Secret Service Defends Giving Gannon/Guckert Access to White House

By: E&P Staff Responding to a request from House Democrats to investigate the approval of James Guckert, a.k.a. Jeff Gannon, to attend White House briefings and presidential press conferences for two years, the U.S. Secret Service has declared that there was ?no deviation? from ?proper procedures."

Secret Service Deputy Assistant Director Conrad A. Everett defended the vetting in a letter to Rep. John Conyers and Rep. Louise Slaughter, obtained by the Web site, The Raw Story. Guckert is the former reporter for GOPUSA/Talon News who has also been linked to male escort services.

?Mr. Guckert provided the Secret Service with his legal name, rather than his 'pen name,' and was assessed using the same criteria applied to all individuals seeking access to White House briefings,? Everett wrote.

?We would note,? Everett added, ?that members of the press who are afforded access to the White House may utilize professional names that differ from their legal names. The Secret Service, however, requires that legal names be provided to enable the screening processes to work effectively.?

But Rep. Slaughter told The Raw Story, ?While I appreciate the Secret Service's response to some of our questions, the bigger picture remains. The relationship between this Administration and Jeff Gannon was anything but typical and the American people deserve the full, unvarnished truth.?

Rep. Conyers said questions remained about who at the White House paved the way for Guckert to receive a ?day pass,? meant for occasional use by out-of-town journalists, nearly every weekday for two years.

John Aravosis of Americablog, who has been prominent in the current uproar, asked: ?If Gannon's day pass was effectively equivalent to a 'hard pass' given to long-term White House reporters, why didn't Gannon get a more thorough background check?? In his view, Gannon/Guckert ?posed the same potential risk to national security as any hard pass reporter,? yet he was ?never forced to get a hard pass, and thus never required to get the hard pass three-month FBI background check.?


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