Aspiring reality-TV stars crash White House state dinner

Photograph from the Facebook album of Michaele Salahi, Photograph from the Facebook album of Michaele Salahi, showing Vice President Joe Biden, Tareq and Michaele Salahi who appear to have crashed the White House state dinner on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Facebook

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WASHINGTON -  A couple of aspiring reality-TV stars from northern Virginia appear to have crashed the White House's state dinner Tuesday night, penetrating layers of security with no invitation to mingle with the likes of Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Tareq and Michaele Salahi -- polo-playing socialites best known for a bitter family feud over a Fauquier County, Va., winery and their possible roles in the forthcoming "The Real Housewives of Washington" -- were seen arriving at the White House and later posted on Facebook photos of themselves with VIPs at the elite gathering.

"Honored to be at the White House for the state dinner in honor of India with President Obama and our first lady!" one of them wrote on their joint Facebook page at 9:08 p.m.

But a White House official said the couple was not invited to the dinner, not included on the official guest list and never seated.

A woman describing herself as a publicist for the Salahis denied that they were interlopers.

Pressed for details, Mahogany Jones sent a statement saying simply: "The Salahis were honored to be a part of such a prestigious event.  .  .  . They both had a wonderful time."

While the White House offered no official explanation, it appears to be the first time in modern history that anyone has crashed a White House state dinner, raising questions about a security breach.

The uninvited guests were in the same room as President Barack  Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, although it is unknown whether they met the Obamas and the guest of honor.

"Everyone who enters the White House grounds goes through magnetometers and several other levels of screenings," said Ed Donovan, a spokesman for the Secret Service. "That was the case with the state dinner last night. No one was under any risk or threat."

Donovan said the Secret Service is "looking into a report that individuals not on the guest list were admitted to the event." That would be illegal, according a law enforcement source, a potential trespassing charge -- unless someone from inside the White House staff slipped them in.

The Salahis, both in their 40s, showed up about halfway through the guest arrivals. A Marine announced their names, and the couple -- he in a tux, she in a red and gold lehenga (traditional Indian formalwear) -- swept past reporters and photographers, stopping several times to pose for pictures.

Once inside the dinner tent, they got pictures that appeared to show them with ABC's Robin Roberts, Emanuel, and two with a grinning vice president.

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