US Senators want White House gate crasher punished

Last Updated: Monday, November 30, 2009 - 12:53

Washington: Two influential American Senators have demanded action against the US couple who gate crashed into the First State Dinner hosted in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an incident which has put a question mark on the security of the White House.
An investigation has been ordered into the episode, has brought instant "in famous" celebrity status to Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

"I think you have to have a strong deterrent against this kind of thing, and therefore, if it`s a federal crime to lie to a federal agent and these people didn`t tell the truth about their invitation, then they should be in some way brought to justice here, again, as an example to others not to do it," Senator Jon Kyl told Fox News Sunday. Kyl is the Senate Minority Whip.

Clearly the Secret Service, as well as the White House protocol office, have got to beef up their tactics, their procedures and protocols for dealing with this kind of a situation.

I don`t know about congressional hearings. I suspect the Secret Service is embarrassed enough to fix the problem and, of course, the White House protocol office has to get involved in that as well, the Senator said.

"You have got to send a strong deterrent that people just don`t do this kind of thing," Senator Evan Bayh told the Fox News on Sunday, who compared the Salahi’s entering the White House just like the "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, the terrorist whose attempt to explode a plane shortly after the September 11 attacks changed how all passengers were screened at airports.

"It`s an incredible situation. Of course people have been laughing about it, because it is so incredulous.”

But it`s not a laughing matter, that people could get that close to the President and the Vice President who aren`t supposed to be there, he said.

"So the Secret Service has come out and appropriately said they`re embarrassed, they`re going to get to the bottom of it.”

“These folks could be like the -- what was the name, Richard Reid, who changed the way everybody travels through the airports because of this one guy," he said.

Meanwhile, news reports said the Salahis are now trying to sell their interviews to the American news channel.

They were scheduled to appear on popular `Larry King Live` today, but now that has been cancelled and are seeking bids from other news channels also, before taking a final decision.


First Published: Monday, November 30, 2009 - 12:53
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