Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: White House takes a lonely road to openness on Crasher-gate

December 3, 2009

President Barack Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, feels the White House doesn’t need Congress to help it maintain openness on the Crasher-gate scandal. That’s why it’s chosen to eschew the limelight of a Capitol Hill hearing today. USA/

“We think we’ve really answered the questions fully,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America, while making the TV rounds to defend a White House decision not to send its social secretary to explain how a Virginia couple got into last week’s state dinner without an invitation.

“Having a full review up on the (White House) Web site, where everyone in the country — anyone who goes on our Web site — can read it, is the definition of transparency.”

By “full review,” she meant a one-page memo outlining new White House staff procedures intended to prevent any future pair of gate-crashers like Michaele Salahi and husband Tareq from getting through the security cordon.

Jarrett’s is an interesting assertion. Obama has made a point to enhance public access to the government after eight years of unprecedented official secrecy under George W. Bush and his powerful veep, Dick Cheney.

The crux of the matter seems to be that not everyone agrees Crasher-gate is so important.
USA/
The House Homeland Security Committee, which is hosting today’s hearing, thinks it a big enough deal. The Salahis weren’t an al Qaeda hit squad armed with poison lipstick or .50 caliber ink pens. They might have been, however, so why shouldn’t Congress hear from everybody?

But Jarrett says having U.S. Secret Service chief Mark Sullivan testify should be enough. It is the Secret Service, after all, that’s responsible for White House security. And once the agency completes its own investigation, those findings will get posted on the Web, too.

As for social secretary Desiree Rogers, Jarrett says White House staff appear before Congress only when it’s really, really important. How else would staff keep their conversations with the president confidential.
INDIA-USA/
“We don’t think that this rises to that level,” Jarrett said on NBC’s Today show as the White House prepared to host a day-long jobs summit.

“Now let’s turn and focus on what I think the American people are really interested in, and that’s how to bring down the unemployment rate.”

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo Credits: Reuters/Jason Reed (jarrett); STR News/Reuters (the Salahis); Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Rogers)

Comments
7 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Smells of cover-up to me. What arrogance!

Posted by Al | Report as abusive
 

jarret is a currupt and complete imbecile !!

Posted by eman | Report as abusive
 

Desiree Rogers, from Chicago, is a long time member of the Obama machine. She is such a high ranking and well respected member of the royal family she didn’t attend the gala affair as an employee. Instead of doing her job she concidered herself as one of the guests and sat herself at one of the tables. That’s why the White House is protecting her from testifing before Congress. In Chicago you protect your own. So much for protocal.

Posted by Glenn | Report as abusive
 

This is getting to be a bad habit for this administration. I thought the Bush Administration was secretive, but protecting a social secretary? Next, their dog will be under executive privilege. It is absurd. So much for the openness of this administration. I thought they would be different.

Posted by neoavatara | Report as abusive
 

This is getting to be a bad habit for this administration. I thought the Bush Administration was secretive, but protecting a social secretary? Next, their dog will be under executive privilege. It is absurd. So much for the openness of this administration. I thought they would be different.

http://neoavatara.com/blog/?p=9030

Posted by neoavatara | Report as abusive
 

If the administration cannot be honest about a White House security blunder, then we know the truth will not be forthcoming about progress and developments on the war, economy, health care and the climate.

Perhaps instead of covering up or hanging people out to dry for incompetence, Presidents and other government officials should hire qualified people instead of appointing political cronies?

Posted by eddieblack | Report as abusive
 

How does the couple slipping into the Whitehouse, uninvited, compare to the war,
economy, health care, and the climate. He has already admitted it was a security blunder, and has been open about ALL of it!! The decision was not to try to jail them and why!! How much more “open” can you get for God’s sake?!!!

Posted by liberated | Report as abusive
 

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