White House 'Stonewalling'By Mike McAuliff
NY Daily News
December 2, 2009
The White House says it will not send social secretary Desiree Rogers up to the Hill to testify about how a couple of alleged gate-crashers sashayed into the India state dinner last week uninvited.
And that “is clearly stonewalling,” Rep. Pete King (R-Long Island) told The Mouth.
King, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, wanted Rogers to come explain, either in private or public, why no one from her office was at the White House entrance where Michaele and Tareq Sahali made their now-infamous entrance.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson agreed with King, and invited Rogers to attend.
The Mouth was informed earlier that Rogers would not be coming, and White House mouthpiece Robert Gibbs just made it official.
“I think you know that, based on separation of powers, staff here don’t go to testify in front of Congress,” Gibbs said. “She will not be testifying in front of Congress.”
King did not like that, and Gibbs’ phrasing especially annoyed King, who noted that plenty of White House staffers have testified on the Hill.
“It makes you wonder what they have to hide,” King said.
“This isn’t a matter of executive privilege. This doesn’t have anything to do with advising the President, or foreign policy… This is about working with the Secret Service,” King said.
“This is a serious mistake they are making,” he said. “It poisons the waters.”
“I hope they reconsider before it rises to a confrontational level,” he added.
The Secret Service has taken responsibility for letting the Salahis in, and King believes that the social secretary’s office could have prevented it by being on hand at the gate to double-check the list of invitees.
Gibbs did not explicitly say the White House had fouled up, but he said today that officials had finished a review of the breech, and made sure White House staffers were at entrance gates last night for a holiday party.
“We had staff at the security checkpoint to ensure that if there was any confusion about lists, those would be double-checked with somebody representing the Social Office,” Gibbs said. “That was an assessment made based on something that we believed could have been added, and we’ve made those changes as of last night.”
With Ken Bazinet