Salahis get a ticking off from US lawmakers

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 01:23 IST

The celebrity-hounding couple from Virginia, Tareq and Michaele, infuriated US lawmakers as they refused to answer any of their questions during their forced appearance before the committee probing how the incident took place at the White House on November 24 last year.
The couple was subpoenaed by the House Committee on Homeland Security and was questioned on the circumstances of their attending the White House State Dinner uninvited; thus causing a major security breach.

The couple after a short opening statement invoked their right to remain silent given to a US citizen under the 5th Amendment of the American Constitution.
"On advice of counsel, we respectfully invoke our right to remain silent, and we will decline to answer any questions surrounding the circumstances around the events of November 24," Tareq Salahi told the members of the Committee.
"You have your right to claim protection under the Constitution of the US, but you have shown affronty here to take the names of men and women in uniform who are protecting this nation and suggest that somehow what you do provides support for them," Congressman Dan Lungren said.

What made the lawmakers more angry was the last sentence of his opening statement in which the couple said they respect the services of the Secret Service.
"My wife and I say we are strong supporters of the men and women in uniform both here and abroad. We have great respect for the Presidency, the men and women of the United States Secret Service, and they have a tradition of excellence in their missions.
"And nothing that transpired on November 24 should take away from the extraordinary services the United States Secret Service performs on a daily basis," Tareq Salahi said.
"I was going to sit here and remain silent until I heard that last paragraph of your statement. But to suggest that somehow what you're doing shows support for our men and women is an abomination. The Constitution protects fools. The Constitution products stupidity. The Constitution protects errant thought. Thank God it does," an angry Lungren said.
"Your actions or alleged actions on that fateful night make a mockery of this country, a mockery of our security, a mockery of your commitment to this nation, and a mockery to any representation that you are patriots or love this country," said Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
"I am saddened. I am disappointed. And I am outraged. And I would ask you to check your patriotism and to find out why you had to do something of that level," Jackson Lee said.

"You had a duty to inform the Secret Service officer that you were not an officially invited guest. You dressed the part with intent of attending a state's dinner. You did not receive an official invite.
"Your backgrounds were not checked by the Secret Service. Your names did not appear on the guest list, and your request for an invitation from Michele Jones was denied and rebuffed," Jackson Lee said.

"On the advice of counsel, I respectfully assert my right to remain silent and decline to answer your question," the Salahis responded every time they were asked a question.
"Your behaviour was wanton and egregious. After scheming your way into the event, you shamelessly proceeded to socialise with the President, Vice President, and various invited guests then brazenly post photographs of your poor and ill-conceived behaviour on your Facebook page for entire world to see.

"Your actions could have seriously endangered the safety and the life of the President of the United States, Vice President and the visiting dignitary," the angry Congresswoman said.
"I can't believe how much you're wasting of ours and of taxpayers' dollars right now. It's incredible. You know, I am not going to ask a question because you're not going to give me an answer anyway. But if you truly are patriotic, if you truly are Americans, if you truly love this country, think about your actions," commented Congressman Christopher Carney. Several other lawmakers agreed with the views of Carney.

(Published 21 January 2010, 09:43 IST)

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