Tags: obama | salahi | state | dinner

Secret Service: Couple Crashed Obama Dinner

Wednesday, 25 Nov 2009 11:48 PM

A couple auditioning for a reality TV show managed to slip past the U.S. Secret Service Tuesday night and attend the first state dinner given by President Obama honoring the prime minister of India.

Worse yet, the incident only became known Wednesday after the couple, Michaele and Tariq Salahi, publicized the incident on their Facebook page with a picture of them posing with Vice President Joe Biden.

It was not clear Wednesday night how close the Salahis got to Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, or to the guests of honor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur. The couple are two Virginians who have been auditioning for a possible role in a different housewives TV franchise: “The Real Housewives of Washington,” The New York Times reported.

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The lapse is particularly grave given that threats against President Obama are up over 400 percent compared to his predecessor, George W. Bush, according to Newsmax correspondent Ronald Kessler, who first detailed the threat increase in his book, "In the President's Secret Service."

Edwin M. Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said Wednesday night that “initial findings identified a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedures,” allowing the couple to gain access to the festivities, even though their names were not on the invitation list.

“It is important to note that these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of security, as did all guests attending the dinner,” Mr. Donovan said in an e-mail message to the Times.

A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the Salahis had not been invited nor seated for dinner. The Times reported that the couple’s Facebook site was flooded with comments as news of the incident spread Wednesday night.

“Glad it was you, and not someone with malicious intent, who tested and beat White House security,” wrote Joe Galietta. “Hopefully the officers who failed to stop you will learn from this.”

Another commenter, Katie Paige, wondered how the couple pulled it off, asking “What did you do during the dinner when you weren’t seated?”

How did the couple manage to even get close enough to enter past photographers and Secret Service guards? Ms. Salahi’s profile also revealed a possible link to one of the dinner guests. In one of her photographs, she and her husband are shown drinking wine and celebrating at the Indian embassy with Arun K. Singh — the Deputy Chief of Mission at the embassy — for the kickoff of a polo match between India and the United States earlier this year. Ambassador Singh was on the guest list for the state dinner Tuesday night, the Times reported.

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