Another uninvited guest made it to the White House state dinner made famous by Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the Secret Service said on Monday, exposing more holes in US President Barack Obama’s security perimeter.
Unlike the Salahis, this guest got in with the official Indian delegation.
Many key details have not been officially released. But a congressional source identified the man as Carlos Allen, 39, a party promoter. The source saw Allen’s name in official e-mails and documents pertaining to the Secret Service probe.
Ronald Kessler, a journalist with Newsmax.com, reported that the Secret Service discovered the third uninvited guest after examining surveillance video and found one tuxedoed man who did not match any name on the guest list.
The incident began on the evening of November 24 at the Willard Hotel, where the dinner’s guest of honor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and his delegation were staying. Singh traveled separately while his entourage of diplomats gathered to be transported to the White House.
The US State Department was responsible for vetting the list of official delegation members, and the Secret Service sent agents to the hotel to screen them before they boarded the van.
At some point, a group of prominent Indian businessmen — late additions to the dinner guest list — were allowed to join the officials traveling from the Willard. Kessler reports that the Indian embassy had asked the State Department to ferry the executives to the White House — an unusual request for guests visiting the US in a non-official capacity. Allen, a US citizen, was among the group of business leaders.
After boarding the van, the group was driven to the White House, dropped at an unidentified entrance and not subject to further screenings. Allen was free to mingle with officials and VIPs at the cocktail reception, but slipped out before guests sat down for dinner.
An Indian embassy spokesman said that the guest was not a member of the delegation and that the embassy did not arrange for his access, but did not respond to requests for comment about how Allen got on the van. But apparently he knew someone at the embassy: He rode from the embassy with the delegation, the source said.
“This individual went through all required security measures...,” according to a statement released by the Secret Service.
The State Department said, the “incident is under investigation”.
The Secret Service said “procedural changes” have been made to deal with the way foreign delegations enter facilities secured by the Secret Service. It said this is an ongoing criminal investigation and referred inquiries to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which declined to comment.