Is WH Crashgate hinting at dysfunction? – UPDATES

At the news that a couple had “crashed” a White House gathering, I was concerned: is the president safe? I may disagree with him, but he’s the American President, and it is important to know that he is not easily accessible to persons who may wish to do him harm.

According to this story in the New York Times, the initial security in place “worked.”

Brian Williams, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and a guest at the dinner, saw the Salahis arrive when he was waiting in a line of cars to enter the East Gate of the White House. In interviews broadcast on NBC on Thursday, Mr. Williams said the couple’s vehicle was turned away, adding, “Actually the first ring of Secret Service security had worked.”

“After their vehicle was turned away, they hopped out,” Mr. Williams said. “What attracted our attention was there was at least one camera trailing them. And a makeup woman got out and fixed the woman’s hair and then started powdering the man’s forehead.”

The Salahis apparently then joined a line of dinner guests at an entrance for pedestrians. What happened at checkpoints at that entrance is the focus of the Secret Service investigation.

The story took sort of an odd turn, though, didn’t it? The narrative quickly moved from “oh-oh, there were gate crashers,” to perky Katie Couric tweeting:

Met and chatted w state dinner crashers who were incredibly friendly and seemed so comfortable… Shld they be charged? what do u think?

It was a fast change of tone, if you know what I mean; it moved from concern to “nothing to see here,” in the blink of an eye.

Then, the Canada Free Press (not, of course, the US Press) headlines: “Party Crashers” had five-year relationship with Obama before state dinner.

Reading the text, it doesn’t sound like there was a five-year “relationship,” there. But it does sound like paths have crossed enough for faces to be familiar. Gateway Pundit has more.

I am beginning to wonder if the whole “gatecrashing” episode is a bit of a power struggle being played out between the Obama White House (and by that I do not mean the President, himself) and his Secret Service?

Indulge me a second, because the whole story is so strange. A breach of presidential security is made public knowledge; then (amid early whispers that the president may have known the culprits) the story tone lightens and the issue makes to go away. The president, himself, takes his time doing the official “there will be an investigation” thing.

What if what happened is this: this couple talked to someone in the WH, someone on Obama’s staff, like (but not necessarily) Rahm Emmanuel, (or Kalpen Modi, or Robert Gibbs) and said, “hey, remember us? Obama loves us! We’d really like to come to that party” and this White House Accessible Person (WHAP) said, “sure no problem, I’ll get you in…” and then got busy with something else and forgot to clear the additional guests. So they show up, all decked out, and when they are turned away, they call their WHAP, who then gives a wink-and-nod to a member of the security detail about it.

And what if the Pissed Off Secret Service Ensemble, (POSSE) furious that the WHAP did not follow the protocols, decided to play along and let these people in, as a means of waking up the WH staff to just how important it is to follow the rules?

Logic says, “the POSSE is being made to look foolish by this breach, why would they allow themselves to be perceived as falling down on the job?”

But memory says, “it is the job of the Secret Service to protect the president, even from his own follies, or the foolishness of his staff,” even to take a bullet for him, if necessary.

What if the POSSE is taking the blame -taking the bullet, as it were- for this breech, because someone in the WH did not follow procedure? And what if the revelation of past meetings between Obama and these pathetic, attention-hungry “gate crashers” is meant to keep the story just confusing enough to -if not completely absolve the POSSE- make people wonder just who failed, where and when?

What if all of this is the POSSE firing a warning shot across the bow of the White House, saying, “for crying out loud, grow up, stop being sloppy and follow the rules; they are there for your own protection.”

I mean, it’s not like this White House does not have its share-unto-overabundance of arrogant princes who think they’re incapable of making mistakes.

OR, perhaps the WHAP is firing his own warning shot at the POSSE, and it means: “don’t give me such a hard time about trifling stuff that I -of all people- can be trusted to handle, and should not have to answer for, or I’ll make you look inept, careless and incompetent…”

I know it’s unlikely, but this WH has not been shy about playing hardball and throwing weight around. The whole story is unlikely; the story stinks. If someone in the White House is fighting with the Secret Service because he thinks he or she should be beyond their scrutiny or instruction, that is not a good thing. It is a bad thing, indeed.

If the president is unsafe, the whole nation is at risk.

UPDATE I: Hmm, this is interesting:

The White House staff member whose job was to supervise the guest list for state dinners and clear invitees into the events says she was stripped of most of her responsibilities earlier this year, prompting her to resign last June.

