HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Rogers Under the Microscope, but Not in the Hot Seat

Posted December 3, 2009 at 11:06am

A House panel stepped up scrutiny of the office of the White House social secretary Thursday morning, with Democrats and Republicans questioning why the secretary’s staff didn’t do more to stop a Virginia couple from crashing a White House state dinner.[IMGCAP(1)]During a hearing at the House Homeland Security Committee, ranking member Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he wants to subpoena Social Secretary Desiree Rogers, who declined to come to the hearing. King also said he would support Chairman Bennie Thompson’s (D-Miss.) suggestion to subpoena the party-crashing couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who also shunned the committee hearing. Thompson told reporters before the hearing that he thinks the committee will support issuing subpoenas to compel the couple to testify. The committee on Thursday will begin discussing whether to issue the subpoenas — and to whom.But the criticism of Rogers didn’t come just from Republicans. Democrats, too, questioned whether having a member of her staff stationed with Secret Service agents providing security at the event last week might have prevented the couple from entering without an invitation.Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said she has never attended a White House function where a member of the White House staff wasn’t present at a security checkpoint. “I’ve never seen this happen,— she said. “There’s a lot of responsibility that could be spread out.—The lone witness at the hearing, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan, said it was a shared decision to have only Secret Service agents manning checkpoints. He admitted to the panel that “procedures were not followed— and called the lapse unacceptable. “In our line of work, we cannot afford even one mistake,— he said.Relaxed Night Out. While her Democratic successor was no doubt dealing with Afghanistan strategy and state-dinner gatecrashers, former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino was out having a fun evening. An HOH tipster spotted the Bush aide dining at Barracks Row restaurant Cava on Wednesday evening. Perino, dressed casually in a blue turtleneck and jeans, dined on small plates with three others, our spy reported.Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.Can’t get enough HOH? Get a midday dose of fun and gossip with HOH’s One-Minute Recess, delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here — because everyone deserves more recess.