From Dana Ritter, CBN News White House Producer:
Unless you're living under a rock, and even then, you have no excuse. Surely you've heard about the so-called "party crashers" who made it into President Obama's first State Dinner November 24th for Indian Prime Minister Singh.
Today, the House Homeland Security Committee is having a hearing about the situation. Mark Sullivan, Director of the Secret Service, was in the hot seat.
Rep. Peter King brought up the point that no one from the White House Social Secretary's office was stationed at the gate where the Salahis entered. He said that's been the way of doing things for the past 17 years. A number of recent reports have said the investigation narrowed in on that fact. The night of the State Dinner, White House staffers were walking back and forth outside between the checkpoints, helping guests, but no one was actually stationed
He threatened to subpoena White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the threat this morning, as he met with reporters. He pointed to the separation of powers, saying there is a long history of White House staff being able to provide advice to the President confidentially. He said there have been rare occasions that they've testified on Capitol Hill (examples: Watergate, 9/11, Whitewater).
Gibbs: "I don't even think Peter King would have the audacity to put the Salahis in the category of Watergate and 9/11."
And, in case you missed it... a bit of an about-face from the White House yesterday. Jim Messina, White House Deputy Chief of Staff sent out a memo to White House Staff yesterday about the review of procedures following the now infamous State Dinner. The memo was posted on the White House blog.
Snippets from the memo:
"The White House did not do everything we could have done to assist the United States Secret Service in ensuring that only invited guests enter the complex."
It went on to say that immediately for all official White House events:
"White House staff will be stationed physically at the check points with the United States Secret Service."
Seems what went down at that gate the night the Salahis got through.. won't be happening again!
Also, worth noting from the memo:
"The President believes that the men and women of the Secret Service put their lives on the line every day to protect him, his family, and many others. He thinks that they do an exceptional job and they have his full confidence."