Press has reported on the discovery of cocaine at the White House, but a search of the AP’s website and social media feeds turned up neither the headline from the TikTok video, nor any recent stories about Sisson.

Lauren Easton, an Associated Press spokesperson, told PolitiFact the headline in the TikTok video is not authentic.

The supposed headline does not match the style of other headlines on the wire service’s website and is riddled with typos.

We rate the claim that The Associated Press reported that Sisson left a bag of cocaine at the White House Pants on Fire!

UPDATE, 4:15p.m. ET: After this story was published, the AP reported that an FBI crime lab analysis found no fingerprints or DNA on the bag of cocaine, and surveillance footage didn’t identify a suspect. The Secret Service has ended its investigation, NBC News reported.


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Don’t believe this altered Associated Press headline about the White House cocaine culprit

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