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White House review of Salahis' entry cites Secret Service failure, adds new guidelines

Updated 5:45 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear
The White House acknowledged Wednesday that its staff had contributed to the security breach that allowed to uninvited guests into last week's state dinner and promised to implement new procedures to ensure better coordination with the Secret Service.

Social Secretary Desiree Rogers has been under fire for her failure to post staffers at the White House checkpoints who might have prevented Tareq and Michaele Salahi from gaining entry to the formal state dinner for the prime minister of India last Tuesday.

In a memorandum sent to White House employees Wednesday, deputy chief of staff Jim Messina said there should have been White House staffers at the Southeast Gate along with the Secret Service agents.

"It is clear that the White House did not do everything we could have done to assist the United States Secret Service in ensuring that only invited guests enter the complex," Messina wrote. "White House staff were walking back and forth outside between the check points helping guests and were available to the Secret Service throughout the
evening, but clearly we can do more, and we will do more."

Messina did not name Rogers, but the memorandum was a clear rebuke, coming a day after press secretary Robert Gibbs was besieged by reporters' questions about the lack of a presence by Rogers and her staff at the checkpoints. At Monday's briefing, Gibbs chided the Secret Service for failing to relay information about the Salahis to anyone on the White House staff.

"The relay didn't happen because nobody picked up the phone to relay the information," Gibbs said Monday, defending Rogers. "I mean, I appreciate the observation that somebody could or could not have been at a certain gate."

But Messina's memo made clear that the White House was eager to move on. He informed staff members of new guidelines, effective immediately.

He said that at future events, White House staff will be "stationed physically at the check points with the United States Secret Service" and that "guests whose names are not on the guest list will be assisted by White House staff present at the check point for
appropriate resolution."

The memo was posted online by the White House Wednesday afternoon, and follows in full below:

THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON
December 2, 2009
MEMORANDUM

TO: White House Staff
FROM: Jim Messina, White House Deputy Chief of Staff,
SUBJECT: Review of White House Procedures during the State Dinner on November 24,2009 and New Guidelines

On Wednesday, November 25, the White House asked the United States Secret Service to conduct a full review of security protocols in place during the State Dinner. After learning of the preliminary findings of the United States Secret Service review, the White House began, over the weekend, to review the procedures that were in place for our staff that night. Below are the findings as well as an important policy change.

I met with the Office of the Social Secretary, which had the lead on the event, as well as other departments, to review their procedures in order to identify what actions were taken and if any changes should occur.

The United States Secret Service announced that the preliminary findings of its internal investigation indicated that established security protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint. As the Secret Service said last week, agents failed to verify that these two individuals were invited guests before they entered the White House.

We believe White House staff can playa role in streamlining this process as a courtesy to our guests and to assist the Secret Service agents who keep us safe. The President believes that the men and women of the Secret Service put their lives on the line everyday to protect him, his family and many others. He thinks that they do an exceptional job and they have his full confidence. We need to do whatever we can to help them succeed in their mission.

After reviewing our actions, it is clear that the White House did not do everything we could have done to assist the United States Secret Service in ensuring that only invited guests enter the complex. White House staff were walking back and forth outside between the check points helping guests and were available to the Secret Service throughout the evening, but clearly we can do more, and we will do more.

Beginning immediately for all official White House events:
• White House staff will be stationed physically at the check points with the United States Secret Service.
• Guests will be checked off of the list by White House staff and the Secret Service will continue to ensure that all guests have been properly cleared before entering the White House.
• Guests whose names are not on the guest list will be assisted by White House staff present at the check point for appropriate resolution.
• As always, the Secret Service will provide security and remain ultimately responsible for controlling access to the White House complex.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 2, 2009; 5:35 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , National Security , Washington Life  
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Comments

Yeah, because "Jones" is not that common of a last name.

Posted by: JakeD | December 4, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

TO: "JGinSC" @ 6:44 p.m., Dec. 2nd

You may be a better sleuth than anyone in the Washington press corps. Can you say "white hat hack"? Emphasis on the "white hat."

