Page last updated at 04:03 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

White House state dinner 'gatecrashers' probed


Tareq and Michaele Salahi's gatecrash a "real concern" for former FBI agent Brad Garrett

The US Secret Service is investigating reports that a couple gatecrashed Tuesday night's state dinner at the White House, US media say.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi were reportedly not invited but later posted photos of themselves on Facebook.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the pair were screened and the president was never in any danger.

The state dinner honouring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first of the Obama presidency.


The Washington Post described the Salahis as "polo-playing socialites" with Ms Salahi said to be on the cast of the Real Housewives of Washington television programme.

It quoted a publicist for the couple as denying they had gatecrashed, saying that the pair "were honoured to be a part of such a prestigious event".

Mr Donovan confirmed an investigation was under way, but said there had been no danger.

"Everyone that goes into the White House grounds goes through magnetometers and other levels of screening," he said.

Mr Donovan said the pair had not been shown out and it is not known whether they had a seat for dinner.

The couple posed for photographs on arrival and headed to the East Room cocktail reception, the Post said.

Mr Singh was received with more pomp and ceremony than any previous foreign visitor to Mr Obama's White House, with the lavish state dinner hosting 320 - or perhaps 322 - people.

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