Published November 28, 2009
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 27, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: And now to a story that just keeps getting more bizarre by the minute. Who could ever forget this classic scene from the movie "The Wedding Crashers"?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate to see you like this, but we got to look at reality here. There's going to be Secret Service at this thing. They have pictures of us. There's not a shot in hell we can get into this thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're so cautious. I'm more of a risk taker. I'm two steps ahead of you and 10 steps ahead of Secret Service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, (INAUDIBLE) baba ganoush special. We're waiters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: Well, tonight life is strangely imitating art as a Virginia couple proved when they were able to not only crash the president's first state dinner Tuesday night...
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. and Mrs. Salahi...
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BREAM: Yes, that couple rubbed elbows with Washington's top brass. Here they are with chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and getting cozy with the vice president. Also, they got to shake hands with the commander-in-chief.
But this isn't a movie and top officials are not laughing. Tonight, the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Secret Service, says, quote, "I am calling for a full investigation of how this shocking breach of security was allowed to happen and what is being done to make sure that it never happens again."
Here now with the latest is our Molly Henneberg in Washington -- Molly.
MOLLY HENNEBERG, FOX CORRESPONDENT: Shannon, Fox has confirmed that the couple not only got in but also met President Obama in the receiving line. Also today, in a statement, a Secret Service director Mark Sullivan (ph) says the agency is, quote, "deeply concerned and embarrassed" that the couple was able to get past security. Sullivan goes on to say, quote, "Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely. That failing is ours. As our investigation continues, appropriate measures have been taken to ensure this is not repeated."
But there are still questions tonight about how this could have happened.
(VOICE-OVER): It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser, as Alice once said, but in this wonderland called Washington, how did Tareq Michaele Salahi get into Tuesday night's state dinner at the White House? The White House says no, they weren't on the guest list. And today, the first lady brushed off a question about it. But an attorney for the couple told Fox cryptically, quote, "My clients were cleared by the White House to be there. More information is forthcoming."
Hair stylist Peggy Iokin (ph) helped Michaele get ready for the event.
PEGGY IOKIN, HAIR STYLIST: I asked her, I said, Where's your invitation? Do you have it with you? Can I see it? And she was really excited to show me and she actually was going in her purse to get it.
HENNEBERG: But apparently couldn't find it. The Salahis, who are being considered for the Bravo TV reality series "The Real Housewives of D.C.," live 90 minutes west of Washington in Front Royal (ph), Virginia.
HENNEBERG: The Secret Service says it has not ruled out the possibility of filing criminal charges against the couple. As for the reality show series, Bravo TV tells Fox that camera crews were following the Salahis that day but were not on White House grounds and that the couple said they were invited to the dinner, and producers, quote, "had no reason to believe otherwise" -- Shannon.
BREAM: All right, thank you so much, Molly.
Now joining us is Scott Alswang, who is a 20-year veteran of the Secret Service, served on details for all the presidents from Reagan all the way through George W. Bush. Scott, welcome tonight.
SCOTT ALSWANG, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Thank you.
BREAM: You don't actually sound surprised that something like this could happen.
ALSWANG: There -- when there's -- it is the first state dinner. It was a big night for the Obamas. The rain -- it was kind of like a perfect storm coming together. The rain was bad. There was probably numerous arrivals. There -- staffers are always happy to get the people in and get them out of the street and getting their clothes dirty or soiled. And the only procedure I think that the fell through the cracks was that they weren't on the list, but they were cleared as far as their credentials went and they went through magnetometers. They went through all the security procedures. And once they were in, I guess they were just placed on the list. That's why they were announced into the room itself.
BREAM: Now, how concerned should we be that these people got all the way to the president? Because somebody who wasn't invited to this event, despite getting through the magnetometers, could they have something else with them? What could happen to somebody who gets to the president?
ALSWANG: Well, I think that, in addition to the magnetometers, there's proper protocol to check for all kinds of different devices that might be on anybody, including someone in the room that was on the guest list, whether it was a congressman, a senator, a VIP or an entertainer. There are layers of protection within the room. There are agents in the room. There are different types of devices, cameras and people monitoring things that would ensure the president's safety. And there's not an agent -- there's agents close enough to the person to -- any suspicious person to make sure that they're well protected.
BREAM: Now, Secret Service has put out a statement saying this is now their top priority, their top investigation. Obviously, some folks embarrassed. And I got to ask you what it's going to do to their careers? Could people be losing their jobs over this?
ALSWANG: I think the possibility of somebody being reprimanded is probably going to happen. I think it may be a shared responsibility between our agency and the White House staff. It may not just total blame on the Secret Service. But obviously, as our director -- or my former director has stated, he is embarrassed for the agency, and we're going to find out what happened and tighten it up and make sure it never happens again.
BREAM: And in your opinion, I guess, it's got to be tighter than ever right now.
ALSWANG: Absolutely. Absolutely.
BREAM: All right.
ALSWANG: We learn from these mistakes.
BREAM: You certainly do, and we'll all be watching. A congressional investigation apparently coming, as well. Scott Alswang, thank you so much.
ALSWANG: Thank you.
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