Reality-TV Wannabes Crash White House Party

Michaele and Tareq Salahi took photos with dignitaries inside the White House.

ByABC News
November 26, 2009, 8:35 AM

Nov. 26, 2009 — -- A couple of Washington socialites aspiring to appear in the upcoming reality-TV series "Real Housewives of D.C." were being filmed by the show's producers as they sneaked into the White House for Tuesday's state dinner, ABC News has learned.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi weren't on the White House guest list, but that didn't stop the the duo from successfully penetrating one of the nation's most secure places.

Now, the Secret Service is investigating how the Salahis managed to pull it off and whether they committed a crime. It's unclear what legal liability, if any, they may face. Were they trespassing? Did someone at the White House help them get in?

"It's clear they weren't on the list and weren't invited," White House officials said.

Initial findings of the Secret Service investigation have identified a checkpoint where procedures were not properly followed, according to the agency.

For their part, the Salahis certainly looked as though they belonged, arriving in a stretch-SUV and wearing glitzy formal evening wear.

The couple posed for pictures on the red carpet with Vice President Joe Biden, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel -- whom Michaele Salahi called "Ron" -- and even slid up to ABC News' Robin Roberts for a snapshot.

"Once I entered the tent, somebody came up to me and I remember that she was dressed in, it seemed like authentic Indian attire," Roberts said. "When she walked away, I thought, again because of her attire, I thought that she very much fit in. There was never a time when I thought, 'Boy, what are they doing here?'"

The couple later posted pictures from the evening on their Facebook pages.

An ABC News camera outside the White House captured footage of the Salahis arriving. They were trailed by what appeared to be a TV crew.

A spokeswoman for the Bravo television network, which produces "Real Housewives," told ABC News, "Michaele Salahi is under consideration as a cast member and, as such, Half Yard Productions [the producers of the series for Bravo] were filming the Salahis on that day. That was the extent of our involvement."

Bravo also said the couple told the crew they had been invited to the state dinner, which the producers had no reason to believe was untrue.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the agency is looking "into a report that two individuals not on the guest list were in the event."