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White House Gate Crashing Incident Snowballs

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 30, 2009 8:20PM

Official White House photo by Samanth Appleton

Do you recognize the couple pictured above with President Obama? A week ago, we would have all said no. But thanks to some shenanigans by a pair of gate-crashing, reality show grubbing jerkstores during one of the slowest news weeks of the year, we can't help but know. Tareq and Michaele Salahi, previously known for nothing at all, are finalists for a D.C.-based edition of Bravo's love letter to why the terrorist hate us, the "Real Housewives of..." series. Without an invite, the couple showed up to last week's White House state dinner - held in honor of India's Prime Minister Singh who was visiting - and managed to give the security the slip. The couple isn't on the list of guests released to the AP, anyway. After a photo of the couple with VP Joe Biden surfaced, initial reports claimed that the couple didn't meet Obama. As the photo above - released by the White House - shows, though, they sure as hell did.

And now a committee has to take up an issue that, as absurd as the notice being given to these attention whores might be, is actually pretty serious: How the hell did two people who shouldn't have been anywhere near the President wind up shaking hands with him? The House Homeland Security Committee has asked the Salahis to attend a hearing this week that is going to examine the security gap that allowed the couple to get past everyone and perhaps other potential issues. Mark Sullivan, head of the Secret Service, issued a formal apology for the lapse, saying:

"This is a time for answers, recognition of security deficiencies past and present, and remedies to ensure the strength of the Secret Service and the safety of those under its protection...This is not the time for political games or scapegoating to distract our attention from the careful oversight we must apply to the Secret Service and its mission. My confidence in the management of the Secret Service hangs in the balance."

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.