As part of a broadening inquiry into presidential security, Secret Service agents have interviewed the Virginia couple who sneaked into a White House state dinner last week, a senior federal official involved in the investigation said Sunday.A statement on the initial Salahi investigation is due Wednesday, although the final report on the interviews is not likely to be published.
The interviews, which took place Friday and Saturday, were conducted in a neutral location, neither the home of the couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, nor the Secret Service’s downtown offices, the official said. He would not comment on the content of the interviews or their length.
The Washington Post has a second piece on the larger Secret Service review, begun shortly after the inauguration, and due shortly for completion, "White House Security Already Under Review: NEW SCRUTINY AFTER BREACH: Inauguration Had Prompted Concerns":
The bizarre breach at the White House state dinner last week lends new urgency to a review of Secret Service procedures that was begun after President Obama's inauguration, and threatens to revive questions about how much security is enough for the country's elected leader.More at the link.
A senior Secret Service official said a "top-to-bottom" review of the agency's protective department was ordered shortly after Obama began his term amid the highest threat level for any recent president. The results are due soon, said spokesman James Mackin.
But Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the Virginia couple who waltzed, uninvited, into the White House and shook hands with Obama on Tuesday night provided new evidence that in a democracy, it is far from impossible to breach the bubble of security around the chief executive.
The breakdown stunned the top aides to the first African American president and forced a rare apology from the director of the Secret Service. And it led to predictions that security around the first family will rapidly become more intense.
"A tight system will be tightened even more," said William H. Pickle Jr., a former Secret Service agent who led Al Gore's vice-presidential detail and headed Senate security from 2003 to 2007. "I would encourage the White House social office to buy umbrellas before the next event, because you can be sure the Secret Service will be doing their job, and it may be that visitors will be out there for a very long time."
Security experts called the breach an indefensible breakdown that will almost certainly lead to changes within the Secret Service, which regularly reviews procedures after incidents such as a September 1994 crash of a stolen plane on the White House grounds. At the same time, they cautioned against exaggerating any actual threat posed to Obama.
But see also, the Washington Times, "Senators Want Party Crashers Punished: Kyl Says Example Should Be Made of Salahi Couple."