The Salahis at the White House state dinner: Questions, anyone?
The episode of "The Real Housewives of D.C." airing on Bravo this week shows the circumstances surrounding the event that launched Tareq and Michaele Salahi to national notoriety -- their uninvited appearance at the White House state dinner for India last fall.
Come back later for our weekly Housewives recap and fact-check. In the meantime -- what exactly happened at the White House? The Washington Post first broke the story after the Salahis walked the red carpet at the dinner despite not being on the guest list; the White House confirmed they had not been invited. Nonetheless, they managed to get in and shake hands with President Obama in the receiving line. The incident was a huge embarrassment for the White House, pointing out a major flaw in security.
The junior Secret Service agents responsible for admitting them were later placed on leave. Social Secretary Desiree Rogers was widely criticized for not having a member of her staff at the door to help check the guest lists; she resigned a few months later. Emails later showed that the Salahis had begged Pentagon official Michele S. Jones, a friend of a friend, to help them get an invitation, and that she had basically promised to try to help. But she did not get them an invitation, and emails released by the Salahis' lawyers indicated she did not lead them to believe they were invited either. At best, the emails suggest the couple may have been naive about the exclusive nature of the event as they decided to go ahead to the White House just "in case" they had landed on the list.
At the time, Bravo's local production company Half Yard had already spent a few months taping the Salahis, as well as several other couples, though they hadn't officially announced the cast. And a camera crew followed the Salahis to the White House that night, though the crews split away when they went in the gate; producers later said they took the Salahis' word for it that they were invited. When called before a congressional committee investigating the White House breach, the Salahis pleaded the fifth. While a grand jury was convened to look into the matter, the investigation is moving slowly, with the feds insisting they have not yet ruled out filing charges.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi crash Obamas' state dinner for India (11/26/2009)
Secret Service says procedures not followed (11/27/2009)
Salahis sought gala access through a Pentagon door (12/1/2009)
E-mails suggest confusion over state dinner invite (12/2/2009)
The party crashers: Turmoil in the White House (12/21/2009)
The Reliable Source
| September 30, 2010; 7:57 PM ET
Categories: Real Housewives of D.C., White House State Dinner, White House crashers
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