***

SECRET MULTI-AGENCY FED PROGRAM TORTURES, IMPAIRS, PERSECUTES THOUSANDS OF U.S. CITIZENS WITH NATIONWIDE SILENT MICROWAVE / LASER WEAPONS SYSTEMS, LOCAL VIGILANTISM: VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan
• FEMA Director Craig Fugate
• NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander
• Former JSOC Commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal
• DIA Director Maj. Gen. Michael Maples
• DOJ Asst. Atty. Gen./National Security David Kris
• CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappes
• FBI Director Robert Mueller

== DID THIS ROGUE PROGRAM TARGET, INCITE FT. HOOD SHOOTER? ==

TEAM OBAMA, CONGRESS MUST ASK: What do they know -- and when did they know it?

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

http://nowpublic.com/world/govt-tortures-me-silent-microwave-weapons-ousted-s-prez OR NowPublic.com/scrivener RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 3, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - It appears you cant handle the heat. Now you go begging for someone else to argue with. LOL.

Posted by: gregp1 | December 3, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - Please provide ONE item of PROOF that these nice women are "Thugs". You are pathetic.

Posted by: gregp1 | December 3, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, it DOES reflect badly on Obama because he was the one who brought these Chicago thugs into the White House.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - I did not say it "has no connection" to Obama. I said it "does not reflect upon him". You are once again changing the question to fit your answer. You rewrite sentences when you are exposed. That is such a weakness of yours. To quote your Messiah Mr Reagan "there you go again!"

Posted by: gregp1 | December 3, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

What Does U.S. Secret Service Know About This American Atrocity?

OBAMA WRONG AT WEST POINT: U.S. DOES TORTURE -- ITS OWN CITIZENS

• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system, employing cell towers and satellites, to silently torture, impair unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

For the rest of the story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-west-point-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR (if link is corrupted): NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 3, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

gregp1:

You are the only one to mention Palin on this thread. As for "no connection" to Obama, perhaps you've never heard of Valerie Jarret or Desiree Rogers?

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - This incident does not reflect upon Obama one way or the other. If someone needs to be fired, so be it. As the "independent" you claim to be, please twist this sideshow of a story into your irrelevant support for Palin.

Posted by: gregp1 | December 3, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Do you expect us to believe the words from the universe of lies that is today's White House? You cannot blame the Secret Service for this nonsense. Everything about Obama is a fraud, a hoax, and scam perpetrated upon the American people.

Posted by: walterndebby | December 3, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The agents have been placed on leave -- and could be fired -- since they knew that the Salahis were not on the guest list but let them proceed anyway.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Bit of a bombshell at this morning's Homeland Security hearing:

U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan dismissed published reports that the level of death threats against President Obama are four times greater than typical threat levels against recent presidents -- claiming the current volume of threats is comparable to that under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

"It's not [a] 400 percent [increase]," Sullivan said during a heated exchange with Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who suggested the service needed additional agents to protect the first African-American "President".

"I'm not sure where that number comes from," he said, adding that the number of threats against Obama "are the same level as it has been [against] the last two presidents."

Sullivan said he would get more specific in a closed-door session with members of the Homeland Security Committee.

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

skimom27 and beeker25:

Are you watching the Congressional hearing on this subject right now? Obviously, we are all still arguing whether they lied or committed ANY crime -- and, of course, IF (and that's a big "if") lied to a federal agent or otherwise trespassed, they should face the consequences in a court of law -- until then, as long people are jumping to conclusions, I will be "nitpicking" ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 3, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Back to what used to happen, in other words!

Posted by: geoffreymcnab | December 3, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like the White House is reverting what what happened in previous administrations!

Posted by: geoffreymcnab | December 3, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I see JakeD is still spewing his stupidity. This couple got away with this a week ago at another dinner where President Obama was speaking, they even sat down at a dinner table before the actual "on the list" people showed up and complained. Our great Secret Service just led them out - no arrest - so, they figured why not keep trying, so harm, no foul. Total fault of the Secret Service in both cases. But in the case of this State Dinner, we had the whole damn chain of Command of the United States of America in one room - this is not a joking, mouth-off situation to be made light of.

I actually think they should be looking at charges against the "idiot" who let them through. He is the one they should be arresting and his associations should be checked. Once a mistake, twice is not a coincidence.

