Congressional panel summons White House gatecrashers

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 13:32

Washington: US lawmakers overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to force the Virginia couple Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who gatecrashed the White House state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to face questioning on January 20 over the incident.
The House Committee on Homeland Security voted to subpoena Tareq Salahi and his wife Michaele by margins of 26-3 and 27-4, respectively, setting a date of January 20, 2010, for them to appear to face questioning.

However, nothing much is expected on January 20 as the Salahis` attorneys have said that the couple would keep quite by invoking their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

"The ground cited by the Salahis for their refusal to testify are irrelevant and has no bearing on the oversight activity of the House of Representatives," said Congressman
Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee, before moving the subpoena resolution in this regard.

Thompson said he expects to know whether the couple will face criminal charges by January 20. The couple got past several checkpoints and into the White House where they shook hands with Obama and mingled with top officials at the November 24 state dinner.

Three US Secret Service agents, who let the Salahis inside the White House during the dinner, have been placed under administrative leave, even as the agency`s chief described the episode as a "human error".

PTI

First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 13:32
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