News programs had a field day with the party crashing incident at the White House last Tuesday night. The headline from the first State Dinner held by Team Obama is that it was infiltrated by a couple from northern Virginia - a couple well known within the polo playing, social climbing, lawsuit haggling set.
Not only are they tacky, tacky, tacky party crashers at the highest societal levels, but they, at least the wife, seem to be resume padders, too. Michaele and Tareq Salahi made it all the way to the Blue Room and shook the hand of President Obama and the Indian Prime Minister, too. Smiling for the cameras, there is photographic evidence of the coup - pictures with VP Biden and Rahm Emanuel, in particular.
All of this happened with a Bravo TV camera crew in tow. That is the truly odd part. Was there no notice of that unusual tidbit? Did cable television personnel legitimatize these impostors during any screening that took place?
So, the question is, how did this happen? On a Sunday morning talk show Dana Perino, former G.W. Bush press secretary, mentioned that during the transition the Obama people inquired as to the feasibility of dismantling the security protocol during events at the White House. Team Obama declared the process unnecessary. Perino implied that Team Obama felt it was much ado about nothing.
Was White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers to blame? According to a report by ABC News Yunji de Nies Rogers was not at the gate checking the guest list at the East Gate portico entrance, nor was anyone from her office. Rogers was in attendance, though, and answering the important questions, such as which designer dress she was wearing.
Former White House staffer Cathy Hargraves told Newsweek that she supervised guest lists and ushered guests into the White House. She also turned away those not on the guest list. She resigned in June, however, after her responsibilities were cut to the point that she was a data entry clerk in the East Wing. Rogers changed the job and shifted the responsibilities. Another former White House staffer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told ABC News that had Hargraves been at her former post that night, this incident would have never happened.
Another rookie administration misstep? Or does it point to the broader picture of an administration in such a bubble of denial of the dangers of our world that security protocols are simply outdated and unnecessary? More than one level of security checks was violated. These impostors reached the President and his honored guest. In today's world, it is not just guns and knives that are to be checked with metal detectors. That is so last century. In today's world, we must be vigilant of the dangers of chemical and biological attack, too, from bad actors.
This couple of party crashers must be prosecuted. A strong message must be sent that this is not tolerable behavior, especially in our White House. Even if a reality show hangs in the balance.