And yes, it is a crime to lie to a federal agent to gain access to secure facilities. And trespessing is also a crime - go try and jump over the fence at the White House sometime - see how fast the police drag you away.

Posted by: skimom27 | December 2, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

And so it begins...the scapegoating. Unless the White House staff advised the Secret Service to allow the Salahis in, trying to assign blame on Rogers or her staff is ludicrous. My money is on the Secret Service controlling the access points to the White House, not Rogers' staff. If the SS was incompetent to identify guests by checking the list and ID, they should have asked for help. While it may be prudent in the future to have someone available to ensure that the SS does again drop the ball, Rogers and her staff were not responsible for security at the state dinner; they were available if assistance was needed; and they clearly did what they were supposed to do--but for the SS failure, the dinner was a tremendous success. The Republicans are just trying to loop her in so that they can deflect attention from the Bush era leftovers that are truly responsible for this mess.

Posted by: CharacterCounts | December 2, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:
Currently there is a review process going on at the Secret Service and the Director will make some kind of announcement detailing what had happened, and lastly the results of the review. Until that review is closed, there's nothing more than we all can argue about.

Posted by: beeker25 | December 2, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

If this couple did crash this White house event, they certainly weren't the first nor the last. Years Ago I met a white house crasher who wrote the head of security about how he crashed the white house. so as long as their is a vulnerable link ,weather through money or sex or whatever, guests will crash the white house. These crashers just pointed this out. Ms Salahi is gorgeous. If I was a Guard I'd probably let her slip by if she showed me some cleavage and sweet talked to me. I know i have crashed Hollywood Parties in the past from the Oscars to the biggest Charity Events. in all these events you are going to find a weak link. it could be a security guard hired from the usc football team who is enamoured with the Hollywood starlets and wannabees and anyone who looks like a model type. It could be a guard that needs some extra Christmas money to get that special toy for his 5 year old.maybe it's the elderly Volunteer who denies needing glasses and thinks a Travolta-like is really Travolta and practically has a heart attack when he signs an autograph. Whatever the case,There is always a way in. There will be reprimands,people will resign and others will get replaced,but all in all people will get in to these events ,if they really want to. I crashed hundreds of parties in Hollywood and was featured on some TV shows like The Leeza Gibbons show and others. Remember there is always a way in to these parties. My best friend in L.A. even wrote a Book and a screenplay about it and gave party crashing lessons to all kinds of people, real estate investors,doctors,lawyers, stock brokers,nerds like me and others.As the old saying goes,Where there is a will there is a way. These guys should not be punished they did not cause any harm and if anything gave us
a lesson.
Miguel

Posted by: mtoral2005 | December 2, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

beeker25:

What we don't KNOW is whether they lied or committed any crime though. That's my point here (call it "nitpicking" if you must ; )

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:
The way I look at it, there always will be people trying to score something to get in at any place whether it is at the WH, Congress and etc. I even had police friends of mine tell me stories of people coming up with all kinds of excuses to gain access. The couple are no different than the others.
I've seen that when the President is invited to speak at an graduation when I was in college back in 1994. There were lots of disappointed people who couldn't get in so they were forced to move to the next building to watch it on the screen.

Posted by: beeker25 | December 2, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Alright JakeD, one last response and then I am going to go engage with people not behind a computer screen. Mea culpa that calling them narcissists is a bit of a conclusion -- but, it's my opinion more than anything else, and peeeee-lenty of people agree with me. Their narcissism and sense of self-importance reeks from them and it is gross. And you ARE being a bit of a jerk, nitpicking the way you are. It's all quite unnecessary. Do you really care that much about whether I am drawing conclusions in forming opinions about these people who have made repeated attempts to inject themselves into the media, then cry about how their lives have been destroyed, all she has built for 44 years, blah blah blah? I mean, give me a break. Get over yourselves. (And it's ABC news, not CBS news, but I only point that out since you seem keen on picking at things.) I do think Real Housewives is about stupid stuff. Sometimes we need that as a break from reality, perhaps. Those are my opinions. Conclusions if you must. But I meant generally I have not drawn any conclusions about what went down at the dinner, and that's true. And all I meant. Nitpick if you must. (It IS kind of jerky behavior on your part, but maybe that's what you do for fun.) I myself must away for a martini and laughter with friends.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

mcdcl2:

LOL!!! Gibbs actually said today: "The First Family is quite pleased with her performance, and I’ve heard nothing uttered of what you talked about (some reporter had dared to ask whether Rogers was known as a very last-minute person, poor planner)".

