5780962An Obama administration official told CBS News this morning that the e-mails between Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the couple that gained entry into the administration's first state dinner without an invitation, and Michele Jones, special assistant to the Secretary of Defense White House liaison, show definitively that "the Salahis were not invited."
"Nowhere in the e-mails do they receive an invitation, in fact, the e-mails even confirm they showed up knowing they didn't have an invite," said the official.
"All Ms. Jones told the couple is that she was trying, she never told them yes and she even left a voicemail saying sorry it didn't happen," the official said, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports.
The day before the dinner, Jones e-mailed Tareq Salahi to say "it doesn't seem likely" they will be granted access to the dinner, though she was still trying to get them in.
"The e-mails that they said would show they were invited are missing one critically important thing, an e-mail actually inviting them to the White House last Tuesday," added the official. "The e-mails even demonstrate that they showed up even though they knew they didn't have an invite."
The official also addressed the fact that Jones sent an e-mail to the couple saying they are "most welcome" the day after the event.
"Ms. Jones responded that way to be polite, and assumed the Salahis must have obtained tickets some other way because she knew she never told them they could come," said the official. "The e-mails confirm what we have been saying all week, the couple was never invited, by anyone and they still showed up. Also, who shows up to the White House for a State Dinner just because nobody told them not to come? That's not the way it works. If you don't get an invite, you don't show up. There is nothing in there that even hints to these people that they would get in if they showed up, yet they still decided to come."
The couple has acknowledged that they went to the dinner without an invitation, on the chance they had been confirmed at the last minute. They said they did not hear a voicemail telling them they were not on the list because a cell phone had died.
The Salahis e-mailed Jones the day after the dinner and said they showed up at the event "to just check in, in case it got approved since we didn't know, and our name was indeed on the list!"
The House Homeland Security Committee plans to examine the e-mails this week as part of an investigation into how the couple gained entry to the dinner. The Salahis, Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan and White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers have been asked to testify.
Update: At his daily briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said due to separation of powers, Rogers won't testify to Congress.
He also displayed his invitation to the dinner to make the point that no one in invited by e-mail or telephone.