White House dinner photos show 'third crasher' Carlos Allen seated with elite group
White House state dinner photos posted online by a guest show Carlos Allen -- the alleged "third crasher" -- sitting at a prime table with a U.S. ambassador, a top Indian CEO and a women described as a White House staffer.
The images confirm Allen's lawyer's claim that the aspiring Web publisher stayed for the dinner -- unlike Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who left after cocktail mingling -- and deepen the mystery about how a man the Secret Service says was not on their list got in.
The White House, which has not commented on the matter of the third crasher, referred questions to the Secret Service Agency.
The agency -- which on Monday first disclosed it was investigating the presence of a third uninvited guest at the Nov. 24 dinner -- declined to comment because it has not yet publicly confirmed the identity of the individual. Other government sources, as well as Allen's lawyer, told the Washington Post that man was Allen. Allen's lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, also said earlier this week that, contrary to official claims, Allen was invited to the dinner.
The photos were first reported Thursday night by Politico. The Post also examined the full gallery of photos posted on a public photo-sharing site by Barbara Thummalapally, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Belize Vinai Thummalapally. Both of the Thummalapallys -- college friends of the president -- are shown sitting at the same table as Allen.
Reached at home in Belize, Barbara Thummalapally said she did not know who Allen was and does not remember meeting him. "I met so many people there I didn't know. And I don't remember his name."
She declined to have her photos published, and the photos were removed from public view shortly after.
In the series of photos, Allen is shown sitting between State Bank of India CEO Om Prakash Bhatt and Shehnaz Mansuri, a Chicago lawyer. She's the wife of Eboo Patel, also at the table, who runs a Chicago non-profit promoting interfaith communication and sits on President Obama's Faith Advisory Council. Patel, who was on vacation this week, released a statement through his office: "My wife and I had a wonderful experience at the state dinner and we had no reason to think that Carlos was anything but an invited guest."
In one caption, though, Thummalapally describes Allen (who was not named) as sitting next to Indian musician AR Rahman, one of the dinner entertainers.
Also at the table, opposite from Allen: ABC anchor Robin Roberts. After seeing the photos, she said remembered talking with him. "He was charming and engaging and dropping names and talking about the work he does. I didn't think he seemed out of place."
Also, at the table, a few seats away from Allen, was a young woman whom Thummalapally described in a caption as someone "from the WH," and who resembles the president's director of scheduling and advance, Alyssa Mastromonaco.
The Reliable Source
January 8, 2010; 12:50 PM ET
Categories: 44: Obama's Washington , Politics , White House crashers
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