The White House party-crashers may have kicked off a good thing without even knowing it.
When Tareq and Michaele Salahi strode past the Secret Service during President Obama’s first state dinner and hobnobbed with a host of White House guests – including India’s prime minister, top-ranking administration officials and numerous celebrities from the entertainment world – they triggered an investigation into the agency’s practices and procedures.
But last month’s security breach wasn’t the first by the Secret Service. A U.S. Secret Service training document released this week shows 91 breaches of security between 1980 and 2003, The Washington Post reports.
Edwin Donovan acknowledged to the Post that the internal report existed but said it is a historical document that is used to help train agents in preventing and responding to breaches of security. Most of those breaches involved people who jumped the White House fence and were immediately apprehended by Secret Service agents, Donovan told CNN.
Very few involved direct contact with the president, he said. For example, in addition to the Salahis, Richard Weaver managed to get by Secret Service checks four times: a 1991 prayer breakfast attended by President George H.W. Bush; the 1997 inaugural luncheon for President Bill Clinton; the 2001 inaugural of George W. Bush; and a 2003 prayer breakfast with Bush, CNN reports. In 1994, Stephan Winick was able to sneak into a group accompanying actor Harrison Ford for a meeting with President Clinton in Los Angeles, California.
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