Secret Service director, state dinner crashers to testify before Congress

The White House state dinner crashers and the director of the Secret Service are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill this week.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan and Tareq and Michaele Salahi will appear Thursday before the House Homeland Security Committee, its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), announced Monday.

“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. “My confidence in the management of the Secret Service hangs in the balance.”

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The hearing comes in response to a bevy of lawmakers' demands over the past week that Congress probe the apparent security lapse, which allowed the Salahis, who reportedly aspire to become reality television stars, into the high-profile dinner despite lacking invitations.

The Secret Service's performance has come under scrutiny in the wake of the breach, and the Homeland Security Committee maintains jurisdiction over the presidential protective forces.


The chairman warned against "political games or scapegoating" in the investigation but said the breach represented a slap in the face of the Secret Service.

“The intent of this administration may be openness and transparency, but a security breakdown that allowed anyone who looked the part to walk off the street into a state dinner is a slap in the face to the Secret Service employees who put their lives on the line to protect our form of government and its leaders," Thompson said.