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