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White House Crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi: E-Mails Indicate Couple Came Uninvited

5803574Photo: The Salahis with President Obama.

WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) The e-mail trail seems to blow up the story of White House crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi, as the spotlight-seeking couple spins a tale of how they supposedly got invited to President Barack Obama's first state dinner.

PICTURES: White House Crashers' Celebrity Pals

The Salahis pressed a friendly Pentagon aide for over four days to obtain tickets to the gala, yet copies of e-mails between the parties undercut the Salahis' claims that they were expected guests.

Meanwhile, a congressional committee awaits the couple's arrival Thursday in response to an invitation-only hearing into the state of White House security.

5815932Photo: The Salahis with Vice President Joe Biden.

PICTURES: White House Crashers' Celebrity Pals

By their own admission in the e-mails, the Salahis showed up at the White House gates at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 without an invitation, "to just check in, in case it got approved since we didn't know, and our name was indeed on the list!"

But the Secret Service has said they were not on that list and that it erred by letting them in anyway.

In an e-mail sent just hours after last week's dinner to Pentagon aide Michele Jones, the Salahis claimed a dead cell phone battery prevented them from hearing Jones' voicemail earlier that day advising them they did not make the guest list.

5803574Photo: The Salahis with President Obama.

PICTURES: White House Crashers' Celebrity Pals

A collection of e-mails between the Salahis and Jones was obtained Tuesday night by The Associated Press from a source who got them in a manner that confirmed their authenticity.

Last week's White House caper has captivated a capital where high-end social life and celebrity eruptions frequently enliven the day-to-day business of governing.

President Obama and first lady Michelle are described as angry. And the Salahis asked a national television audience to take their word that the e-mail exchange would show that they were invited to the dinner for Singh.

Tuesday evening, the administration said it will make at least one change to its practices for invitation-only events: The White House social office will go back to making sure that one of its staff members will be present at the gates to help the Secret Service if questions come up, the first lady's communication director, Camille Johnston, said.

Johnston maintained that this has been an existing policy, but the White House and Secret Service have said no such person was present last week as guests arrived for the dinner.

Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley said the plan for the dinner did not call for a social office employee to be at the gate but agents didn't call the office to ask for assistance or clarification.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday the decision to station social office staff at the security checkpoint during events was implemented Tuesday night, when the White House threw a party for nearly 100 volunteers who spent the past few days decorating the White House for Christmas.

As for Thursday's congressional hearing, the White House declined the House Homeland Security committee's request that its social secretary, Desiree Rogers, testify. Gibbs cited the separation of powers between the executive and legislature and a history of White House staff not testifying before Congress.

Gibbs also said of Rogers that the first family is "quite pleased with her performance."

The committee's top Republican, Rep. Peter King, who had requested that Rogers testify, said White House staff members have testified in Congress before.

"The White House is creating a needless confrontation and is raising serious issues about its judgment on the night of the state dinner," King said. "I'm strongly, strongly urging the White House to reconsider."

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan is expected to testify. And the committee is waiting to see if the Salahis will show as well.

MEDIA
PICTURES: White House Crashers Celebrity Pals

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  • Ryan Smith

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