Security breach at State dinner for Manmohan Singh
A couple of aspiring reality TV stars gatecrashed the state dinner hosted in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House, clicked pictures with US Vice Prez Joe Biden and other guests and then posted them on their Facebook profile, US media said.Special Coverageworld Updated: Nov 26, 2009 14:14 IST
A couple of aspiring reality TV stars gatecrashed the state dinner hosted in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House, clicked pictures with US Vice President Joe Biden and other guests and then posted them on their Facebook profile, US media said.
A Washington Post report said: "Tareq and Michaele Salahi -- polo-playing socialites -- were seen arriving at the White House and later posted on the Facebook photos of themselves with VIPs at the elite gathering."
"Honoured to be at the White House for the state dinner in honour of India with President Obama and our First Lady!" one of them wrote on their joint Facebook page.
The newspaper said that the couple, both in their 40s, showed up about halfway through the guest arrivals Tuesday night.
A Marine announced their names, and they -- he in a tuxedo, she in a striking red and gold lehenga (traditional Indian wear) -- swept pass reporters and photographers, stopping several times to pose for pictures.
They then walked into the White House lower hallway, where they mingled with guests on the red carpet before heading up to the cocktail reception in the East Room, the Post said.
The report said that the couple clicked pictures with Bollywood composer AR Rahman, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and with a grinning vice president.
While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner.
The uninvited guests were in the same room as President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, although it is unknown whether they met the Obamas and the guest of honour, the newspaper said.
Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said Wednesday: "Everyone who enters the White House grounds goes through magnetometers and several other levels of screenings. That was the case with the state dinner last night. No one was under any risk or threat."
Donovan said a preliminary internal investigation identified "a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedure to ensure these two individuals were on the invited guest list."
An administration official said the White House will conduct its own review.
The couple are reportedly in contention for roles on the forthcoming "The Real Housewives of Washington".
First Published: Nov 26, 2009 13:30 IST