Third White House crasher is local event planner

AP News
Posted: Jan 05, 2010 7:01 PM

The third gate-crasher at November's White House state dinner turns out to be a local event planner who got in with members of the Indian delegation.

The latest uninvited guest, Carlos Allen, who runs an event business called Hush Galleria in the nation's capital, has met with the Secret Service several times about the incident, Allen's lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The Secret Service did not learn of a third uninvited person who got into the dinner until mid-December, two weeks after a Dec. 3 House hearing about the breach, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because this is an ongoing investigation.

Allen's lawyer said his client is cooperating with the investigation.

"He doesn't feel he did anything wrong," Bolden said, who added that Allen retained him in the last 24 hours.

Hush Galleria promotes itself as arranging black-tie and casual events "to place up-and-coming individuals with elite individuals in our luxury environment for the purpose of assisting and supporting each other to accomplish self enrichment, business enhancement and community patronization."

The Secret Service would not identify the man who is currently under investigation, just like Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the publicity-seeking, would-be reality TV couple whose gate-crashing was disclosed last year. The Secret Service said, unlike the Salahis, the man never got close to the president or the first lady.

Allen traveled to the White House from the hotel where the Indian delegation was staying. The vehicles were paid for by the Indian government, according to a U.S. government official who also requested anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.

The Secret Service said the man arrived with members of that delegation. But he was not in the Secret Service's database of people prescreened and approved to attend the event. Part of the security screening is a criminal background check that the Secret Service does before a guest enters the White House. The Salahis and the man traveling with the Indian delegation did not go through that background check.

But the Secret Service said all three uninvited guests went through other screening, such as metal detectors, before the event.

Allen is a U.S. citizen. His Facebook page says he's a fan of Michaele Salahi.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the agency has reviewed the incident and already made changes for how it handles foreign delegations.

Subpoenas have been issued for the Salahis to testify before Congress on the Nov. 24 incident. Through their attorney, the Salahis have said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify against themselves. The Salahis have been trying to land a part on a Bravo reality show, "The Real Housewives of D.C.," and were filmed by the TV show around town as they prepared for the White House dinner.

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Since it was discovered that they made their way into the dinner without being on the guest list, their lives have been under a microscope. Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is investigating a charitable polo event the Salahis sponsor. The Montgomery County, Md., government filed a lawsuit in December against them for bouncing a check for nearly $24,000.

Three uniformed Secret Service officers have been put on administrative leave because of the security breach. President Barack Obama acknowledged that the system did not work as it should have, but he said the episode hasn't shaken his confidence in his protectors.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan has said the security breach is his agency's fault but that the president was never at risk.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.,said the third uninvited guest represents a pattern of the Secret Service failing to protect the president.


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