White House gatecrashers summoned to Congress

The US Congress is to subpoena the White House gatecrashers to reveal how they got into a state dinner without an invitation.

The US Congress is to subpoena the White House gatecrashers to reveal how they got into a state dinner without an invitation.

The House Homeland Security Committee voted last night to compel the attention-hungry couple to answer questions about the November 24 incident.

But reality TV hopefuls Tareq and Michaele Salahi, from Virginia, have said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions.

Secret Service director Mark Sullivan admitted normal security protocols were not followed on the night off the dinner in honour of the Indian prime minister and three uniformed Secret Service officers were placed on administrative leave.

The House committee authorised subpoenas for the Salahis, but would not accept its top Republican’s proposal to subpoena White House social secretary Desiree Rogers.

“I believe if we’re going to get a full picture of what happened that evening, we have to have Desiree Rogers here,” New York representative Peter King said.

Mr King said he was willing to work with the White House to come up with a way for Ms Rogers to answer questions about the incident.

The Secret Service and the White House social office developed the security plan for the state dinner. But House committee chairman Bennie Thompson has been reluctant to subpoena Ms Rogers – an Obama political appointee – because he maintains the Secret Service is responsible for security.

The Salahis said through their lawyer on Tuesday that the Homeland Security Committee had drawn premature conclusions about the state dinner incident.

They said on national television they received an invitation to the dinner, but copies of emails they cited to support that claim show no such invitation was made.

The Salahis said they were co-operating with the Secret Service’s criminal investigation.

On Monday Tareq Salahi resigned from his position on the Virginia Tourism Authority Board.

Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is investigating a charitable polo event the Salahis sponsor.

In his resignation email to Virginia governor Tim Kaine and president of the tourism group Alisa Bailey, Mr Salahi said “unfortunate negative and tabloid type media” had made him a distraction to the tourism panel.

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