November 30th, 2009
08:32 PM ET
5 years ago

Congress calls for party crashers to testify

Congress calls for party crashers to testify.
Congress calls for party crashers to testify.

Washington (CNN) - The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee called Monday for the couple who crashed President Obama's state dinner last week and the head of Secret Service to testify at a Thursday hearing on the security breakdown at the White House event.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, announced that he wants to hear Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, explain how the couple was able to get inside the White House and shake hands with President Obama without being on the guest list.

"This is a time for answers, recognition of security deficiencies past and present, and remedies to ensure the strength of the Secret Service and the safety of those under its protection," Thompson said in a statement. "This is not the time for political games or scapegoating to distract our attention from the careful oversight we must apply to the Secret Service and its mission. My confidence in the management of the Secret Service hangs in the balance." He called the incident a "slap in the face" to other Secret Service employees.

Internal investigations have indicated that the Secret Service didn't follow protocol at at least one security checkpoint.


Filed under: Congress • Extra • Homeland Security • Popular Posts • White House
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Kate in San Diego

    The crashers should get a prize for cleverness. Heads need to roll at the secret service. I loved this story!

    November 30, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Democrat in MD (CNN please post. Thank you!)

    Amen! Bring them in & let's find out what happened & FIX IT...NOW! I don't want my President's safety compromised!

    November 30, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Impromptu

    Maybe congress will give them each a bonus.No wonder they think they can sell their story. They are celebrities. That would not be the case in any other country. They lied to law officers and committed treason as a joke - this was deliberate , not some merry mix-up. President Obama looks like a twit and by letting them walk away without any consequences, he lowers the presidential standard and leaves his family unprotected, too. Apology insufficient. This is the president at his first state dinner.How humiliating.

    November 30, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Dave

    There should only be charges filed if they are found to have had some sort of weapon. Othwise, they actually performed a service demonstrating the secret service's incompetence. Sorry, but they are to guard the gate pure and simple and they were foiled by a dumb blond.... sad. There should be no charges filed against the couple because this was not a private party that they crashed but a gathering thrown by one of our employees' ( the president ) using public funds and public reasources. There are guards because it is in our interrest to keep the president and his family safe as a matter of national security thats it.

    November 30, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. TESTIFY?

    I am waiting to hear the news that these people are being indicted on federal charges. This is not a joke. This is deplorable and illegal. I am so sick of reality shows I can scream. That is why so many nutcases are surfacing. I wish for the days when we watched wholesome, good television shows on primetime television. The majority of what I see is a mess. These people should be in jail.

    November 30, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Wow...

    Classic example of Democrat's on security... Anybody else feeling less than safe?

    November 30, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Don

    Rep. Bennie Thompson is just puffing himself up here, at the expense of the Secret Service director. Certainly protection of the President is important. But no one is questioning whether the oversight mission of Congress has broken down. What people want to know is how the Secret Service internal process broke down. We aren't going to learn that in a hearing on Capitol Hill, especially when it is usually the Congressmen doing all the talking when the cameras are running.

    November 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. Henry

    Just watched the Press Conference (Gibbs) today 11/30/09.
    Some important questions on security were asked. While asking Gbbs kept talking over the reporter. One in particular kept getting talked over by Gibbs. She finally got to finish; asking a 'what if question; Supposeing these folks,who shook hands with the President had had some substance in her hand.Gibbs' response? 'I'm happy to partake in a hypothetical situation.; It seeemed one of the best questions but truly desrespected the Reporter with it.
    Reminds me of the last Administration, always dancing around the question.
    You can't listen with your mouth open

    November 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. not alone

    Arrest them for tresspassing while they are there. If it had been a poor man his but would be setting in jail still.

    November 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Independent

    Congress please don't get in the midst of this.....This is NOT an issue for congress but a Secret Service Problem....It was obvious when they allow TWO shoes to be thrown at Bush....So please don't make a circus of what has already gotten too much media coverage

    November 30, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    This whole ACT by this couple is OUTRAGEOUS!!! What if she had POISON on her – or blood vials with AIDS – or ANYTHING else other than weapons that could be detected in her HANDS!!!

    RIGHT THERE – in that picture with HER HOLDING President Obama's hand could have been LETHAL for our President and I BET this is going to get passed off as SOMETHING INNOCENT – and these CRIMINALS will get away with one of the MOST DEADLY breaches of security of all time!!!

    They should be put in JAIL along with the SS who allowed it!!!!

    November 30, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Linda from Minnesota

    This absolutely scares the daylights out of me. How can this happen? This president receives more threats than any other and yet this happens? You would think security would be so tight, no one could get close. Hopefully a lesson learned and security will be looked at and changes made.

    November 30, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. JFI

    I would like to know why these people have not been arrested and prosecuted and the secrect service staff responsible for that checkpoint have not been fired. I can't believe the govenement continues to allow such activity with no appropriate responses.

    November 30, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Enough

    The White house should be thanking these people for exposing the security breach. Congress should have nothing to do with this.

    November 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    They should state why they did it and how they prepped for it. The secret service needs to better screen people and demand invatation and to have everyone wait until the names are reviewed before letting someone into a party like that.

    November 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. C from middle GA

    Arrest them for trespass. You can ask questions of them then without providing more spotlight for a couple of socialite/TV start wannabes. Didn't we suffer enough with the endless coverage balloon boy and his foolish parents?

    November 30, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. SallySue

    Let's see, this party was paid for by the traxpayers of this country so why shouldn't a couple of taxpayers have the right to show up for dinner or didn't they contribute enough towards the election of NOBAMA!!

    November 30, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Marie MD

    Is Congress going to pay them? They are asking for thousands of dollars to talk to the media. They should be in jail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 30, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    "Congress calls for party crashers to testify"

    GREAT, another forum for publicity seekers to exploit!
    FINE, but if they have to testify, they should be in Federal prison garb abd handcuffs.
    I understand the desire/need to find out how they did what they did, so that we can prevent future incursions of this sort, but PLEASE don't keep making them and their actions seem glamorous.

    November 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Just Biding My Time

    While I truly loathe Obama for what his party is trying to do to this country, that anger and outrage pales in comparison with what I feel for the two wanna-be social butterflies. Without permission, they got into the White House with the President of the United States. How dare they have such self-rightous feelings of importance? They want five minutes of fame, well, they can have all the fame they want in federal prison.

    November 30, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Bluebonnet

    This is hilarious! Heads will roll because of this inexcusable affair. So much for our security.

    November 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    What? You want questions answered? Let them answer from their jail cell. Why are they not in jail yet? Now we are going to feed the media attention they want by bringing them to Congress? NO put their butts in jail! Do not pass "GO" do not collect any money from this stunt.

    November 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Mike Syracuse, NY

    This is easy to answer. Obviously this Administration provides as much emphasis on security for the White House as it does the rest of the country, which is to say NONE.

    November 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Robin

    I find it hard to believe they were able to get past all of that security without being on a list somewhere.

    It was an inside job. They did not get in on their own.

    Thank God they meant no harm. I dislike Obama's policies and he politics, but I don't want to see anyone hurt.

    November 30, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Diana

    Even though this is serious, (luckily they weren't interested in doing anything more than getting their fifteen minutes), please don't pay anymore attention to these pubicity seekers.

    They're accomplishing what they wanted to do. It's sad that people like these get front page news when people who do courageous things don't even get noticed.

    November 30, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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