Too bad to check: Secret Service says third person crashed White House state dinner

posted at 4:10 pm on January 4, 2010 by Allahpundit

How many catastrophic or near-catastrophic breakdowns in security has the U.S. suffered in the past two months? Off the top of my head, there’s Fort Hood, Flight 253, the suicide bomber infiltration of the CIA’s base in Afghanistan, and of course this debacle. The failings in each case involve different government agencies so there’s no obvious common thread (except this one?) but I’m gaining new appreciation for those mopey end-of-year pieces by Peggy Noonan and David Brooks about the collapse of American institutions.

The mystery man here evidently made it in via the foreign delegation, which makes this potentially an even more serious breach than the Salahis’. Wonderful.

While Secret Service officials assumed full blame for the presence at that dinner of the now-infamous Tareq and Michaele Salahi, they are blaming the presence of this third gate-crasher on the U.S. State Department.

The statement says that the “subject traveled from a local hotel, where the official Indian delegation was staying, and arrived at the dinner with the group, which was under the responsibility of the Department of State. This individual went through all required security measures along with the rest of the official delegation at the hotel, and boarded a bus/van with the delegation guests en route to the White House.”

For some reason this individuals — unlike the other members of the official Indian delegation — was not entered into the Worker And Visitor Entrance System (WAVES), the security list for those who enter the White House.

I.e. no background check was done. Ronald Kessler, who wrote a book last year about the Service and broke this story this morning at Newsmax, claims that the crasher was invited by someone in the Indian group at the last minute, but that’s actually the least juicy detail in the piece. To hear his sources tell it, the Service has been understaffed and underequipped for years and director Mark Sullivan isn’t inclined to do much about it:

[S]ince it was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the Secret Service has been cutting corners. For example, it does not pass people through magnetometers or shuts down the devices early. It has cut back on the size of counterassault teams. It does not allow agents time for regular firearms requalification or physical training…

The Secret Service official cited the fact that the Secret Service has taken no steps to update security technology. For example, he said, while the uninvited guests passed through magnetometers to detect metal, they could have been carrying biological or chemical weapons or an explosive such as Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab concealed in his crotch on Northwest Airways Flight 253 on Christmas Day…

“To this date, not one high-level person has been held accountable for these failures and corner cutting,” the official said. “Secretary Janet Napolitano has failed to hold this director accountable. He [Sullivan] doesn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. He doesn’t want to ask for more money. He is more concerned about appeasing the administration.”

The official added, “A large majority at headquarters has lost faith in him. Everybody’s waiting for the day he leaves. This agency has some very talented people, and that is clearly lacking in the case of the director.”

Kessler’s sources have been criticized before for axe-grinding in this vein but there’s nothing like a massive White House security breach or two to lend credibility to their grievance. Exit question: Why doesn’t Sullivan demand more money for the agency? It’d be a drop in the ocean of Hopenchange federal spending and, unlike most of the rest of it, would actually be for a good cause. Not a single slender billion can be trimmed from the blubber of TARP and the stimulus to improve high-ranking government security? Good lord.


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Nappy, you’re doin’ a heckuva job.

Cicero43 on January 4, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

kingsjester on January 4, 2010 at 4:15 PM

heckofa job there Barry!

SDarchitect on January 4, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Not a single slender billion can be trimmed from the blubber of TARP and the stimulus to improve high-ranking government security? Good lord.

Seems to me that a few million would be enough to fix these problems.

Maybe congress is holding out. No new money for presidential security until congress gets equal security. Can’t have those smelly vacationers stinking up the Capital building anymore.

/sarc

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Between my first posting, and my second posting, my first posting disappeared. I didn’t threaten anybody, or use any naughty words, so what gives?

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

kingsjester on January 4, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Who knows? No invitation is required.

WashJeff on January 4, 2010 at 4:19 PM

What’s all the fuss? He went through all the required security measures…..er, except the underwear check!

rjoco1 on January 4, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Couple with Private Sector Experience Breaches White House Security http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/11/couple-with-private-sector-experience.html

Mervis Winter on January 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM

There’s also that security breach where they let a guy not born in the US be president.

/troll bait!

lorien1973 on January 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM

yawn

uknowmorethanme on January 4, 2010 at 4:21 PM

“The reason that’s an issue for Obama is that it goes to the bigger question of the competency of his government and the trust that people have in that government.”

Good thing that Obowma was fully vetted by the press during the campaign so the American people would know he was competent for the job…

Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on January 4, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Looks like I know where I’m going for dinner!!!

FontanaConservative on January 4, 2010 at 4:27 PM

I’m calling this the Langoliers presidency.

Everything is simulaneously disintigrating right before our eyes.

