White House Closes Crashers Case

Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009  |  Updated 6:47 AM EDT
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The White House is putting an end to the investigation of a security breach at the state dinner on Nov. 24, the Washington Post reported.

Despite unanswered questions, the House Committee on Homeland Security is obeying the White House's request to cease and desist investigating.

And yet one central part -- the participants and the discussion at a dinner planning meeting between representatives from White House social secretary Desirée Rogers's office and the Secret Service -- is being guarded by the administration as a virtual state secret. White House press officers decline to acknowledge the meeting or say who attended or what was said. Rogers declined to comment for this report.

The couple at the center of this comedy -- celebrity wannabes Michaele and Tareq Salahi -- still insist they went to the dinner thinking they might be on the guest list.

A production company shooting for a potential reality show -- Bravo's "The Real Housewives of D.C." -- followed the Salahis around as they got prepared for the dinner.

According to the Post report, a representative from the production company tried to get confirmation that the Salahis were confirmed guests, but the representative's e-mail went to a generic inbox and no reply was sent.

Abby Greensfelder, the owner of Half Yard Productions, said the couple unequivocally portrayed themselves as state dinner invitees.

"We took them at their word and filmed their preparations for the event," said Greensfelder. "Half Yard Productions had no part in planning their presence at the event."

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, said he isn't concerned with Michele Jones, the Pentagon official who tried to get the Salahis tickets to the event, because she was just trying to help out. That effort may have convinced the Salahis to take a chance at getting in to the party. But the driver of the limo that whisked the Salahis from a Georgetown salon that evening said that the couple gave the impression they had misplaced their invitation, not that they were hoping an invite came through at the last minute.

What remains a concern, though, is the fact that they did get through security and into the party despite not getting on the guest list.

The Salahis were asked to testify to the Homeland Security Committee about the breach but refused. Before the committee voted to subpoena the couple, they issued statements that they would invoke the Fifth Amendment if questioned because the committee and media has already vilified them. If they lied to get through security, they deserve the vilification.

In the month since the incident, the Secret Service has put three members on administrative leave. President Barack Obama has said the screw up that got the Salahis through security will not happen again.

Meanwhile, the Salahis are getting their celebrity, though it may not be that which they craved. Their dirty laundry includes accusations of unpaid debts, bogus charitable endeavors, crashing the Redskins cheerleading squad and even a phony watch.

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