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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.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  November 30, 2009; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Washington Life  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Huckabee commuted sentence of suspect in Washington police slayings
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Sound's like bad communication. Why was this White House Official e-mailing the Salahi's about going. That is a huge mixed signal. No one could crash the White House.

Posted by: kirk11 | December 1, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

URGENT TO: Rep. Bennie Thompson, House Homeland Security Committee (staff, pls. fwd.)

Please help restore the rule of law and human rights in America by quizzing the Director about his agency's involvement in this:


== Did this covert torture matrix target, help incite Fort Hood shooter? ==

• Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan
• FEMA Director Craig Fugate
• NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander
• Former JSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal
• DIA Director Maj. Gen. Michael Maples
• DOJ Asst. Atty. Gen./National Security David Kris
• CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappes
• FBI Director Robert Mueller

TEAM OBAMA, CONGRESS MUST ASK: What do they know -- and when did they know it? OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 30, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Scum Bag Millionaires are gonna be talking for a lot less than 500K!

Posted by: palmtree2001 | November 30, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not the two publicity seekers are a couple of buffoons trying to financially exploit their situation is not the issue. What they did is known by everybody. While would be impossible to hermetically seal the President from all physical contact, genuine concerns include the hypothetical possibility that by grasping the President's hands without prior clearance and supervision, the lady could have pricked him from a ring laced with a deadly poison.

The issue that must be thoroughly explored is whether in the funding and operation of the "Secret Service" American taxpayers have been getting what they are paying for. Congressional review in detail of the intellectual and psychological qualifications for "Secret Service" jobs, how they are hired and promoted, and how they are supervised and perform with respect to the public at all times is plainly in order.

Posted by: reformthesystem | November 30, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, what does this do with our daily lives, while jobs are lost, paychecks shrink, and the media gives us bread and circuses?

Posted by: bs2004 | November 30, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't care about the party crashers, how many secret service agents have been transferred to Amarillo and other exciting posts to track down counterfeits?

Posted by: caribis | November 30, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The Salahi's do not appear to be the brightest, but I cannot imagine them trying to lie under oath.
I can easily imagine them lying under oath. They've already lied to any number of people, ranging from her hairdresser to apparently the Secret Service itself. And who knows what they told the people they mingled with at the reception, none of whom seem to be talking to the media? Who did they tell the President they were when they were shaking hands with him?

This incident could spawn a whole new genre of reality shows, based on who can tell the most outrageous lies to law enforcement and seem to get away with it for a while (see Balloon Boy's parents.)

Posted by: swmuva | November 30, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Now it gets interesting...dodging the USSS is one thing, but failure to appear before a Congressional hearing is something different, especially if they opt to ignore a subpoena. The Salahi's do not appear to be the brightest, but I cannot imagine them trying to lie under oath.

Posted by: Ebola_22039 | November 30, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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