Written by Earnest A. Peal
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Topics: Secret Service

Friday, 4 December 2009

image for Congressional committee expands gatecrashing probe to fake bond failure
"To put the amount in perspective, that much cash could buy 20 billion pints", noted website operator Mark Lowton.

Secret Service Director Marcus Sillyman was on the spot again on Friday, as the committee investigating the gatecrashing incident at a White House state dinner took shots at the agency for failing to follow up on a massive counterfeiting bust in Italy in June.

Sillyman's agency has been criticized after two uninvited guests, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, talked their way into the White House and managed to pose with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and others. Michaele even managed to get several shots in which she and Biden have their hands on each other's chests.

Now, the committee wants to know why two alleged smugglers of $134 billion in US bonds were released without any follow up. The two men, who were said to be Japanese but are as yet unidentified, were detained while attempting to cross into Switzerland from Italy by train at the frontier town of Chiasso with the bonds in the false bottom of a suitcase.

Committee member Thompson Valery (R-Miss) wanted to know why the men were never identified, and why their nationally was never confirmed.

"We felt it was preferable not to create an incident," replied Sillyman. "Let sleeping dogs lie."

Valery asked why, if the bonds were fakes, as the claimed by a spokesman for the Treasury Department, the men were not arrested.

"I think what is meant by 'fake' in this case isn't that they weren't issued by the government. It just means that the government is not prepared to redeem them at this time. We would like in fact, just the opposite-that Japan buy more of our bonds," said Sillyman.

"Redeeming a large amount of bonds is something that is subject to negotiation, and that is the message we, and the Treasury, conveyed in this case. And that applies even when the dollar is unstable, more so in fact."

The two men returned to their jobs in the Japanese Finance Ministry shortly after the incident, but their names have not been released and they have ignored requests to testify before the committee, despite name cards labeled "Suspect 1" and "Suspect 2" being placed on the witness table.

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