Alleged White House Crasher Carlos Allen: 'I Got an Actual Invite in the Mail'

Carlos Allen, in a "GMA" exclusive, said he was turned away at two gates.

January 10, 2010, 8:12 PM

Jan. 11, 2010— -- The alleged third White House gate crasher said a generic invitation to the state dinner and his acceptance at the door are all the proof he needs that his attendance was warranted.

In an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" today,Carlos Allen weaved a complicated tale of how he wound up at the White House including how he was turned away at two gates, but later caught a ride with an Indian delegation.

"I was invited," he told "GMA" anchor Robin Roberts, who was seated at Allen's table during the Nov. 24 gala in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "I got an actual invite in the mail."

Yet a copy of the invitation Allen provided to ABC News came without an official envelope or any documents bearing his name. Allen also confirmed that he did not have a placecard once at the dinner and was seated after asking a White House official for direction.

Allen admitted he had repeatedly denied attending the dinner shortly after he was identified as a possible crasher, but said he did so to distance himself from the media frenzy surrounding crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

"I never denied to the Secret Service that I was there," Allen said. "When individuals who were calling me and said 'Were you at the White House,' I didn't know these people who were calling me and asking me questions."

Allen said he also initially denied attending the dinner out of respect for President Obama.

"I did not want to embarrass my president," he said. " I did not want to embarrass my administration. I did not want to embarrass my country."

A federal grand jury has been convened to hear witness testimony in the Salahis' case, but the investigation into Allen's attedance has so far been limited to interviews.

Allen's attorney, A. Scott Bolden, told "Good Morning America" that just the actions of White House officials who accepted Allen into the gates and showed him where to sit made his client an invitee.

"It doesn't sound like Carlos Allen is a criminal trespasser," he said. "It sounds like he's an invitee and that's our position."

Alleged White House Crasher: 'Yo, It's Time to Party'

Allen said that he was initially turned away from two gates -- one of them on two separate occassions -- when he tried to enter the White House around 5:45 p.m. the night of the dinner.

He then gave up and went to the nearby Willard Hotel hoping to find someone he knew.

"It was cold, it was raining as I recall," he said. "I had a cold and I was not wanting to be outside."

Once at the Willard, after checking the bar and not seeing a familiar face, Allen said he noticed a group of people dressed for the event talking about heading to the White House and joined them on the bus.

"Once I got in line with everyone else, I basically had my invite, I went up to the actual Secret Service person," Allen said. "He basically wanded me, didn't ask me for anything else."

Though video of Allen entering the White House caught him turning and looking around before heading through the doors, Allen said he wasn't nervous, just excited.

"I looked around and said 'Yo, it's time to go party,'" he said.

Alleged Crashers Prompt Questions about White House Security

As an indication that he has nothing to fear, Allen told "GMA" that he has spoken to the Secret Service twice without an attorney present.

"I had nothing to hide, okay? Period," he said.

The possible breaches have caused many to question security at the White House. The Salahis famously shook hands with the president, and posted pictures of their presence at the gala on Facebook.

Prosecutors want to know the circumstances of their now infamous visit to the White House, particularly whether the couple trespassed or misled the U.S. Secret Service.

Peggy Ioakim -- a hairstylst from Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa in Washington, D.C., who styled Michaele Salahi's hair for the event – said she asked the socialite if she had her invitation to the state dinner.

"She goes, 'yes, I do.' I said, 'can I see it?' And she tried looking for it and she couldn't find it," Ioakim said.

This hairstylist is among the people who have been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury on Tuesday.

While Secret Service officials have assumed full responsibility for the Salahis' presence at that dinner, they say the U.S. State Department had an obligation to vet and screen the guests traveling with the Indian delegation to the White House from the Willard Hotel.

"A State protocol officer should have prevented him from going through the U.S.S.S. security check at the Willard. U.S.S.S. has no list at that checkpoint," a U.S. official told ABC News.

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