Josh Marshall from TPM asks this morning: Big Deal or No? with regards to the two gate crashers at President Obama’s First State Dinner.
But I’m on the side of thinking that it actually is kind of a big deal. We pay a lot of money, for good reason, to keep the White House and the president’s person, super secure. And the idea that these two could just walk right in without even being on a White House wave-in list, let alone the invite list for a State Dinner. Not having weapons isn’t the only issue.
What do you think?
Later he adds another post: Does It All Fit Together, in which he speculates..
…. Remember, the Salahis are apparently friends of the DCM at the Embassy, the second ranking diplomatic official in the building. If someone at the Indian Embassy vouched for the Salahis or in some way facilitated their getting in and someone with the Secret Service went along with that, that would seem like a good example of procedures not being followed. And it’s one that, albeit very serious, strikes me as plausible.
If something like this did happen, it would also explain some of the White House’s silence. Not only is this embarrassing for the White House and the Secret Service, it would also be diplomatically embarrassing for the Indian government — something the White House and State Department would like to avoid.
I fully agree with Josh and here is why:
-> First of all it is atrocious that two socialites (let me assume here that they are ordinary, unsophisticated (in terms of intelligence or spying), technologically un-savvy, common citizens) can be SMART/CREATIVE enough to gate crash the World’s Greatest Super Power President’s dinner right at his house, the White House!!! Can you imagine what an otherwise technologically savvy and sophisticated enemy could have achieved under the same circumstances? Didn’t we learn anything from all the so-called ‘dry-run’ situations leading up to the 2001 tragedy?
-> I read that Ed Donavan, the agency spokesperson is saying that President was not in any danger as the two crashers were subjected to the same magnometer (security) screening for weapons….Hello,what same security screening..??..they HAD NO INVITATION….there is your first DIFFERENCE and BIGGEST RED FLAG, right there at your face… HOW CAN THAT NOT BE AN ALERT by itself..??? What more were you expecting a ‘beep, beep, beep’? or better still a ‘rat-a-tat-tat?’.
-> It doesn’t matter what level of influence these two had with the Indian Embassy. The right question should have been ‘If they were so very influential, how come they did not obtain a legitimate invitation to attend the dinner?’. Why would they need to resort to this kind of sneaking? Someone did not put on their thinking cap, that is for sure!
-> The ultimate responsiblity is with the Secret Service and White House Security and one or more jobs must definitely roll here….no EXCUSES…
let’s keep in mind that:
– This is a President like no other, there are over 400% increase in threats on his life, more from within the country and the last time I blinked, the White House is still within the country.
– This is no ordinary time; there are some people high on temper and low on tolerance who are openly flaunting their hate for this President. Are we waiting for someone to publish a thesis on the modus operandi on how to be successful in this attempt or what?
– There are radio and TV personalities who are constantly calling for rebellion and mutiny against this President.
Folks and Secret Service, please please please.. let us be not 200%, 300% or even 400% but 1000% more alert as we cannot afford to lose this leader and the delicate sliver of hope we have now. Shape Up Secret Service and don’t be hesitant to use this……
you will be greatly surprised to see it work, trust me on this, I have tried it and it worked everytime!!. Amazing isn’t it..??
Both John Cole and Steven Benen whose work I admire largely think that this is no big deal and that MSM and republicans are playing with a ‘balloon’ here..
Here is my response to Steven today:
I read both yours and John Cole’s post as well. While I don’t agree with the MSM’s hyper-cry and republicans alternate universe type-imaginations, there is a something more at stake here and that is ‘How deeply the secret service has let down the whole country by this thoughtless and stupid act?’
When I think of hospital I think good/appropriate healthcare and expect the same.
When I think of police I think protection/service and expect the same.
When I think of secret service I think supreme alertness and uncompromising activities especially when guarding their prime subject.
And here I read about how two ordinary socialite can fool these super-duper secret service, gate crash the world’s greatest super power president’s party, mingle with nary a worry, I think this is very atrocious and must be treated more seriously than Vaughn and Owens crashing weddings and having fancy part food and free booze.
I can’t help speculating that had the lady in question worn a head scarf and the man sported a beard like that ‘greek priest’ and had still gotten away with their act, what would the conversation be like today? Wouldn’t we as a country have been more concerned at the lax in security then..?? Gosh..I shudder!!
Bottom line: this is a major screw up by some folks at the secret service and maybe even WH and they must be held accountable so we ensure no similar occurence. There is a reason why invitations were sent out and there is a reason why all the legitimate invitees stood in line for a long time (for the screening process), both young and old alike. There is a reason as Josh Marshall at TPM points out, we pay big $$ for the secret service.