By Doug Heye, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
If there's one recent story I've taken no interest in, it's been the saga of Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the couple that crashed the White House state dinner for the Primer Minister of India. They're on minute 12 of their 15 minutes of fame and, frankly, I don't want to reset the clock in their favor or subject anyone to more noise about the biggest non-issue to hit the White House since President Barack Obama's golfing partners became a national issue.
Obviously Congress was going to investigate the incident. Tactless social climbing aside, that a couple could get that close to the President and Vice President—without an invitation—is troubling. What has the White House's reaction been? To stonewall, protect their own people, find the nearest bus and throw the United States Secret Service under it.
Despite Obama's repeated claims of transparency, the White House is not allowing their own personnel to testify at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee (Tiger Woods has been more forthcoming than the Obama White House), instead throwing Mark Sullivan, head of the Secret Service, to the wolves of Congress—not to mention the cameras.
Following the hearing, on the same day Obama held a "jobs summit," three employees of the Secret Service's uniformed officer division have been put on administrative leave. It is widely expected that the public servants will be fired.
The Secret Service did their job. They ensured they everyone was safe to enter and that the President and Vice President were not put at risk. The Secret Service is not there to be glorified bouncers, making a list of attendees and checking it twice. That's the job of the host organization—in this case, the White House.
Perhaps no one explained the issue better than Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez (she of awesome Christmas cards): "It's always been my experience that the White House—either social or legislative division, in the case of when Congress people are coming—are always at the front gate. I mean, come on, even Wal-Mart has a greeter." (Clearly something has gone wrong when a Congressional Democrat cites Wal-Mart as a positive example.)
Heck, anyone who has ever seen an episode of The Love Boat knows you're not getting on the Lido Deck—much less a seat at Captain Stubing's table—unless Julie, Doc, Gopher or Isaac has assigned you a cabin!
"I could not have more confidence in the Secret Service," President Obama has stated. Perhaps he could put that confidence in action by reinstating the Secret Service officers put on the chopping block to save the White House any further loss of political face.