Vice President Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.
The source spoke anonymously because no permission had been given to speak publicly about a personnel issue.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Biden was discharged earlier this year after failing a drug test in June 2013. A lawyer and former lobbyist, Biden was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy Reserve in 2013. He applied for a commission in the reserve as a public affairs officer at age 42. Because of his age, Biden needed a waiver to apply. The Journal reported that he needed a second waiver because of a drug-related charge when he was younger, a request that is not unusual.
"It was the honor of my life to serve in the US Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge," Hunter Biden said in a statement. "I respect the Navy's decision. With the love and support of my family, I'm moving forward."
Vice President Biden's office declined to comment.
The Navy declined to confirm that Biden tested positive for cocaine use. Commander Ryan Perry, a Navy spokesman, said in a statement that Biden had been selected for his commission in 2012 and discharged in February 2014.
“Like other junior officers, the details of Ens. Biden’s discharge are not releasable under the Privacy Act," he said.
Hunter Biden was one of seven applicants accepted in 2012 for a direct commission, which allows professionals to join the Navy only by applying and attending a training course. The applicants must complete medical screenings and a security clearance. They are then sent to a 12-day program in Rhode Island that "prepares degreed and often highly experienced professionals to assume Navy Reserve Duty leadership positions in any of a broad range of critical career focus areas," including law and engineering.
"This year, I'm looking forward to standing with our son, Hunter, when he is commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy," Jill Biden said in 2012. "He follows in the footsteps of two of his grandfathers, who have also served in the Navy."
Hunter Biden made news earlier this year when it was announced that he would join the board of Burisma Holdings, Ukraine's largest private gas firm. The announcement came shortly after Russia annexed Crimea, while Vice President Biden was engaged in diplomatic talks with the country. At the time, Vice President Biden's office stressed that his son was a private citizen.
"The vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company," Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for Vice President Biden, said at the time.
Hunter Biden is the younger of the vice president's two sons. His other son, Beau, is the attorney general of Delaware and is running for governor. Beau Biden is a major in the Delaware National Guard.