Tales from the Trail

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?

USA/OBAMAThere 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. JAPAN/

White House defends social secretary in gate-crasher flap, couple declines to testify

INDIA-USA/White House spokesman Robert Gibbs today defended the White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers, in the controversy surrounding how a Virginia couple managed to wangle their way into President Barack Obama’s state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week.

It has been noted in news accounts that no one from the social secretary’s office was at the gate helping the Secret Service identify guests and making sure people not on the list did not get inside.

Gibbs noted that for the crush of holiday parties that have just begun at the White House, procedures have been changed to ensure someone from the social office is at the gate.