Washington chatter: who loses job over security scares?
It’s the question ricocheting around Washington: which official gets to step down for family reasons or to pursue other opportunities after recent security scares?
There was White House crasher-gate — the Salahis who sashayed into President Barack Obama’s first formal state dinner bedecked in red sari and tuxedo but missing one key item — an invitation.
Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan fell on his sword before Congress and shouldered the blame. White House social secretary Desiree Rogers was shielded from a public appearance on Capitol Hill by the White House.
Both are still in their jobs and not seeing any smoke signals about change.
There was certainly smoke on Christmas Day when a Nigerian passenger tried to bring down a Detroit-bound airplane by igniting an explosive substance in his underwear. And now the maze of intelligence agencies is trying to explain to the president why the suspect wasn’t on the terrorism no-fly list when his own father tried to warn the U.S. Embassy of his son’s radicalism.
In a “not connecting the dots” problem it is usually difficult to lay blame at any single agency’s feet because bits and pieces of information were floating in various hands and were not joined together to provide a clearer picture.
So will there be a shake-up after the reports are in? The White House line at the moment is that the president has full confidence in the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA Director, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Question at White House press briefing: “And there’s been no sounding out of people outside the administration to wait in the wings for a possible shakeup?”
Answer from White House spokesman Robert Gibbs: “No.”
Traditionally when there is a big brouhaha (reminder it’s an election year) someone usually decides to step down for family reasons or to pursue other opportunities several months after the fact.
Sally Quinn, in a column in The Washington Post titled “time for accountability at the White House,” says if the President’s People don’t take the fall, then he ends up bearing the brunt of public blame.
Would it politically benefit/hurt/have no impact on Obama if one of the officials bowed out? Who should it be?
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Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Obama at White House in late December), Reuters/Yuriko Nakao (artist illumination polka-dot pattern on pavement in Yokohama in 2007)