Published November 19, 2003
LONDON – Buckingham Palace (search) launched an investigation Wednesday into how it hired a journalist with a fake reference to be one of the servants assigned to serve President Bush's party.
The Daily Mirror (search) newspaper, claiming to have exposed a security breach at Buckingham Palace, said its reporter had been given full access to Queen Elizabeth II's (search) residence on his first day on the job two months ago.
The Mirror said reporter Ryan Parry had been due to serve breakfast Wednesday morning to key Bush aides. It said Parry quit his job as a royal footman at midnight Tuesday.
"We keep being told this is the biggest security operation of all time and it seems to me to beggar belief that we could get to a situation, as we did last night, where our journalist was detailed with serving breakfast on the presidential floor this morning and at the state banquet tonight," Mirror editor Pierson Morgan said.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's (search) office had no immediate comment.
"We have every confidence in the British security," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said. She referred all other questions to British officials.
Buckingham Palace was conducting a "full investigation" into the incident, a royal spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity. Security outside the palace was heavy Wednesday morning ahead of the official welcome ceremony for Bush.
The Mirror published photos said to depict the rooms in Buckingham Palace where Bush and his wife Laura are staying, and said Parry had a full view of the presidential couple arriving Tuesday evening.
"Had I been a terrorist intent on assassinating the queen or American President George Bush, I could have done so with absolute ease," Parry said.
"Indeed this morning I would have been serving breakfast to key members of his government, including National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell," he added.
Parry said he gave one real reference and one fake reference when he applied for work at the palace. He said he was given an all-areas security pass on his first day at work.