Feds Investigating How Uninvited Couple Got Into White House Dinner - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Feds Investigating How Uninvited Couple Got Into White House Dinner

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Secret Service confirmed Wednesday that two people without invitations crashed President Barack Obama's first White House state dinner.

Edwin M. Donovan, a Secret Service special agent, said in a statement that a Secret Service checkpoint "did not follow proper procedures" to determine if the two were on the guest list for the dinner Tuesday night.

Playing down any security threat, Donovan's statement said: "It is important to note that these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of security, as did all guests attending the dinner."

The incident represents a security breach for the White House at the biggest social event so far of the Obama administration. More than 300 guests, including Cabinet members, diplomats and Hollywood celebrities, attended the dinner in honor of visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"The Secret Service has tasked our Office of Professional Responsibility with conducting a comprehensive review of the incident," Donovan's statement said.

The statement confirmed the dinner crashers were a couple identified by the Washington Post as Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The newspaper described the couple as polo-playing socialites from northern Virginia.

Video footage of the dinner showed the couple walking past journalists into the event. On Wednesday, the couple's Facebook page included photos of them at the dinner, including two with Vice President Joe Biden and another with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, who was identified on the page as "Ron" Emanuel.

Their names did not appear on the guest list distributed Tuesday by the White House.

In an e-mail to CNN, Mahogany Jones, who identified herself as a publicist for the Salahis, said the couple had "full clearance to attend the state dinner."

Fran Townsend, a homeland security adviser to former President George W. Bush, told CNN the incident likely involved a breakdown at the "perimeter" security for the event, which is the first checkpoint that guests encounter. Lying to the Secret Service could bring a felony charge, Townsend added. The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta

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