Thursday, December 3, 2009

Valerie Jarrett Speaks Out on Crashergate: Rep. Peter King Seeks Subpoenas for Salahis, Desiree Rogers; Secret Service Agent Placed on Leave!

Kathleen Hennessey and Mark Silva have the story, "Desiree Rogers Subpoena Sought: Presidential Adviser Valerie Jarrett Says Confidentiality an Important Issue":

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With the House Homeland Security Committee holding a hearing today on the breach of White House security that enabled an uninvited Virginia couple access to a State Dinner, the ranking Republican is calling for subpoenas of both the couple and the White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers, who have declined to appear.

Rep. Peter King of New York, the ranking Republican on the committee, said before the hearing that he will support subpoenas compelling the testimony of Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the uninvited couple who greeted the president and other high level officials at the State Dinner held in the honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"I also want to subpoena Desiree Rogers,'' King said, dismissing the White House's invoking of executive privilege and keeping Rogers from appearing before the committee.

"I could accept their argument if this was any policy, but this is involves an administrative act by an appointee of the president,'' King said.

The Republican also acknowledged that he had spoken with Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and does not expect the Salahis or Rogers to appear this week.

Thompson said before the hearing that Congress needs to hear from all three, all of whom have declined to appear. Thompson had said Wednesday night that if the Salahis did not appear the committee was prepared to approve subpoenas to compel their testimony.

"This hearing is not about crashing a party at the White House,'' Thompson said. "Nor is it about wannabe celebrities.'' The purpose, he said, is protecting the president.

"The security gaps at issue cannot be explained away as missteps by a few frontline employees,'' Thompson said. "There were undeniable planning and execution failures of the entire Secret Service apparatus. We're all fortunate that this diplomatic celebration did not become a night of horror. ... We must dissect every fact ... and after we do these things, we need to give thanks that no lives were lost.''

Addressing the committee as the sole witness at today's hearing, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan conceded that "in our judgment, a mistake was made. In our line of work, we cannot afford even one mistake."

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president and close friend of Rogers from Chicago -- "I am,'' she said today -- said in an appearance on MSNBC this morning that the White House also has much bigger issues on its plate -- namely the economy.

The White House has made its own inqury and found, "look, we can do better,'' Jarrett said of the security question. "We need to have people at the gate from the White House working in concert with the Secret Service,'' she said. "We have done our own analysis and review and conclusion that we could have done a better job.''

On withholding Rogers from Capitol Hill, Jarrett said: "We think it's important that the president be able to have confidential conversations with his staff... We have done our review... and the person who is principally responsible for making sure that access to the Whtie House is limited,'' Secret Service Director Sullivan, is testifying today.

More at Memeorandum.

See also, the Politico, "Secret Service Punished in Salahi Case."


gio said...

Valerie Jarrett photos from flickr