(PHOTO CREDITS: Getty Images)
Washington (CNN) - – Secret Service security officials at a perimeter checkpoint failed to "get on the phone" to ask about a couple not listed as guests who sought entry to last week's White House state dinner, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.
The couple was allowed into the event in a security breach at the first state dinner of President Barack Obama's administration.
Tareq and Michaele Salahi met Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other top White House officials during the dinner held for visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The couple was not invited to the event, according to the administration.
Asked repeatedly at his daily briefing about what happened, Gibbs blamed the problem on a lack of communication between the initial screening point and White House organizers.
"If somebody was confused about whether or not somebody was on a list at a guard tower on the perimeter, then why not get on the phone and ask," Gibbs said.
Pressed about the possibility that no one from the White House social office was at the perimeter checkpoint, as reportedly occurred at previous White House dinners, Gibbs said the point is that the Secret Service security crew didn't ask about the couple.
"None of that relay happened between the Secret Service and the social office, whether the social office was at the gate or on the phone in the office," Gibbs said.
Earlier Monday, another administration spokesman said Obama still has "full confidence" in the ability of the Secret Service to protect the first family.
"The president believes that the men and women of the Secret Service put their lives on the line every day to protect him, his family and many others," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, adding: "He thinks that they do an exceptional job, that they are heroes and they have his full confidence."
An internal investigation into the incident has found that Secret Service agents did not follow protocol at the security checkpoint.
"The Secret Service is deeply concerned and embarrassed by the circumstances surrounding the state dinner on Tuesday," the agency said in a statement last week. "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."
Shapiro and Gibbs both noted that the White House has asked the Secret Service to do a full review of the incident.
The "Secret Service said they made a mistake and they are taking action to identify exactly what happened and they will take the appropriate measures pending the results of their investigation," Shapiro said.
At his later briefing, Gibbs said it would be up to the Secret Service and the U.S. attorney to decide if the Salahis should face criminal charges.
Also Monday, Defense Department official Michele Jones denied in a statement obtained by CNN that she helped try to get the couple on the list for the state dinner.
"I did not state at any time, or imply that I had tickets for ANY portion of the evening's events," Jones said in a prepared statement released by a White House official. "I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening's activities. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come."
Jones is a special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and serves as the Pentagon's liaison to the White House. The Washington Post reported that the Salahis have turned over copies of an e-mail exchange with Jones to Secret Service investigators.
Updated: 8:30 p.m.
–CNN's Ed Henry contributed to this report.