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Gatecrashing the White House
After reality-TV wannabes snuck into a White House dinner, Obama's security team — and his safety — are under question
Michaele Salahi posing with vice president Joe Biden.
Michaele Salahi posing with vice president Joe Biden.
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n what's been called the most shocking case of gatecrashing "since the ghost of Banquo appeared at Macbeth's table," Virginia socialites Tareq and Michaele Salahi managed to sneak into Tuesday's White House state dinner honoring India's prime minister. Once inside, the couple, who are auditioning for Bravo's reality show "Real Housewives of DC," somehow tricked vice president Joe Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and other esteemed guests into photo ops. Although the Secret Service says it's reviewing its security procedures, how safe could our President be when Reality TV scammers can so easily infiltrate his home?

Obama could have been in real danger: The Secret Service denies that the President was in jeopardy, says security expert Ronald Kessler, as quoted in the Associated Press, because the couple had passed through a metal detector. But guns aren't the only threat. The party-crashers "could have assassinated the President or vice president using other means — anthrax, for example.” Since the Secret Service failed to do background checks, it had no way of knowing if the couple had a history of murder or terrorism.
"Secret Service facing heat following success of White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi"

This probably wasn't a security breach: It just doesn't seem possible that the couple slipped past the highly "detail-oriented" uniformed division of the Secret Service, says Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. More likely, the Salahis "got onto the grounds legitimately," perhaps with a White House staffer, before sneaking into the dinner. "It's embarrassing, sure, but a much less serious security problem."
"How do you crash a White House state dinner?"

Hooray for harmless gatecrashing! “Oh, how it gladdens the heart!” says Sebastian Shakespeare in the London Evening Standard, to discover that this couple made it past the “clipboard Nazis” at the White House. Who doesn't love someone with a “healthy disregard for the rules" and a willingess to risk “life, limb and dignity” for a “glass of warm white wine and a stale canape.” Bravo to the “thrillingly illicit” Salahis.
"Hats off to the White House gatecrashers"

It's time for a shake-up at the Secret Service: This incident is symptomatic of the "lax standards" that have characterized the Secret Service since it was absorbed into the Homeland Security Department in 2003, says Ron K in the New York Daily News. The Service needs a new boss who can change its "culture" and agitate to have its "pathetically" small budget "doubled or tripled."
"Success of White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi is disgrace for Secret Service"

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SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST ON THE WHItE HOUSE GATECRASHERS:
The Salahis: Fact vs. fiction
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