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House Republicans ask Desiree Rogers to join party-crasher hearing

Updated 12:17 a.m.
By Ed O'Keefe and Scott Butterworth
Republican members of the House Homeland Security committee have invited White House social secretary Desirée Rogers to testify Thursday, a committee aide said Monday night, about how a couple from Northern Virginia slipped into the White House last week for a state dinner, despite not being on the guest list.

Rogers acknowledged to the Associated Press last week that no one from her office was at a security checkpoint Nov. 24 to assist Secret Service agents in determining whether partygoers should be admitted to the mansion. Tareq and Michaele Salahi were waved through the checkpoint and later came face-to-face with President Obama in a receiving line.

Democrats on the House committee announced Monday that they would convene a hearing on the matter, and invited the Salahis and Secret Service director Mark J. Sullivan to testify. Republicans later asked Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) to add Rogers to the witness list, the aide said.

Rogers was responsible for not only the guest list but the party itself. Bloggers have noted that she spent the evening not working behind the scenes but attending as a guest, wearing a high-fashion dress that drew considerable attention.

Newsweek reported Sunday the account of the White House staff member who, until this February, typically had stood at the security checkpoint to clear invitees. Cathy Hargraves said she was essentially demoted by Rogers, telling her, "We don't feel we have a need for that anymore." Hargraves quit four months later.

If she had been on the job last Tuesday night, Hargraves told the newsweekly, the Salahis "would not have made it past the East Gate portico."

Asked about this at Monday's press briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs pointed a finger at the Secret Service. "I assume, in absence of somebody being there, because there are working telephones in the White House, somebody would have checked. ... If somebody was confused about whether or not somebody was on a list at a guard tower on the exterior perimeter of the White House and there was a question, generally, somebody could pick up the phone and ask."

He also said that the Secret Service's review of the incident would not include the White House Social Office, which Rogers oversees. "My understanding is that the Secret Service will look at what the Secret Service did," he said.

The White House declined to comment Monday night on the House committee's invitation of Rogers.

By Ed O'Keefe  |  November 30, 2009; 10:49 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Next: Tareq Salahi: 'We did not crash the White House'


It sounds like the Obama Administration stream-lined government by re-assigning a Bush political appointee to a real job, rather than baby-sitting the Secret Service. How hard is it to check names on a list. They did that, the couple was not on the list and should have stood aside until a phone call was made to check the list.

Maybe Republicans think it's great to have political flunkies on the payroll. The Secret Service didn't do its job. Republicans are Grandstanding because they don't know how to do anything else. Govern?? Government is against their religion!

Posted by: thebobbob | December 2, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Her first responsibility, at State Dinners, is not to look glamorous. It is the safety and security of the first family.

She dropped the ball.

She should submit her resignation "to pursue other interests."

Clearly, she is not a good match for this job.

Posted by: eryanwhite | December 2, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Michelle Obama owes an apology to the nation for rewarding her dumb, lazy, worthless, self-aggrandizing friend, DESIREE ROGERS, with such an important job.

Thank GOD the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, etc., etc., etc., were not harmed by the intruders DESIREE ROGERS was too important to bother with keeping out.

Posted by: LadyOrmond | December 2, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

If Hargraves quote is correct when she said she was essentially demoted by Rogers, then Rogers dropped the ball. What system was in place when there was a problem with an invitation?

Posted by: almelbe | December 1, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Didn't take long for this to become political.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 1, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

This is the buzz on Desiree Rogers: Desiree Rogers, White House social secretary, sets a new standard.
Chicagoan implements Obamas' ideas of "people's house", says Mike Dorning, Washington Bureau for the Chicago Tribune.

I guess that the "people's house" means anyone can get in.

Posted by: gerrypooh | December 1, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Cathy Hargraves said she was essentially demoted by Rogers, telling her, "We don't feel we have a need for that anymore." Hargraves quit four months later."

From the above quote it looks like this was their first mistake in a long list of mistakes made both by Secret Service and the Social Office. Why on earth the social office did NOT continue their protocol of having people familiar with the invitee lists at each access point, is baffling. Ms. Rogers obviously was busy preening to the crowd in her elegant gown. Ugh! This could have turned into a horrible deadly situation - absolutely horrible.

Posted by: nancycrichton | December 1, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This investigation is a test of White House respect for 'the people's house'.
If this is only a gameshow proposal the network should be identified next to their name.

Posted by: RayOne | December 1, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

On the subject of security,If you want to
know who killed JFK order "The men who killed Kennedy" from Netflix it took four
years of investigation to find the answer,
it was not Oswald !

Posted by: thelastestnews | December 1, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

>it is not the responsibility of the white >house social secretary to stand at the door >and check id's.
>Posted by: george32 | December 1, 2009 6:22 >AM | Report abuse

No it is not. But is has always been their responsibility to confirm who should be present at social events - and this is not and was never a Bush thing.

Posted by: geotherm21 | December 1, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

it is not the responsibility of the white house social secretary to stand at the door and check id's. apparently a former bush 50k a yr. flunky who had that job is upset about possibly having to get a real job now and thinks the marines and secret service cannot provide adequate security.

Posted by: george32 | December 1, 2009 6:22 AM | Report abuse

Good for the GOP...

This person came to town for no other reason than "get known," and she was even willing to throw the poor people at the Secret Service under the bus to do it.

She should have stepped up and accepted some level of responsibility, instead of having the Obamas tell Gibbs to trot out there to remind everybody that the honorable people at the Secret Service took full responsibility.

These people are such worthless hacks.

Just like the last crowd.

Posted by: singleseatbiggermeat | December 1, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

You're referencing Michelle Malkin?


Posted by: dadada | December 1, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

URGENT TO: Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, House Homeland Security Committee, members

Please help restore the rule of law and human rights in America by quizzing the Director about his knowledge of this:



* Thousands of Americans, deemed to be "dissidents" or undesirables, targeted by Bush legacy program for debilitating microwave/laser assault, held hostage in their own homes to fed-supported vigilante "community policing" stalking units, equipped with warrantless GPS devices, who vandalize and terrorize as local police look the other way.

* "Directed energy weapons," portable units and a nationwide installation employing cell towers and satellites, induce weakness, exhaustion, mood changes, head and body aches, physical and neurological impairment, strokes, aneurysms, cancer -- and many victims do not realize what is making them sick.

* Regional Homeland Security- administered "fusion centers" reportedly serve as command centers for covert electromagnetic radiation attacks, pervasive surveillance, financial sabotage of those identified as "dissidents," "trouble-makers" or slandered as threats to society.

* Use of microwave weaponry to torture and impair political opponents recently confirmed by deposed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya.

* Pleas for justice, to local police and FBI, go unanswered -- as do demands for a Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigation and congressional hearings.

"These are crimes against humanity and the Constitution, being perpetrated under the cover of national security and 'safe streets' by multiple federal and local agencies and commands -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight, enabled by the naivete of those who think 'it can't happen here.'" -- Victor Livingston, former reporter for WTXF-TV Philadelphia, Phila. Bulletin, N.Y. Daily News, St. Petersburg Times; producer/host, MSG Network Sports Business Report; columnist,

OR (if links are corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 30, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

The extremists are watching, and learning. The person responsible for this breach of security should be arrested.

Posted by: RayOne | November 30, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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