Secret Service chief Mark Sullivan told a Congressional committee Thursday morning that the agents who admitted Tareq and Michaele Salahi through a White House checkpoint at last week's state dinner have been placed on administrative leave and could lose their jobs.
Sullivan's testimony came during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, at which he took full responsibility for the security failure. He said the agents face a range of disciplinary actions, including the possibility of being fired.
Although the Salahis and White House social secretary Desirée Rogers were invited to testify as well, they refused, raising the possibility that they could be subpoenaed and required to tell their part of a story that has drawn international headlines.
Rep. Peter King (N.Y.), the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, reportedly has said he would support a subpoena for Rogers to testify about her role in how the couple made it inside the White House for the state dinner Nov. 24.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the Obama administration would fight any such effort to compel Rogers's testimony.
He told reporters that only rarely has White House staff been compelled to testify before Congress, citing Watergate and the review of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
A reporter present for the morning briefing, helpfully reminded Gibbs of Whitewater, the investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton's financial affairs that unfolded during the Clinton administration.
"There's a pretty long history allowing White House staff to provide advice to the president confidentially and not have to testify before Congress," Gibbs told reporters. "I don't think even Peter King would have the audacity to put the Salahis in the same trifecta as Watergate, 9/11, and some of the financial deals."
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has said he intends to subpoena the Salahis if they do not come to the Hill voluntarily to testify.