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

What a knockout for a very close friend. Perhaps one day BO will follow his heart and marry Desiree.

Posted by: georgejones5 | December 2, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"Stupid stuff", "They are narcissists", (and, now, that I am "a jerk") are NOT conclusions? Whether you revise said conclusions later or not, they are indeed CONCLUSIONS now.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

WH Social Secretary Desiree "Brownie" Rogers...you're doing a heck of a job.

Posted by: mcdcl2 | December 2, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, you are hilarious. And kind of a jerk. (Those aren't conclusions, by the way. My thoughts flying through a keyboard on a blog. Likely to change as I learn more, like many sentient beings.)

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS:

1) "I don't think separation of powers means what you think it means." (See NYT link I just posted)

2) "I wonder why no one is reporting on Jones." (See CBS News link I posted with emails)

3) "They are narcissists."

4) ADMITTING "I don't know about all the Real Housewives that intimately, but yeah, I think it's a show dedicated to drama and excess. Stupid stuff. But, entertaining apparently."

In other news, Rep. King (R-NY) said he thought it would be unlikely that Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the party crashing couple, would appear at tomorrow’s hearing.

“They’d be crazy to testify,” he said, after meeting with the lawyers. “Their story, if they testify, would just not hold up.”

He said the couple has switched legal advisers from Paul Gardner, an entertainment lawyer, to a powerful Wall Street firm, Dewey & LeBoeuf.

The office of the committee’s chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson, would not comment on the couple’s apparent decision not to appear.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, I know how you like to stir it up, but I am not jumping to any conclusions. See where I say "I don't know"? I meant it when I said I don't really know. I wonder. Implying I am still curious about facts and how this turns out. You will have to pick on someone else tonight. I'm not biting.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"Separation of Powers Cited for W.H. Social Secretary"

By SHERYL STOLBERG AND JANIE LORBER

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/02/white-house-revises-rules-for-major-events/

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

esmerelda123:

Apparently, you are jumping to conclusions without all of the facts. Perhaps after tomorrow's hearing on the issue, we will all know more of the relevant facts.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

There you go Bravo. I found you 2 housewives for The Real Black Housewives of DC: Michelle Obama and esiree Rogers.

Posted by: Atenora | December 2, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The Secret Service screwed up. A PFC in the Army knows better than to let a person through the gate of a Post without proper identification. Wearing a tuxedo and having a "trophy" woman on your arm will not gain you access to a military facility, unless you have proper ID. If the Secret Service can't figure this out, the military can!

Posted by: kenarmy | December 2, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about all the Real Housewives that intimately, but yeah, I think it's a show dedicated to drama and excess. Stupid stuff. But, entertaining apparently.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Do you hold the same low opinion about ALL the "Real Housewives"?

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I think they are gross for trying to get on a reality show the way that they are. They are narcissists. Their appearance on the Today Show was downright nauseating. They have been shown to lie about their "charity" polo match. There is so much suspicious activity around these people and yet they fancy themselves super important. That's why I think they are low-lifes.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute now -- those emails actually hurt the Salahis. Nothing in those emails says she got tickets, and her voice mail to them said there was no tickets. So, if they told Jones that their names were on the list, when in fact their names were NOT on the list, and that was how they got into the dinner, then yeah, they may have lied and may be facing felony charges. Sorry JakeD.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

esmerelda123:

And, I fascinated by why you think that these two people are "the lowest sort of humanity" even if they honestly (even if mistakenly) believed they were on the invite list?

