Secret Service Agents Suspended in Crash-gate Furor

Published December 4, 2009

As expected, somebody was going to pay for the security breach at the White House that allowed two wannabe celebs to stroll into the president’s first state dinner without an invitation.

The U.S. Secret Service, whose primary job is to protect the president of the United States, announced Thursday that it had placed three agents on administrative leave.

"Pure and simple, this was human error" in which normal security protocols were not followed, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told Congress on Thursday. So far, the service's continuing investigation has found three people from the agency's uniformed officer division responsible for the security breach, and all three have been taken off duty until a review of the matter is completed.

Still, despite the grave implications of the situation, President Obama said he is not worried about his safety. Acknowledging that the "system didn't work the way it was supposed to," he told USA Today, "I could not have more confidence in the Secret Service.”

But, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, isn’t so willing to dismiss the episode.

"We're all fortunate that this diplomatic celebration did not become a night of horror," he said.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) chimed in: "How in the world could this couple get past the Secret Service?"

Responded Sullivan: "I've asked myself that question 1,000 times over the last week."

The couple who had lobbied hard for an invitation to the White House dinner – Tareq and Michaele Salahi – were quick to bow out of an invitation of a different kind, one to testify before Thompson’s panel on Thursday. White House social secretary Desiree Rogers also declined.

Thompson said he is seeking subpoenas to force the trio to testify.

Written by BET.com Staff

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