January 7, 2010

Well John, Sally Quinn didn't have to wait for Bill-O to have her on to demand that Desiree Rogers be fired. Anderson Cooper beat her to the punch. After reading Digby's post today, it looks like Quinn had better hope someone doesn't put a Voodoo spell on her ass.

Bad Voodoo:

Reader JD sent in this amusing bit of color about Desiree Rogers:

I'm a little puzzled about the lack of research done on Ms. Rogers background. She may well be an "old Chicago pal" of Michele's, but she's originally from New Orleans. Everyone here knows her, she was Queen of Zulu back in the 70s (which, trust me, is a very big deal here, socially) and her maiden name is Glapion.

Her father, Roy Glapion, was a popular city councilman until his death a few years back. He (as well as Ms. Rogers) is a direct descendant of the famed 19th century voodoo queen Marie Laveaux, who's married name was Glapion.I'm not surprised that "the Village Tabbies" don't know this, but they should. Because descendants of "the widow Glapion" are not to be f@#ked with. Seriously.

Continue reading...

Transcript via CNN.

COOPER: Joining us now, "Washington Post" columnist Sally Quinn and CNN national security contributor Frances Townsend, a former president -- under President Bush, a homeland security adviser.

Fran, the Salahis, the first two White House crashers, they look bad enough. And now a third. How -- how could this happen?

FRAN TOWNSEND: Well, it -- Anderson, it is baffling, but I will tell you, this is actually a very different fact set than the Salahis.

The Salahis themselves entered the compound. This is an individual who figured out, for however he did, where the Indian delegation was staying. He -- those people, the delegation is under the control of the State Department office of protocol who then takes the delegation as a whole to the Secret Service where they're screened.

Apparently, this guy inserted himself in that State Department protocol delegation before they were screened by Secret Service. Once he got screened, he got put in with the rest of them and got escorted, by the way, to the White House, where he was able to enter.

It doesn't make the breach any less devastating, but it is different than the way they, that the Salahis did it.

I will tell you, I understand that Director Sullivan ordered, in the spring before all this happened, a large scale complete review of presidential security. That's ongoing. And obviously, the Salahis, this, all have been added into that mix.


TOWNSEND: But he's asked others, Anderson, others from the outside from prior administrations when he completes the review to take a look and to make suggestions if he needs to strengthen it.

COOPER: Sally, you write in your column, and I quote, one of the first lessons any administrations needs to learn is that somebody has to take the hit for whatever goes wrong. I mean, nobody has really stood up and taken responsibility or resigned or been fired for this.

SALLY QUINN: I think that the -- what happened at the White House was as big a security breach as the Christmas-Day bomber situation. Because the White House should be the most secure place in the entire world. And the president could well have been assassinated if one of these three people had had explosives in his or her underwear.

So the idea that three people separately could come, walk right into the White House with no identification at all and no screening and just march right in there, I think, is...

COOPER: Who do you think should be held responsible?

QUINN: Well, I think in the case of the White House situation, I think the social secretary Desiree Rogers. And the head of the Secret Service, Sullivan. Both should be held responsible. And I think that they both should resign, because I think that...

COOPER: That's Desiree right there.

QUINN: It's much clearer, this, I mean, than the bombing situation. Because there are so many intelligence agency involved in that. I mean, you've got -- you've got the CIA and then you've got the director of national intelligence, who was supposed to be the once to sort of collate all of this information.

Then you've got the terrorism crowd and homeland security and the FBI. So it's really hard not to do finger pointing on that situation. But in the White House situation, there was not a single person from the social secretary's office sitting outside at a table with a list, checking off the names. That is just unheard of.

COOPER: Well, at least the head of the Secret Service went to, you know, testify before Congress. The social secretary, the White House, you know, decided not to send her because they thought it would be inappropriate. And has really, I guess, said nothing publicly about it.

Fran, what do you think needs to be done with security procedures to make sure this thing doesn't happen again?

TOWNSEND: Well, Anderson, let's be clear. Mark Sullivan didn't just go up to Congress. He went up and took the hit for the administration on this. He said Secret Service made a mistake and that he was committed to strengthening the Secret Service and improving their procedures.

And he's set about doing it. They've reviewed the protocols with the State Department. They're reviewing their physical security procedures.

I'm not sure I know what gets gained by firing Mark Sullivan, the head of the Secret Service when what we really need is, he's an experienced career officer of the Secret Service. What we need him is to lead this review and to tell us how we can do it better.

I should say to you, when I was at the White House, Anderson, Mark Sullivan came to me. It was Mark Sullivan's idea to monitor open source material, looking for hate speech. And it was because of that that we put Secret Service protection on then Senator Obama earlier than any other candidate.

He also, Mark Sullivan, led the Secret Service through the inauguration, the conventions. I mean, this is a man with a real esteemed record of protection. And so I think before we go about firing him, we ought to give him a chance to fix the problem.

COOPER: Sally, you've, you know, observed Washington for a long time. It seems to me people used to kind of resign honorably because mistakes were made. Is that just gone? That whole idea?

QUINN: Well, that is a larger point, is that the president of the United States needs to be protected. And everybody, and I'm talking not -- I'm talking about from a publicity point of view now. And a perception point of view. Not physically, as well.

COOPER: right.

QUINN: But everybody who worked for the president is a hired hand. And everyone has to be a loyalist. And their one job is to make the president look good and to make it appear that he is strong and a good leader and confident.

And what happens when there are these terrible mistakes, and breaches of security, and nothing happens, and Desiree Rogers doesn't even bother to go up to the Senate to testify. You have a situation where it looks like the president is incompetent and that he's weak.

And so what somebody needs to do is to say, "I'm going to take the hit." Because that way, it will take the onus off the president of the United States. And it will make him look stronger, and it make him look like a better leader. Not only among our people in the United States, but for people all over the world.


QUINN: Otherwise, it looks like he's lost control of the situation.


TOWNSEND: Anderson, the president did do that. The White House military office had, as you'll recall, because of the flyover of Lower Manhattan. He did resign. And I -- so I agree with Sally. I think that is absolutely true when it comes to sort of political leadership. It is the responsibility of the hired guns to take the hit for the president.

Mark Sullivan, the director of the Secret Service...

COOPER: Right.

TOWNSEND: ... is not a hired gun. And that's the distinction for me.

COOPER: All right. "Washington Post" columnist Sally Quinn, I appreciate you being on. And CNN national security advisor Frances Townsend, always good to have you on. Thanks.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.