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, I am not saying that they did LIE. I am simply saying that the crime that has been discussed in this case is not trespassing but lying to the Secret Service. That's all. I don't know what happened. I don't know that I care so much. I just find those two people the lowest sort of humanity and can't figure out why I am so fascinated. Interesting emails to say the least. I wonder why no one is reporting on Jones.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

See a rare great Maureen Down column today, eviscerating Rogers and other limp W?H staff for celebrating themselves. Have never seen more preening. Rogers should be canned, but that will never happen.

Posted by: axolotl | December 2, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm not protecting Valerie's friend.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

WH, did you forget the new procedure that actually makes Rogers WORK at her job and not think she's actually a guest, especially at the FIRST state dinner? Oh right, missed that. Gibbs deserves a rebuke after that horrific performance at yesterday's press conference. And still, WHY are you all protecting Valerie's friend?

Posted by: dclizette | December 2, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

esmerelda123:

"We thought that our names were added to the list last minute" is not necessarily a LIE.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

You can read the emails for yourself, including the ones AFTER the State Dinner "thanking" White House liaison Michele S. Jones for getting them in last minute and her reply:

You are most welcome! I here [SIC] the smile in your email and am delighted and you and Michaele had a wonderful time. :-)

http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/Salahi%20Emails_1.pdf

Seems to me that at least ONE government person was not surprised they got in.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

There's a crime if they lied. That's why the whole document thing is such a big deal. And I hate to break it to you, pepperjade, but I don't think separation of powers means what you think it means. No one is talking about immunity for Rogers. And Rogers is not accused of a crime, just doing her job badly -- unlike what happened with Rove et al.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | December 2, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

There are no "new guidelines". It's customary for the social secretary to WORK the gates. DESIREE ROGERS decided to change the traditional guidelines, but now the White House has backed down. They should FIRE her.

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/12/02/2009-12-02_white_house_finally_admits_blame_over_state_dinner_crashed_by_michaele_and_tareq.html

"After days of hanging the blame on the Secret Service, the White House ordered embattled Social Secretary Desiree Rodgers to staff all the gates for such events, just as every White House has done as long as anyone can remember."

Posted by: LadyOrmond | December 2, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that they were TWO uninvited guests, if they show up and say "we thought that our names were added to the list" what is the CRIME?

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the White House is claiming separation of powers and blocking Desiree Rogers from testifying before Congress. Wow, if they close ranks over something like this, imagine when more serious issues begin to come to light. Didn't the Bush Admin pull this stunt everal times with Harriet Meiers, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, et al?

Tell me again--where is this "change" that was coming with the Obama presidency?

Posted by: pepperjade | December 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

White House review of Salahis' entry cites Secret Service failure, adds new guidelines
-------------------------------------------
The White House acknowledged Wednesday that its staff had contributed to the security breach that allowed to uninvited guests...

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

#1 The headline doesn't match the first sentence.

#2 "...that allowed to..." Really ? To? How about "two."

Care to guess why the WaPo is going down for the third time?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | December 2, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

There seems to be a loose end to this whole story. What is the relationship between Michelle Jones, the "Pentagon official" whose e-mails perpetuated the Salahis' delusion they could be invited to a state dinner and Mahogony Jones, the Salahis' "spokesperson"?

Posted by: JGinSC | December 2, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The longer it takes to arrest the Salamis, the more evident it becomes that no one knows what their doing at the White House.

Posted by: Greg42 | December 2, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

postfan1:

There is no "crime" of trespassing if it was simply the Secret Service "agents [who] failed to verify that these two individuals were invited guests before they entered the White House". Same as if I show up to your home, state my name, but you let me in anyway.

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The White House backs down? Does this mean they intend to fire Michelle's lazy, self-absorbed, unqualified, and incompetent social secretary, DESIREE ROGERS?

Michelle owes the nation an apology for hiring DESIREE ROGERS in the first place.

Soooo glad the intruders were not trained assassins.

FIRE DESIREE ROGERS!

Posted by: LadyOrmond | December 2, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Well, there WAS the crime of trespassing. Two people who clearly weren't invited bluffed their way in. Seems like that should somehow be punished, shouldn't it?

Posted by: postfan1 | December 2, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

This is being converted into a "jobs program" to bring more ACORN and SEIU people into The White House. For sure, Mr Salahi is an embarrassment to Arabs.

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | December 2, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

So, no crime was committed?

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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