Salahis Decline Invitation to Testify, May Be Subpoenaed
Tareq Salahi, Michaele Salahi
White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi might be subpoenaed to testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security on Thursday after they declined the invitation to explain their actions before the panel, The Associated Press reports.
The Salahis said in a statement that they have fully cooperated with lawmakers in their probe into the security breach at last week's state dinner and "therefore respectfully decline to testify."
Salahis: We didn't crash the White House dinner
"The Salahis believe that, having provided all relevant information ... there is nothing further that they can do to assist Congress in its inquiry regarding White House protocol and certain security procedures," the statement read.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee chairman, said in a statement the panel is "prepared to move forward with subpoenas" should the Salahis not show. "The Salahis' testimony is important to explain how a couple circumvented layers of security at the White House on the evening of a state dinner without causing alarm," he said.
Secret Service apologizes for breach by White House party crashers
The Salahis said on Tuesday's Today show that they have submitted documentation that would "completely" exonerate them. However, on Wednesday, copies of the e-mail correspondence between the couple and Pentagon official Michele Jones show the Salahis never received an invitation to the event and that they showed up "in case it got approved since we didn't know, and our name was indeed on the list!" In a later e-mail to Jones, the couple blamed a dead cell phone for missing Jones' message that said they did not make the guest list.
White House party crashers blame dead cell phone
Jones said the information the Salahis provided show they did not break any laws and that White House security "was either deficient or mismanaged." "There were honest misunderstandings and mistakes made by all parties involved," she said.
The White House took some responsibility for the mix-up in a memo issued to staffers on Wednesday by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina.
"After reviewing our actions, it is clear that the White House did not do everything we could have done to assist the United States Secret Service in ensuring that only invited guests enter the complex," he wrote.