Last I checked, the United States Secret Service are trained to take a bullet for the president of the United States, not his social secretary.
As the strange situation with Tareq and Michaele Salahi and their partygoing habits has unfolded, I've kind of been watching from the sidelines. The news yesterday that three Secret Service officials will be placed on administrative leave was most disconcerting. Still, I don't know what to make of it all quite yet, and for a number of reasons.
First, this was the very first Obama administration state dinner at the White House, not a performance by Mel & The Party Hats at the Beta Theta Pi house. (Mel was legendary, and despite not being a Beta and not being formally invited by anyone, during my undergraduate years I found myself at many a gig at their house.) There are multiple layers of security. Guests are forced to offer up social security numbers and other personal, identifying information to ensure that they match up with the names and identities of those on the list. People don't just show up, no matter how much they might look as though they belong, without tacit approval from someone in the White House inner circle.
Second, I hear congressional Democrats doing what they do best--re-shaping the argument--and no matter how much they point fingers at the Secret Service while refusing to address White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers (who, innocently enough I'm sure, has been kept quiet by the administration), I don't quite buy the argument that Rogers is "just a party planner" and this was entirely a security matter. Again, this was a state dinner, organized by Rogers' office, and part of that organization includes decisions made with regard to who attends and who does not.
Furthermore, for years, staff from the White House social office have been present at the checkpoints -- under Barack Obama, that's no longer the case. Therefore, while the Secret Service presence at the east portico and the other entrances are a constant, the only variable here is the presence of social office staff. That's it. Everything else has been the same, still nobody gets through without tacit approval, and yet it's the Secret Service who is blamed.
Finally, consider the prospect of tacit approval alongside who Tareq Salahi and his wife really are. According to Gateway Pundit, Salahi and his wife are members of the American Task Force on Palestine, an anti-Israeli group which supports and was formerly run in some capacity by Rashid Khalidi. If Khalidi's name sounds familiar, that's because we've covered him several times on these very pages.
Khalidi was first discussed here at America's Right on May 31, 2008. Here's the relevant passage:
Meet Rashid Khalidi.
Obama met Khalidi when the latter was a Middle Eastern Studies professor at the University of Chicago. Khalidi and young Barack became fast friends and, in 2000, he hosted a successful fundraiser for the Illinois senator. Soon thereafter, Obama served alongside Khalidi--and also Bill Ayers--as a paid director on the board of the Woods Fund, an Illinois-based nonprofit organization which claims to provide help to the have-nots. In 2001 and 2002, while Obama was on the board, the Woods Fund provided a pair of grants totaling $75,000 to the Arab-American Action Network, a controversial group which views Israel as racist and mourns its very establishment. The grants proved to be about 20 percent of the AAAN's grant income for the two years.
Khalidi helped to establish the AAAN, and his wife serves as president of the group. Over the years, he has had plenty of disparaging things to say about Israel, has supported Palestinian acts of terrorism, and is said to have worked for the Palestine Liberation Organization while it was actively involved in terrorism and deemed by the U.S. Department of State to be a terrorist organization.
Khalidi, while certainly one of the most interesting friends of Barack Obama to come up during the 2008 presidential election, wasn't quite focused on as strongly as William Ayers or Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He should have been, for sure, but the media never quite caught on. In fact, the media actively suppressed information concerning just how involved then candidate Obama was with Khalidi, and did so extremely close to the election last November.
Consider this excerpt, from a piece here at America's Right run on October 29, 2008 entitledBias Gives Way to Activism:
The refusal of the Los Angeles Times to release a 2003 videotape showing Barack Obama lavishing praise on a former PLO operative and supporter of Palestinian terrorism against Israel is showing not just traditional media bias, but has crossed the line into activism.
Rashid Khalidi was first discussed here at America's Right on May 31, 2008. There, and many times since, Khalidi has been identified as a long-time, close friend of Barack Obama's. The two met when Khalidi was teaching Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago; the videotape being intentionally suppressed by the Los Angeles Times is from a dinner party, a going-away event, when Khalidi made his way from the University of Chicago to Columbia University, where he still teaches today.
Also present at the event? Unrepentent domestic terrorist William Ayers and equally disturbed wife Bernardine Dohrn. Ayers, Obama and Khalidi all served on the board of the non-profit Woods Fund which, in the two-year span while Obama served, funneled $200,000 or so to Ayers' leftist educational programs and an additional $75,000 to the Arab-American Action Network, an organization founded by Khalidi and his wife, Mona, and notoriously supportive of Palestinian terror. Furthermore, Mona Khalidi served as a prominent English-language translator for the late Fatah founder and PLO leader Yasser Arafat.
Rashid and Mona Khalidi are said to have been frequent dinner companions of Barack and Michelle Obama, and have reportedly even baby-sat their children. The Khalidis threw successful fundraisers for Obama as well, and like William Ayers helped to launch his political career.
That's right. The Los Angeles Times had, in its possession, an audiotape from a dinner party during which several racists and terrorist sympathizers alike allegedly gave inflammatory speeches calling for, among other things, the destruction of Israel. Considering that the Timesrefused to release the tape, why should we expect any mainstream media types to connect the dots with regard to Tareq and Michaele Salahi's party night at the White House?
Now, I'm not saying that anything nefarious was going on the other night between the appetizers and the main course. I'm only noting that (1) any White House visit is by invitation only, (2) the only way someone uninvited could get in would be with tacit approval from White House staff, and (3) the Salahis seem to have run with the same anti-American and anti-Israel crowd as did Barack and Michelle Obama before they made the move from the Windy City to Capitol Hill. You can connect the dots yourself.