Actually, this was a prequel: It happened two weeks before the Salahis crashed the Indian state dinner. But no matter. A la Pee Wee Herman, the Secret Service insists that they meant to do that.

The Dardens mistakenly showed up a day early for a tour scheduled through their congressman.

The White House and Secret Service both said the Dardens went through the appropriate security screenings and were allowed into the breakfast as a courtesy because there were no public tours the day they arrived…

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said agents performed the same screening procedures on the Dardens that were used for other breakfast guests: They checked the Dardens’ names and did a criminal background check — steps that were not taken for the Salahis at the Nov. 24 state dinner.

Because the Dardens were able to pass Secret Service vetting, they were allowed to attend the breakfast for veterans as a “nice gesture,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. He added that it’s not unusual for White House staff to take people who are cleared in for tours to other events if there is space, including Marine One arrivals, East Room events and Rose Garden ceremonies.

Shapiro said the White House Office of Public Engagement, which Obama created to engage citizens in White House activities, was responsible for clearing in the Dardens, as well as the other breakfast guests. The social office handled admittance to the Indian state dinner.

Follow the link and read to the end to see how close they got to The One. Presumably there’s more to the screening than the AP’s letting on, but the way this reads it sounds like the only thing stopping a tourist potentially from getting within arm’s reach of the president is whether he has a rap sheet. Whether the Service is telling the truth about letting them in as a courtesy or just covering its own ass, they need to rethink this policy. Because the more media coverage there is of people stumbling their way into Obama events, even in cutesy-poo stories like this, the greater the risk that some lunatic is going to try to take advantage. In this as in everything else, weakness invites aggression. And right now, in the public’s eyes, the Service is looking unusually weak.