The woman in charge of supervising the guest list for state dinners quit in June after she was stripped of most of her responsibilities. Cathy Hargraves, the former assistant for arrangements, says that Obama’s social secretary, Desiree Rogers, took away her responsibilities and that, had she been present, she’d have likely been at the entrance supervising the guest list.
Chicago's Own Desiree Rogers to Blame for Crashergate?
Security lapse may be due to Rogers' forcing out the guest list manager
By ANDREW GREINER NBC Chicago
Updated 10:45 AM CST, Mon, Nov 30, 2009
Fingers are starting to point to Chicagoan Desiree Rogers, President Obama's social secretary, for letting Michele and Tareq Salahi slip by security at the front gate of the White House last week.
The couple, who were seen mugging with Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel – not to mention shaking the President's hand – might never have gotten into the party if Rogers hadn’t stripped the woman whose job it was to vet such people of her power.
Cathy Hargraves, who resigned last June, was personally responsible for overseeing the invitations of state dinner guests and keeping track of their RSVPs. She also physically stood at the gate during functions and cross-checked names against a master list.
The Salahis gained entry to the White House despite not being on such a list.
When Rogers came to the White House last, she stripped Hargraves, a Bush-era holdover, of those responsibilities. "In these economic times," Hargraves told Newsweek, I don't think we're going to have very many lavish expensive dinners. It wouldn't look very good."
The Secret Service has since apologized for the security lapse, possibly removing some of the burden from Rogers' shoulders. But at least one Republican lawmaker wants the social office to endure its share of scrutiny.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee has called for a congressional investigation into what happened -- and he wants the social office, and, by association Rogers, included.