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Old 11-26-2009   #1
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2 uninvited guests attend the White House State Dinner.

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A couple of aspiring reality-TV stars from Northern Virginia appear to have crashed the White House’s state dinner Tuesday night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation to mingle with the likes of Vice President Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi — polo-playing socialites known for a bitter family feud over a Fauquier County winery and their possible roles in the forthcoming “The Real Housewives of Washington” — were seen arriving at the White House and later posted on Facebook photos of themselves with VIPs at the elite gathering.

“Honored to be at the White House for the state dinner in honor of India with President Obama and our First Lady!” one of them wrote on their joint Facebook page at 9:08 p.m.

But a White House official said the couple were not invited to the dinner, not included on the official guest list and never seated at a table in the South Lawn tent.

A woman describing herself as a publicist for the Salahis denied that they were interlopers. Pressed for details, Mahogany Jones sent a statement saying simply: “The Salahis were honored to be a part of such a prestigious event.... They both had a wonderful time.”

In same room with world leaders
While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner. The uninvited guests were in the same room as President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, although it is unknown whether they met the Obamas and the guest of honor.

“Everyone who enters the White House grounds goes through magnetometers and several other levels of screenings,” said Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service. “That was the case with the state dinner last night. No one was under any risk or threat.”

Donovan said a preliminary internal investigation Wednesday identified “a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedure to ensure these two individuals were on the invited guest list.” He declined to give further details. An administration official said the White House will conduct its own review.

The Salahis, both in their 40s, showed up about halfway through the guest arrivals. A Marine announced their names, and the couple — he in a tux, she in a striking red and gold lehenga (traditional Indian formalwear) — swept pass reporters and photographers, stopping several times to pose for pictures. They then walked into the White House lower hallway, where they mingled with guests on the red carpet before heading up to the cocktail reception in the East Room.

Later, they posted pictures that seem to chart their course through the night: Michaele posing with Marines outside near the White House doors, and with Katie Couric and Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) inside the mansion. In the East Room, the Salahis both cozied up to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his wife, Michelle.

Photos with Emanuel, Biden
But the best was yet to come: Once inside the dinner tent, they got pictures that appeared to show them with ABC’s Robin Roberts, Bollywood composer AR Rahman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Obama Chief of Staff Emanuel (identified as “Ron” in the couple’s Facebook photo caption) and two with a grinning vice president. The photos end there — no shots of the Salahis sitting at a table, their seatmates or the post-dinner entertainment.

How could it happen? A former White House senior staffer — who more than a decade ago encountered a crasher at one of the executive mansion’s less-fancy parties — offered this theory:

A savvy pair of crashers, dressed to the nines, might arrive on foot at the visitors’ entrance, announce their names — then express shock and concern when the security detail at the gate failed to find them on the guest list. On a rainy night like Tuesday, with a crowd of 300-plus arriving, security might have lost track of or granted a modicum of sympathy to a pair who certainly looked as though they belonged there. If their IDs didn’t send up any red flags in the screening process, they would be sent through the magnetometers and into the White House.

And yet, the former staffer noted: Someone from the White House social office should have been posted at the guest entrance with the guards.

Once visitors were in, no one necessarily would ask them for further identification. They could check their coats, give their names to the Marine on duty, walk past reporters and into the lower hallway where guests picked up their table assignments. They would pass the junior staffers handing out seating cards and walk on up the stairs for cocktails in the East Room.

Later, all guests were directed to head for the dinner tent on the South Lawn. Facebook photos suggest that the Salahis walked into the tent; it’s unclear when they left. Reporters were cleared from the entryway by the time dinner seating got under way. There is no security checkpoint to leave the grounds.

Date with reality TV?
The Salahis, longtime fixtures in local horse-country society, have recently seemed destined for national fame via reality TV. Michaele, a striking model-thin blonde who used to be a Redskins cheerleader, has been widely reported to be in contention as one of the “Real Housewives” in the forthcoming D.C. edition of the hit Bravo cable series. Although Bravo has not officially finalized its cast, its cameras have followed the couple at numerous parties — including the “America’s Polo Cup” held on the Mall in September, part of a series of tournaments the Salahis founded a few years ago.

Abby Greensfelder, head of the local production team Half Yard Productions, referred questions about the Salahis to Bravo. A Bravo representative declined to comment.

Even before their brush with reality TV fame, the couple had gained some notoriety for a long-running feud with Tareq’s parents, Dirgham and Corinne Salahi, over control of the family’s Oasis Winery in Hume, Va. Last year, Tareq accused his mother’s attorney of punching him; the lawyer was found not guilty. Court records show that Oasis filed for bankruptcy in February, with Tareq listed as “debtor designee.” A note on the winery’s Web site Wednesday promised a reopening for business in 2010.

The America’s Polo Cup has also endured controversy, last year drawing a lawsuit from a Middleburg caterer over alleged non-payment. That suit remains unresolved.

Hours before the White House denied that the Salahis were legitimate guests, The Post asked the couple via Facebook how they happened to attend the dinner. Tareq responded: “India is the challenger in the America’s Polo Cup World Championships June 11/12 2010, and they are very excited in this first ever cultural connection being hosted on the DC National Mall since Polo is one of the primary sports in India.”