DrW on January 4, 2010 at 4:29 PM

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 4:17 PM

type too fast, sometimes that is the problem.

upinak on January 4, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Wow- someone has really loose lips. Look at all that nice, juicy intel about the WH security problems.

I was reading the story about the Israeli company- Terrogence ( undie bomber intel they had weeks ago) and went to their site and their comment about terrorists-

They(the terrorists) work 24/7 to find your Achille’s heel and that is where they attack. They never take a vacation and there is no union. (paraphrase)

And look at what we just dumped in their laps.

journeyintothewhirlwind on January 4, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Looks like I know where I’m going for dinner!!!

FontanaConservative on January 4, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Not so fast.

Do you have ties to radical terrorists or Muslims?

Yes?

Okay, no you can enter.

Mark Boabaca on January 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM

2002 The Department of Homeland Security was established with the passage of (Public Law 107-296) which in part, transfered the United States Secret Service from the Department of the Treasury, to the new department effective March 1, 2003.
2004 Barbara Riggs, a veteran agent of the Secret Service, became the first woman in the agency’s history to be named Deputy Director.
2006 The network of Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Forces expanded from 15 to 24 nationwide task forces dedicated to fighting high-tech, computer-based crimes through successful public-private partnerships.
2007 Protection began for presidential candidate Illinois Senator Barack Obama in May, the earliest initiation of Secret Service protection for any candidate in history. Presidential candidate New York Senator Hillary Clinton already received protection before she entered the race due to her status as former first lady.
2008 The Secret Service marked five years under the Department of Homeland Security. Since 2003, the Secret Service made nearly 29,000 criminal arrests for counterfeiting, cyber investigations and other financial crimes, 98% of which resulted in convictions, and seized more than $295 million in counterfeit currency. The Secret Service investigated and closed financial crimes cases where actual loss amounted to $3.7 billion and prevented a potential loss of more than $12 billion.

Maybe they should have stayed under the control of the treasury department and have their mission scaled back to protection service only.

fourdeucer on January 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM

The failings in each case involve different government agencies so there’s no obvious common thread (except this one?) but I’m gaining new appreciation for those mopey end-of-year pieces by Peggy Noonan and David Brooks about the collapse of American institutions.

I quit reading after this part. Brooks stupid piece claimed we were a bunch of children for overreacting b/c security problems are not rare. But all four breaches here occurred on whose watch? Starts with an O, and all within the past few months. Not sure how you can gain appreciation for an article that fails to support what should be your point.

Erich66 on January 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Well, seriously. This is actually the only thing that I can see that the government is doing for the Obama’s like it does for the rest of us.
They don’t give a rats ass about securing the airlines and apparently the WH gets the same treatment.
I feel so much better.

ORconservative on January 4, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Too bad I don’t eat arugula or fancied up collard greens.

SouthernGent on January 4, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I agree with the article; the astounding incompetence of the O administration is appalling. What’s weird about it is that they’re incompetent at just about everything, great or small, even things that have nothing to do with ideology. Good thing he’s so clean and articulate.

jwolf on January 4, 2010 at 4:35 PM

Third person? This is old news. I reported on this many days ago.

The third person was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Fortunately, for Obama and his court, Umar forgot to waer his underwear or his underwear failed to go off that time too.

MB4 on January 4, 2010 at 4:38 PM

BREAKING NEWS!!!

A fourth person was also thought to have crashed a White House party. His name has not yet been ascertained but several eye witnesses say he was a very tall slender bearded man who was complaining about having kidney problems.

MB4 on January 4, 2010 at 4:41 PM

type too fast, sometimes that is the problem.

upinak on January 4, 2010 at 4:30 PM

I’ve done that before as well, but every previous time I just get a message telling me to wait awhile, it has never deleted my previous post before.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Okay, no you can enter.

Mark Boabaca on January 4, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Is this like “yes, we have no bananas?”

jwolf on January 4, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The system didn’t work.

Sounds like Microsoft’s operating system – bug filled bloatware with only after the fact ad hoc security patched on.

MB4 on January 4, 2010 at 4:46 PM

To Democrats, security is a warm blankey and a majority in both houses.

When that ends this fall, standby for the Mother of All Temper Tantrums.

fogw on January 4, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Rapidly becoming the most Whiskey Tango FOX’ed administration in history…

lovingmyUSA on January 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM

RESET BUTTON, DAMN IT! RESET BUTTON!

ThePrez on January 4, 2010 at 4:51 PM

I can think of a 4th individual who’s credentials weren’t checked before entering the White House. Problem is, he doesn’t just attend the parties there. He hosts them.

TXUS on January 4, 2010 at 4:52 PM

And another thought-

The person who was invited at the last minute obviously cultivated a friendship/relationship with someone in the Indian delegation and made sure to be at the same hotel the delegation was staying at and ask this person to bring them along and went through the same security procedures but was smart enough to elude being put on the WAVES list.

