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Salahi's will face subpoenas if they skip hearing on crashing White House party. White House blocks Desiree Rogers testimony

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WASHINGTON--The Obama White House on Wednesday blocked Social Security Desiree Rogers from testifying today before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on how wannbe reality TV stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi whizzed by Secret Service agents and crashed the Nov. 24 state dinner.

The Salahi's also may not appear at the hearing; chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said he may subpoena the couple if they do not show up.


WASHINGTON -- The Obama White House on Wednesday blocked social secretary Desiree Rogers from testifying today before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on how wannabe reality TV stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi whizzed by Secret Service agents and crashed the Nov. 24 state dinner.

Rogers, the Salahis and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan were invited to testify. Sullivan accepted. The Salahis sent their lawyer to meet with committee staff on Wednesday; later in the day the panel was told they may not show up. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement that the "committee is prepared to move forward with subpoenas to compel their appearance."

Tareq and Michaele Salahi are interviewed on the "Today" show. The couple that got into the White House state dinner for the visiting Indian prime minister without invitations denied Tuesday that they were gatecrashers.


Gibbs was asked at the Wednesday briefing if Rogers was going to go to testify at the hearing.

"I think you know that, based on separation of powers, staff here don't go to testify in front of Congress. She won't -- she will not be testifying in front of Congress," he said.

Other presidents have also blocked White House staffers from appearing as witnesses at congressional hearings, the most notable being Karl Rove, former President Bush's top adviser.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the panel, had requested Rogers' testimony. He told me Wednesday he did not buy the separation of powers argument and that the White House not letting Rogers appear before his committee was "obvious stonewalling. . . . Why provoke a needless confrontation?"

King said he met with the Salahis' lawyer who, in their meeting, "laid out what their story was."

Meanwhile, just as the White House holiday party season is kicking off this week -- 50,000 guests expected in December -- and in the wake of the security breach, White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina announced new guidelines for making sure only invited guests enter the White House.

The Secret Service took the blame for letting the Salahis past checkpoints even though their names were not on the guest lists. The agents didn't even call anyone from Rogers' office to determine if the Salahis should be admitted. Rogers did have staff circulating outside the East Wing entrance, just not at the door with a clipboard.

below, releases....

Statement from Chairman Bennie G. Thompson

December 2, 2009 (WASHINGTON) - The following statement was released by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security regarding the Committee's hearing tomorrow:

"Late this evening, I was informed by the Salahis' counsel, that their clients, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, may not appear before the Committee tomorrow as requested. The Salahis' testimony is important to explain how a couple circumvented layers of security at the White House on the evening of a State Dinner without causing alarm.

The Committee on Homeland Security must understand the full scope of what went so terribly wrong on Tuesday night to ensure that security gaps are sealed. This can only be achieved by hearing both sides of the matter.

If the Salahis are absent from tomorrow's hearing, the Committee is prepared to move forward with subpoenas to compel their appearance."

# # #
From Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the ranking Republican on the committee....

In light of the statement from the Salihis that they will not testify and
Chairman Thompson's statement referencing subpoenas, Mr. King made the following
statement:

"Obviously the Salahis' testimony would be significant, and the Committee
should do whatever is necessary to obtain it. It is far more important, though,
to obtain the testimony of White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. The
White House should not be allowed to stonewall by refusing the Committee's
request that Ms. Rogers testify. What is the White House trying to hide?"

6 Comments

We have congressional hearings over a couple of party crashers, while we're preparing to send thirty thousand more troops to Afghanistan. Our economy is in the toilet. The Health care bill is a joke, with the Dems. unwilling to compromise. Global warming scientists have lost a lot of credibility, thereby throwing the Cap and Trade Bill into question. Nope, we're worried about a couple of ne'er do wells and Tiger Woods' love life. What a joke our government is!

THESE PEOPLE WANT CRASH ANYMORE PARTIES!
THEY STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DID WAS WRONG, BUT A LITTLE TIME IN THE POKEY AND THEY WILL BE FINE, WHY DIDN'T THEY DO THIS WHEN BUSH AND CHENEY WERE IN OFFICE?
THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO REALIZE IF YOU DIDN'T RECEIVE AN INVITATION, YOU WEREN'T INVITED, FORGET YOUR WAY OF THINKING THAT YOU CALLED SOMEONE AND YOU WENT ANYWAY, AND YOU TOOK PICTURES, YOU BROKE SOME LAWS, AND NOW YOU WILL PAY FOR YOUR STUPIDITY, SEE YOU IN FIVE YEARS!

THEY BETTER WEAR BOOTS, IT IS GOING TO BE VERY DEEP WHEN THEY TESTIFY, THEY ARE GOING TO WISH THEY HAD NEVER DONE THIS STUNT, AND YOU CAN BELIEVE THEIR REALITY SHOW DAYS ARE OVER!

I'm pretty certain that if a femail security agent had been at the entrance where the Salihis' entered, there would have been much better scrutiny.

It's obvious to me that Mrs. Salihi charmed the sense out of the security GUYS and now they're having to pick their tongues off the floor and zip up their pants.

SHE should apply to being a spy. She'd be good at it!

throw these people in jail 4 some short amount of time, just to wipe the smile off their faces, and to make an example of them. u cant have party-crashers around the prez n his family. also lynn way to protect ur friends from chicago, no heat on desiree rogers. not her fault u claim, citing the secret service. of course the secret service is gonna say its their fault, they would look even worse if they tried to scatter the blame. u r becoming the 1st lady's media tool.

This crime is so obvious with intent and premeditation by the Salahis in a time of terrorism and an Arab name too boot that has been treated with tippy toes. How many bimbos have been set up by an Arab terrorist? This is not a joke but a crime and look how the media is making money while the dollars spent on what was to be a lavish State Dinner has become a joke. Respect? What about the bimbo of the Manson's Case who is in jail for life for pulling out a gun without bullets? Too bad she didn't just say she belonged to a Reality Show! How many crimes were committed here and if there is no justice for this crime it will make America look like total idiots from the President who no doubt could be dead, on down. This is not a prank, this is a crime and should be dealt with accordingly and here's hoping they throw the book at these sociopathic, narcisstic, criminal people.....unless proven innocent and that is very unlikely.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 2, 2009 10:35 PM.

White House internal review of party crashers: "Did not do everything we could have done" Memo. was the previous entry in this blog.

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