House Homeland Security Committee asks Salahis to testify Thurs.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
The next stop for the White House gatecrashers may be Congress, not cashing in.
House Committee on Homeland Security chair Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) on Monday announced plans to hold a hearing on the White House security breach that allowed Tareq and Michaele Salahi to gain entry to the White House state dinner last week.The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, December 3, at 10 a.m.
"The Committee plans to invite testimony from Mr. and Mrs. Salahi, who managed to attend portions of the State Dinner without proper White House and Secret Service clearance, and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, who is responsible for the safety of Secret Service protectees and the plans his agency develops and implements to secure them," a statement from the committee said.
The Salahis are not yet confirmed as attendees at the hearing and already have canceled a scheduled appearance on "Larry King Live" as they seek to sell their story to the highest bidder. But refusing to show up at a congressional hearing on the subject of their caper, even if they do not yet have a tell-all deal in hand, would likely be perceived as the height of insolence and diva-like behavior even for aspiring reality television stars.
The committee has not had to subpoena a witness in its seven-year history, a Homeland Security spokeswoman said, though she did not rule out the possibility the panel would use one should the couple decline to appear.
"This is a time for answers, recognition of security deficiencies past and present, and remedies to ensure the strength of the Secret Service and the safety of those under its protection," said Thompson in the statement.
Thompson is not the only lawmaker requesting information from the Secret Service. Over the weekend, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested a briefing from Secret Service officials about the security breach, but he currently has no plans to hold a hearing.
November 30, 2009; 11:50 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Washington Life
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