Senate to Hold Off on Crashers Hearing

Posted December 1, 2009 at 10:16am

While its House counterpart plans a Thursday hearing on the matter, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will wait for a Secret Service report before looking into allegations that a Virginia couple crashed last week’s White House state dinner.Panel spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said Tuesday that Homeland Security Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) “will await the Secret Service report on the incident before making any decisions about committee action.— The House Homeland Security panel is pressing ahead, however. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) will preside over a hearing Thursday “on the breakdown in security arrangements— surrounding the Nov. 24 state dinner, in which Tareq and Michaele Salahi attended “without proper White House and Secret Service clearance,— according to a committee release. Thompson has asked that the couple testify, as well as Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.Although the Senate panel is holding off on a similar hearing, committee staff members were briefed by Secret Service representatives Monday, according to a committee aide. In an interview on NBC’s “Today— show Tuesday morning, the Salahis maintained their innocence and said they were invited guests to the state dinner, President Barack Obama’s first.