The account of Cathy Hargraves, who formerly served as White House “assistant for arrangements,” raises new questions about whether changes that she says were made by President Obama’s social secretary, Desiree Rogers, may have contributed to the security lapses that permitted Virginia socialites Michele and Tareq Salahi to crash the state dinner for India’s prime minister last week and get themselves photographed with the president.

A White House official (who asked not to be named because of the ongoing investigation) has refused to comment on any aspect of Hargraves’s account, saying, “It doesn’t matter,” because the Secret Service has already publicly apologized for violations of its own procedures that allowed the Salahis to crash the Tuesday-night event.

“It doesn’t matter.” Emphasis mine. It doesn’t matter, because the POSSE already took the blame.

So, you see…”there is nothing to see, here.”

I’m pretty sure there probably is. Something to see.

UPDATE II: Per Lynn Sweet: The Salahi’s are being called to testify before a House panel. Now they get the attention they want, but I doubt we’ll get any answers. It is appropriate for the House to investigate. I only wish they would be so enthusiastic about investigating ACORN, or the ClimategateScam.

UPDATE III: Seems I am not far off the mark

Ed Morrissey has more
Althouse: talking about Gatecrashers and Rush Limbaugh

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  • Ellen

    Maybe this chick is BO’s ML?

  • Blackthorne

    Who woulda thunk it, that a year after the installation of the current regime, so many of us reasonably sane and trusting citizens would become so cynical and suspicious of just about everything that comes out of this White House!
    I will never forgive them for making me so, and for forcing us all to imagine the most convoluted scenarios for their behavior. Whenever they state one thing, I automatically assume the oposite. Every major policy announcement is a diversion for somethng they’re trying to hide, and it’s all in aid of a scheme that one year ago would have been too horrid to contemplate: the destruction of our country and our way of life!

    May God help deliver us from this evil!

  • racVT

    Did the White House (WH) record the visitors the entry and exit of the after they were admitted?
    Or did the Obama WH set up some ‘back-door’ way for visitors to enter the WH without a record of their visit?

  • Kris, in New England

    As implausible as it sounds, with this administration I wouldn’t doubt that there is more truth to it than myth.

    They are all about themselves.

  • dymphna

    This was all a stunt and I’m sure these people didn’t really “crash”. Somebody in the WH knew full well that they were coming.

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  • Peter from MN

    From day one, I’ve wondered about the Obama’s and their administration’s respect, or even interest, in White House protocol. When President and First Lady Obama met the Bush’s at the front door of the White House on Inaugural Day, it looked like that scene out of the movie “MASH” where everybody was extending their hand to everybody else and introducing themselves. President Bush had to take the reins and direct the Obama’s on who should shake whose hand and in what order. It was a small thing that told a larger story.

  • Judith L

    I have no idea of exactly how this duo gained entry, but what strikes me is how well they fit it with the general level of Friends of Obama.

  • Doc

    This reminds me a bit of the plotline of Vince Flynn’s Transfer of Power, the book that introduces the Mitch Rapp character, where the head of the DNC gets a fat check from a terrorist posing as an Arab sheik and works with the POTUS’ chief of staff to bypass the Secret Service and get the imposter in to see the president.

    The Secret Service has every right to be ticked off about a lapse like this. They damn well better tighten it up.

    And, to beat a dead horse, can you imagine the way the corporate media would be flaying a Republican White House over something like this?

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  • Alice

    Very intriguing thoughts, Anchoress.

    It would also be a major disaster if someone crashed a state dinner to get at the visiting head of state or an ambassador who was also a guest.

    For months I jokingly thought of Obama as our first foreign president, in the same sense that Clinton was said to be our first black president. After the bows and apologies and ‘transformations’ of protocol bordering on insults, I think of him as our first tourist president.

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  • http://disquis freelancer

    Then there is the natural thought that if these two crazy kids could bypass the security measures, intended and designed to protect the most powerful leader in the world, for their wannabe celebrity lark, how may other uninvited guests, interlopers, managed to break through security as well? Nothing about this administration surprises me, even the thought of infighting politics trumping national security. Sloppy protocol has become a trademark of this administration and I doubt that time will improve their attitude or gain them wisdom.

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  • Kerry

    “If the president is unsafe, the whole nation is at risk”, …because next in line comes the world’s only living brain donor and the Medusa of FranciscoBay? (This current unpleasantness of a prez has run my cynicism political meter up to eleven, where it has jammed. However: “IHS”)