U.S. News

Third uninvited guest got into White House dinner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A third uninvited guest made it into a White House state dinner in honor of the Indian prime minister, but there is no evidence the person had contact with the president or first lady, the Secret Service said on Monday.

President Barack Obama (second left) greets Michaele Salahi (C) and her husband Tareq (R) during a state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) at the White House on November 24, 2009. REUTERS/Samantha Appleton-The White House/Handout

In a second security lapse at the November 24 event, the person, who was not identified, traveled from a Washington hotel where the Indian delegation was staying and arrived at the dinner with the group, which was under the responsibility of the U.S. 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,” the Secret Service said.

A Secret Service spokesman was not immediately available to comment on whether the individual had any contact with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or came close to the visiting leader.

An Obama administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the man was a U.S. citizen, was not seated at the dinner, did not appear to have mingled or approached any guests and left the event early.

The State Department had arranged transportation for a group of Indian chief executives from their hotel to the dinner at the Indian Embassy’s request, said a State Department official, who spoke on condition that he not be named.

The official said he did not know the identity of the person who slipped into the group of CEOs and was transported to the White House.

The Washington Post said a congressional source identified the person as Carlos Allen, a Washington, D.C. party planner.

The person was not on the White House guest list. The individual did not go through the receiving line, unlike a Virginia couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, whose previously reported unauthorized attendance at the dinner has prompted a review of procedures and criminal investigation.

Besides coming within feet of Singh, the Salahis shook hands with President Barack Obama.

The White House declined immediate comment beyond the Secret Service release.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Bill Trott and Eric Walsh