The White House is scrambling to answer questions about the contents of a mushroom packing boxes that were reportedly used by President Barack Obama and other presidential hopefuls during his reelection campaign in 2012.
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“As you may know, President Obama and his team of Secret Service agents, National Park Service, and U.S. Marshals spent a week packing a number of packages to help secure the White House in the months before Election Day in 2012,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement to ABC News on Tuesday.
“These packages were never opened, they were never put in the mail and there was no evidence of the contents being tampered with or any evidence that they contained any illegal drugs or other contraband.”
White House spokesman Kevin Lewis confirmed to ABC that a pack containing 1.5 pounds of mushroom powder, a box of dried marigolds, and a box containing an assortment of mushroom flavorings was among the packages delivered to the Whitehouse in January 2012.
Earnest later told ABC News that “the President did not receive any packages.”
“In fact, we have received no packages in the last three weeks, which is very disappointing,” Earnest told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.
The Secret Service has not responded to ABC’s request for comment about the authenticity of the packages.
A former Secret Service agent told ABC that he was working at the White house on January 18, 2012, when he noticed a package delivered to his hotel room containing a mushroom.
He said that the package was delivered to a secure location at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., which was sealed when the package arrived.
He said he and other Secret Service personnel, including a member of the media, were not allowed to inspect the package at the time because of the White Houses security measures.
He added that a security guard from the WhiteHouse security team told him the package contained “potentially explosive” material.
“He said it was all very carefully packaged,” he said.
“It was a very safe package.”
The former agent also told ABC he received a package containing a package of dried mushroom seasoning, which he described as being “too hot for my tastes” to eat.
“We just opened the package and it was full of this powder,” he told ABC.
“I’m pretty sure I just took it off the shelf and put it on the counter and just opened it and threw it away,” he added.
“I didn’t even look at it because I was so focused on getting my bag and my gear and my supplies to get to Washington.”
The Secret Services spokesman told ABC the agency is aware of the reports and would investigate the matter.
The White House said on Monday that the Secret Service had “no knowledge” of the package that contained the powder, and that it is “very confident that all packages of that size have been securely and securely packaged.”
The WhiteHouse released a statement on Tuesday confirming that the packages contained “mushroom powder.”
“We are aware of reports that there is a package with mushroom powder in it,” the statement read.
“We are extremely concerned about the potential for the package to be tampered or to be otherwise compromised and are working closely with our Secret Service and the Secret Services of other U.N. member states to ensure that any packages of this size are not tampered.”
Earnest said on ABC that the WhiteSides security team was not aware of any packages being delivered to Secret Service headquarters in Washington on January 21.
Earnest also told the ABC that White House staff and others were told about the packages by Secret Service officers during the campaign.
“There were two separate Secret Service meetings in the weeks before the election,” he explained.
“There were multiple briefings, multiple phone calls, and we also had multiple discussions with our political advisers.
And, we were also told about it by the Secret Security Division.”
The release of the mushrooms comes after Obama was seen taking a selfie with a mushroom in a video released earlier this week.
The video, which was taken at a White House Christmas party in January 2013, shows Obama wearing a shirt with a picture of a “marmaduke” mushroom on the front, with the text “Marmadukes are a common mushroom and I eat them” written across the top.
The shirt was later taken off by Secret Security, who said they could not locate the mushroom.
The photo, posted on Instagram by an unnamed White House staffer, shows the president with a “potato” mushroom in his hand.
The image was posted the same day that the president posted a selfie on his Instagram account with a green, purple and blue mushroom.
In the selfie, Obama was wearing a red shirt and sunglasses.
Obama is also seen in the same photo wearing a jacket with the slogan “Merry Christmas” written on