Some in the media are asking, though. Some even turning to recent history...
During President George W. Bush's administration, it was standard procedure to have someone from the White House social office at the gate for state dinners and other events with large groups of visitors, according to a former senior Bush aide who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to be seen as criticizing the Obama White House.That's gonna leave a mark. What about the risks?
The social office is most knowledgeable about the guest list and could have been called in case of any uncertainty, this official said.
However Ronald Kessler, author of a book on the Secret Service, said, "While the couple did pass through a magnetometer to detect weapons, they could have assassinated the president or vice president using other means — anthrax, for example.So who is this Tareq Salahi? Googling finds him associated with wine (vinyards) and also a group called the "American Task Force on Palestine", an advocacy group for the rights of Palestinians, or maybe not, because access is denied when searching under his name. But the cache is still there, showing his picture and a bio on the site. What happened? Searching the site for his name now produces this:
He had an impressive list of social and philanthropic accomplishments, so maybe he scammed them, too, and they airbrushed him away. What other possibilities exist? Surely the media would have told us by now had there been any need to worry, so all's well that ends well on a holiday weekend.
Here's the cached page:
Also, LA in comments asks a good question--who originally leaked the story of gate crashers? The first story I saw was this one, which didn't say. Since the happy couple will be on Larry King Monday night to chat, maybe they will say.
One idea going around is that someone either called the gate and vouched for them or they name dropped an official and BS'd their way in. That's exactly what these folks (thanks Debbie) are saying, which if true is rather chilling.
The Salahis seem more like social butterfly slicksters than dangerous characters, but their penetration into the inner ring of security at the White House should certainly call for a few questions to be asked about Secret Service protocol. My fear is that someone was afraid to hassle them due to the name for a politically correct reason. If that turns out to be anywhere close to the case then we've learned absolutely nothing from the Hasan event.
Here's an Arab-centric web site that says the ATFP airbrushed Mr. Salahi's picture from their board of directors page, saying it was there a week ago. He then goes on to provide insight into his own feelings on the event:
From Tony Rezko to Rashid Khalidi to Major Hasan to the Iraqi resistance and to the Palestinian people — Arabs have been nothing but a sore in the side of a President still accused of being Muslim. Tareq Salahi can be added to the list. I think that’s awesome because it’s not like the man’s doing anything for us anyways.Lots of talk about Rashid Khalidi and ATFP; be was evidently a vice-president for one year after its spin off from the American Committee on Jerusalem in 2005 but doesn't appear to be associated with the group now (although if they airbrushed Mr. Salahi, they could have airbrushed others). Wonder if the LA Times might want to consider releasing that tape now? Maybe some interesting people crashed that party, too.
As an aside: I still think Arab-American activists need to think about our power to hurt politicians by association. We should negotiate with presidential candidates so that we get concessions for backing their opponents. Our negative influence on electoral campaigns is power, too.
As to significance here, not sure whether the fallout will affect the administration or not because these Washington groups get money from all quarters in the great backscratch game and from reading various sites the ATFP is either a bunch of radical Islamists or a stealth outfit set up to hornswoggle American Palestinians. It's certainly odd, though.