In my last post I noted that the White House party crasher couple appears to have pretty substantial ties to the Indian Embassy in Washington. So let’s put our thinking caps on and think about what may have happened.
First, Tareq and Michaele Salahi appear to have reasonably close connections to the Indian Embassy. They worked with the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) on a Polo Match designed to highlight warming Indian-American relations. And the Salahis appear to have appeared at at least two events sponsored by the Embassy. Meanwhile, the Secret Service is saying that while they believe their procedures are adequate that some of their procedures were not followed in this case. So someone didn’t follow the rules.
Now, when I first heard about this story, I thought the Salahis were just some random reality show freaks looking for a publicity hit. But taking the Embassy connection into account, it seems highly implausible that knowing people at the Indian Embassy — several of whom were at the event — didn’t have something to do with them getting in. It’s certainly possible that it had nothing to do with it. But given how inexplicable so much of this seems, I find it highly unlikely that it didn’t play some role.
Now, to what the Secret Service is saying. If you look closely, I think the two stories fit together. Remember, the Salahis are apparently friends of the DCM at the Embassy, the second ranking diplomatic official in the building. If someone at the Indian Embassy vouched for the Salahis or in some way facilitated their getting in and someone with the Secret Service went along with that, that would seem like a good example of procedures not being followed. And it’s one that, albeit very serious, strikes me as plausible.
If something like this did happen, it would also explain some of the White House’s silence. Not only is this embarrassing for the White House and the Secret Service, it would also be diplomatically embarrassing for the Indian government — something the White House and State Department would like to avoid.
Finally, let me again be very clear about one thing. What we know is that the Salahis know people at and have a relationship with the Indian Embassy in Washington. We know that the Secret Service says someone didn’t follow procedures. Those are the facts we know. The rest here is speculation. I’ve tried to be very clear where fact gives way to hypothesis and speculation. So please keep this in mind.
Late Update: The Indian Embassy has released a statement to TPMDC categorically denying any roll into getting the Salahis into the White House.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.