November 27th, 2009
06:49 PM ET
4 years ago

Secret Service acknowledges failure in state dinner snafu

President Obama meets the Salahis at Wednesday’s state dinner.
President Obama meets the Salahis at Wednesday’s state dinner.

Washington (CNN) - An internal investigation into a couple who crashed the White House state dinner this week has found that Secret Service agents did not follow protocol at a security checkpoint, the agency said Friday.

"The Secret Service is deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances surrounding the State Dinner on Tuesday," the agency said in a statement Friday. "The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list."

Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the couple who allegedly crashed this week's White House state dinner, met President Barack Obama in a reception line at the event, a White House official told CNN on Friday.

An internal investigation has found that Secret Service agents did not follow protocol at a security checkpoint.

Full Secret Service statement after the jump:

STATEMENT BY DIRECTOR MARK SULLIVAN

(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, November 27, 2009, United States Secret Service Director
Mark Sullivan issued the following statement:
“The Secret Service is deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances
surrounding the State Dinner on Tuesday, November 24.

The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established
protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were
on the guest list.

Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening,
they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours.

The Secret Service safely processed more than 1.2 million visitors last year to the White
House complex. In the last several years, the agency has successfully protected more than
10,000 sites for the President, Vice President and other Secret Service protectees,
screening more than 7 million people through magnetometers at campaign related events,
with more than 1 million during the Inauguration alone.

Even with these successes, we need to be right 100% of the time. While we have
protocols in place to address these situations, we must ensure that they are followed each
and every time.

As our investigation continues, appropriate measures have been taken to ensure this is not
repeated.

The men and women of the U.S. Secret Service are committed to providing the highest
level of security for those we are charged to protect, and we will do whatever is necessary
to accomplish this mission.”


Filed under: Extra • White House
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. L

    The secret service fell down on their jobs, I fear this will be the norm. Notice this only happens when the President is African American.

    November 28, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  2. MP

    This should be viewed as the ultimate failure by the secret service. It lucky that President Obama was not assassinated. Surely this deserves more scrutiny than social calls. A" sorry for what happened" SS apology for their near treasonous failure is ridiculous. Is everything okay because the guests were photogenic? This would not be the consequences in any other G8 country. This is a dangerous precedent for those now looking for the right opportunity. These people deserve more than a mere slap on the wrist, otherwise the SS was right to let them in originally. Clearly they were wrong.

    November 28, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. sam

    Mr. President should no that he has many enemies like, Palin, Beck, Hannity and entire G0P! pls dear president shake up ur security service for ur dear life n family!

    November 28, 2009 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  4. vkm

    The secret service personnel is worked thin. They are over stretched .Watch for fatigue at work .

    November 28, 2009 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
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