All that glitters not only isn't necessarily gold, it could be as bold and cheap as brass. Here is a perfect example
By now most people know who the Salahis are. But just in case you spent this past holiday weekend as a castaway on a desert island, they are the couple who crashed the President's first state dinner. In the process, they seriously compromised White House security.
This Washington Post story paints a pretty good picture of a couple who, though affluent, wanted desperately to play polo way out of their league. They lived larger than life, mingled with the elite, posed as a debonaire, fun loving couple, and assiduously sought the spotlight. Indeed, Michaela Salahi was aggressively seeking a spot on Bravo's new Housewives of Washington television series.
On the night of the state dinner, a witness saw the Salahis car turned away from the White House driveway. The same eyewitness later observed Michaela hop out of the car while a makeup artist, who was following the couple, jumped out of a second car to brush more makeup on Michaela. All the while, a cameraman was filming these antics.
Pictures of the Salahis mixing with Joe Biden, the Indian Prime Minister, and other high profile celebrities showed up the next day on the Salahis Facebook page. The White House later releases photos of President Obama and the First Lady greeting them on the receiving line.
But the Washington Post story delves into the darker side of the Salahi story. The law suits between Tareq and his father. The ruined family business, a well respected winery in Fauquier County. The trail of unpaid bills and creditors left holding the bag.
In some respects, though, there are aspects of this escapade and the whole Salahi story that could hold a romantic appeal for many of those reading about it. Could the book and movie deal be far behind?
The truth is America has a tradition of admiring its clever con artists and lovable scoundrels who stick it to society's muckety mucks. It's the stuff of countless Hollywood screwball comedies.
But make no mistake, the Salahis were no populist heroes pulling off a simple scam against the rich and famous. They wanted to be rich and famous themselves. And more often those scammed turned out to be small business men and women, florists, caterers, cleaning companies, and their condo association, whose dues they stiffed. These were careless people so intent on pursuing a self-aggrandizing fantasy that they didn't care whose business or life got wrecked in their wake.
But there is a larger issue at stake here. And that is the security breach at the White House.
As others have pointed out, something went very wrong that could have exposed the President and India's Prime Minister to great harm. Although Secret Service issued a statement that all guests passed through multiple layers of security, including a magnometer, that begs the question that some of the worst threats, like bioterrorism, still could have gone undetected.
The White House does a good job of vetting guests. But any enterprise is only as good as its weakest link. And here its weakest link broke down badly.
Serious questions remain about what was going through the mind of the guard who allowed these people who were not on the White House guest list, and were therefore completely unvetted, to enter a secure area.
Given that it is common knowledge that President Obama has endured a historically high number of personal threats since early in his candidacy, it's highly unlikely that this was a routine slip up
I doubt I'm the only person questioning whether money crossed palms. And if so, did the Salahis act alone in offering a bribe or was the reality TV company involved?
I'm not saying that I know for sure that anything like that happened. But it sure better be one of the avenues being investigated because as well trained as the Secret Service is, I would have a lot of problems attributing this to mere carelessness on their part.
Please tell me I'm not alone in this.
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