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A third uninvited guest attended White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — A third uninvited guest made his way into the White House state dinner for India's prime minister in November, the Secret Service said Monday.

As the Secret Service was reviewing how an attention-hungry couple — Tareq and Michaele Salahi — got into the dinner without being on the guest list, officials discovered that a third person made it through security without an invitation as well. The Secret Service said the man — whom they would not identify — did not get close to the president or the first lady.

The Secret Service is investigating the Salahis, and the Justice Department is looking into whether they broke any laws. The Secret Service said the other man they just learned of is now under investigation as well.

The man traveled to the White House from the hotel where the Indian delegation was staying. 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.

The man is a U.S. citizen and was with a group of Indian business leaders before the state dinner, a State Department official told the Associated Press, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation. The Indian Embassy asked the State Department to transport the group to the White House dinner, the official said.

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

Three uniformed Secret Service officers have been put on administrative leave because of the security breach.

A third uninvited guest attended White House state dinner 01/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2010 11:04pm]
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