What kind of person is trained to do all of that? An intelligence agent perhaps? One that may have heard rumors earlier in the year that people who weren’t on the security list were getting into the WH parties etc and had to come check it for themselves? And only that person knows which side he/she is really working for….

journeyintothewhirlwind on January 4, 2010 at 4:53 PM

BREAKING NEWS!!!

A fourth person was also thought to have crashed a White House party. His name has not yet been ascertained but several eye witnesses say he was a very tall slender bearded man who was complaining about having kidney problems.

MB4 on January 4, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Hes here for Obamascare
and a deathpanel will finally take care of this person
finally

macncheez on January 4, 2010 at 4:53 PM

B+

Dingbat63 on January 4, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Hes here for Obamascare
and a deathpanel will finally take care of this person
finally

macncheez on January 4, 2010 at 4:53 PM

After he makes his $100,000 contribution to ACORN he will be put on the Cadillac Congressional Health plan. You just better hope you don’t have the same blood type as him or they may demand one of your kidneys.

MB4 on January 4, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Why doesn’t Sullivan demand more money for the agency? It’d be a drop in the ocean of Hopenchange federal spending and, unlike most of the rest of it, would actually be for a good cause

Going to ACORN?

a capella on January 4, 2010 at 5:00 PM

When that ends this fall, standby for the Mother of All Temper Tantrums.

fogw on January 4, 2010 at 4:48 PM

It will be nice referring Barack as “the guy who lives in the White House”.

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 5:02 PM

There was another man who crashed the party…but they were too embarrassed to point that out, so they just let Joe Biden hand around…

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Maybe if they didn’t employ the “rock, scissors, paper” test to see if someone was acceptable to be let in, this wouldn’t have happened…

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Wha? party crashers need to eat too….just because they didn’t do the background check doesn’t mean they aren’t hungry./s

ted c on January 4, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I can’t believe I’m the first to say it!

“The system worked”

Mord on January 4, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Ya know, if someone was paranoid, they might subscribe to a theory that “they” want some spectacular security breach (such as attempted assassination of the first black president) in order to clamp down on all those evil rightwing teabaggers and such.

Fortunately, I am not paranoid, despite what all the doctors at the special hospital say. . .

rbj on January 4, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Special guest stars galore.

Track-A-'Crat on January 4, 2010 at 5:32 PM

I can’t believe I’m the first to say it!

“The system worked”

Mord on January 4, 2010 at 5:13 PM

and what you mean by that is that, after the incident, you were able to notify all of the other hungry party crashers in the area surrounding the white house that there would be no more illicit party crashing that night right? Just clarifying and all, we want to get a good sense of what the “system worked” really means./s

ted c on January 4, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Most incompetent administration in history. America, you voted for these narcissistic dumb kids.

Schadenfreude on January 4, 2010 at 6:03 PM

These people got the nod from Obama-mao…They probably could not pass a background check so Obama winked at head of security…Secret service is taking the fall for the dead head President…

Nozzle on January 4, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Does security just not care anymore? Are they just assuming that Obama is so epic he has a force field around him?

“This is not the security breach you are looking for . . .”

Ingenue on January 4, 2010 at 7:03 PM

Why does Obama want to underfund his own personal security? Very curious.

Disturb the Universe on January 4, 2010 at 7:15 PM

What I love about this particular gaffe is the fact that he just got in the van with the delegation and nobody bothered question his presence! I sincerely hope there is more to this story than it appears (like he has some official capacity in the White House) but I have my doubts.

If I were a world leader, I’d think twice about accepting the honor of being Obama’s second state dinner prop.

highhopes on January 4, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Not a single slender billion can be trimmed from the blubber of TARP and the stimulus to improve high-ranking government security? Good lord.

Given the Obamas’ disdainful attitude towards anything even remotely related to military operational needs, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn of a similar attitude towards the Secret Service.

It would probably take a thwarted attempt on the President’s life to shake him and his administration enough to properly fund the very service dedicated to his health and well being and longevity. Which, if he actually seriously thought about it, will extend for the rest of his natural life. You’d think Obama would be a tad more concerned under the circumstances, but he’s proven to be so clueless about so much during his first year that I’ve come to expect that’s his natural state: Clueless.

KendraWilder on January 4, 2010 at 9:58 PM

I remember when Chelsey Clinton referred to the Secret Service as the PIGs. I wish Obama’s security would tighten up. The last thing we need is for someone to make Obama into the greatest US president ever, with his assassination. If he is assassinated he will become greater than Christ. The aftermath of intercity riots and arson would be catastrophic. When Barry is voted out of office, expect the left to riot and not go peaceably.

Ed Laskie on January 5, 2010 at 5:37 AM