King tries to slip past White House roadblockBy Tom Brune
December 10, 2009
No one has been more visible on last month's state dinner gate-crashing than Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), and he is proving as tenacious as the wannabe-celebrity couple of Tareq and Michaele Salahi in trying to pierce the protective walls of the White House.
King insists that White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers must talk to Congress about the role she and her office played in the Salahis' security breach. Rogers did not post an aide at the checkpoint to help the Secret Service turn away anyone not on the guest list, unlike past practice, under an arrangement between her office and the Secret Service.
But the White House said no to his invitation to Rogers to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee, where King is the ranking Republican, citing executive privilege and separation of powers. And the Democrats on the committee this week rejected King's bid to subpoena Rogers to force her to appear.
So today, King sent a letter to Rogers asking her to reply to 15 questions by Dec. 23.
He asks about whether there were changes in protocol, why no one from her office was at the gate, whether the Salahis had contacted her office and whether the White House staff took any action after a Washington Post reporter pointed out the night of the dinner the Salahis were there but not on the official guest list.
King said at Wednesday's hearing that his crusade is not personal -- he said he saw and exchanged "cordial" greetings with Rogers at the White House Christmas party for members of Congress last week.
But he also acknowledged that a lot of the lawmakers unexpectedly found themselves waiting longer than usual to get past the checkpoint and into that party, after the White House tightened its security.
"I had a number of colleagues," King said, "who blamed me for the long lines."