When pressed about why they did not appear on the official list, he added, “it was last-minute attending.”
I guess security at the WH isn't all that great. I wonder if EF security is better.
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Old 11-26-2009   #2
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This was horrible news. The year two albino turkeys were at the white house was more entertaining then this :I
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Old 11-26-2009   #3
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Originally Posted by Gunny
This was horrible news. The year two albino turkeys were at the white house was more entertaining then this :I
If you don't think a security breach in a room holding the most powerful people in the country is news, then you're goddamn retarded.
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Old 11-26-2009   #4
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Originally Posted by Raistiberry View Post
If you don't think a security breach in a room holding the most powerful people in the country is news, then you're goddamn retarded.
Personally I wouldn't be surprised by this point in the US history if someone got hurt by someone intentionally walking in and making it past security.
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Old 11-26-2009   #5
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Originally Posted by Fat Manny Max View Post
Personally I wouldn't be surprised by this point in the US history if someone got hurt by someone intentionally walking in and making it past security.



Yeah that's how Lincoln died.
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Old 11-26-2009   #6
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I wonder how far I'd get?
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Old 11-27-2009   #7
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I wonder how far I'd get?
Wear a fancy suit, a nice looking chain and ring combo and show up in a stretch limo and find out.
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Old 11-27-2009   #8
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It's spelled 'uninvited'.
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Old 11-27-2009   #9
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It's spelled 'uninvited'.
You forgot your comma, Mr. Grammar Nazi.
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Old 11-28-2009   #10
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In all likelihood, this is a one in a million shot. Showing up in a fancy suit, limo, bling, and a nice date won't let you get near the president.

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WASHINGTON – A reality TV hopeful and her husband who crashed a presidential dinner met President Barack Obama in the receiving line, the White House said Friday, as a "deeply concerned and embarrassed" Secret Service acknowledged its officers failed to check whether the couple was on the guest list.

The White House released a photo showing Michaele and Tareq Salahi in the receiving line in the Blue Room with Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in whose honor the dinner was held. Obama and Michaele Salahi, a candidate for Bravo's "The Real Housewives of D.C.," are smiling as she grasps his right hand with both of hers and her husband looks on. Singh is standing to the Obama's left.

The Secret Service earlier this week had said the president was not in danger because the Virginia couple — like others at the dinner — had gone through magnetometers. But in light of their close proximity to the president, no such claim was made Friday.

The Salahis were not on the guest list and should have been prohibited from entering last Tuesday's dinner on the White House South Lawn for the prime minister of India, said Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan.

On Friday, Sullivan was apologetic in a written statement, saying the agency that protects the president is "deeply concerned and embarrassed" that procedures were not followed.

"As our investigation continues, appropriate measures have been taken to ensure this is not repeated," Sullivan said.

Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin said officers at the checkpoint had a clipboard with names of the invited guests. Even though the Salahis names weren't on it, they were allowed to proceed. The officers should have called either someone on the White House staff or Secret Service personnel before allowing them past the checkpoint, Mackin said.

Earlier, Mackin said the Secret Service may pursue a criminal investigation of the Salahis.

Sullivan said, "The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list.

"Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours," he said.

Sullivan said it wasn't good enough that his agency screened more than 1.2 million visitors last year to the White House complex and protected more than 10,000 sites for the president, vice president and others.

"Even with these successes, we need to be right 100 percent of the time," he said. "While we have protocols in place to address these situations, we must ensure that they are followed each and every time."

It is unclear what the couple told officers at the checkpoint that allowed them to go through the security screening. Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify statements on matters within the federal government's jurisdiction.

"As this moves closer to a criminal investigation there's less that we can say," Mackin said. "I don't want to jeopardize what could be a criminal investigation. We're not leaving any option off the table at this point."

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the Secret Service will take appropriate action once the review is completed.

"The men and women of the Secret Service put their lives on the line everyday to protect us. They are heroes and they have the full confidence of the president of the United States," Shapiro said.

The Salahis lawyer, Paul Gardner, posted a comment on their Facebook page saying, "My clients were cleared by the White House, to be there." He said more information would be forthcoming.

Several messages left at Gardner's law firm on Friday were not immediately returned.

Bravo Media has confirmed that Michaele Salahi is being considered as a participant in the upcoming "The Real Housewives of D.C." program and on the day of the dinner was being filmed around Washington by Half Yard Productions, the producer of the program.

"Half Yard Productions was told by Michaele and Tareq Salahi that they had been invited to the State Dinner. We took them at their word and filmed their preparations for the event. Half Yard Productions had no part in planning their presence at the event," said Abby Greensfelder of Half Yard Productions.

Photos on the couple's Facebook page they previously had gotten close to Obama. One photo, apparently taken in the days before Obama took the oath of office, shows the Salahis in a group shot with Obama and some of the musicians who performed at an inaugural concert.

Other photos show the Salahis in the empty, glass-enclosed box from which the Obamas watched the concert and, according to the caption, "backstage with the Secret Service at the Lincoln Memorial during the Presidential Inauguration."
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