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Americas
Uninvited guests crash Obama dinner
Couple manages to get past security checks and join White House state dinner.
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2009 08:34 GMT
Salahi posted pictures of herself with the US
vice-president on Facebook [Facebook.com]

The United States secret service has said it is investigating how an uninvited couple managed to get past layers of security, and crash a state dinner at the White House.

The stunt was discovered on Wednesday after Tareq and Michaele Salahi posted pictures of themselves on Facebook, posing with Joe Biden, the vice-president, and other guests at the event held a day earlier.

Barack Obama, the president, was hosting Manmohan Singh, India's prime minister, in his administration's first state dinner in Washington.

The White House has asked the secret service for a full review of what happened, an official said.

"Initial findings identified a Secret Service checkpoint which did not follow proper procedures to ensure that the two individuals named in a Washington Post story were on the invited guest list," Edwin Donovan, Special Agent in Charge, said.

He emphasised that the couple "went through magnetometers and other levels of security, as did all guests attending the dinner."

'Went for cocktails'

The Washington Post, which broke the story, described the couple as aspiring
reality TV stars and polo-playing socialites from northern Virginia.

John Terret, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Washington, said: "It turns out that they are contenders for a reality TV programme 'Real Housewives of DC', I think what they were doing was a stunt designed to impress the producers.

"They had their photographs taken with vice-president Biden, with Rahm Emanuel, who is the White House chief of staff, and a number of other celebrities.

"We think they went for cocktails in the East Room. But before they could sit down to dinner, where all the 350 specially-invited guests would have their names written above their plates, the couple just slipped away."

According to The Washington Post, the uninvited guests were in the same room as the Obamas and Singh, but it is not known if they met.

The paper said the couple could face a potential trespassing charge unless someone from inside the White House staff slipped them in.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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