There’s little love lost for smug White House party-crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi, but are they technically criminals? The White House, Secret Service, and Congress are all investigating how the unrepentant Salahis infiltrated Obama’s first state dinner—but neither the Salahis nor White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is expected to testify at a House hearing Thursday. Will Tareq and his aspiring "Housewives of D.C." star wife end up on Reality TV — or in the slammer? (Watch an AP report about a lawmaker's threat to subpeona the Salahis to testify)
Book 'em: The humor-lite Secret Service will certainly push for criminal charges against the Salahis, says Randy James in Time, and "it would be hard to blame them, given the circumstances." The "attention-hungry Virginia socialites" committed a serious security breach, and though they claim they were invited, it increasingly seems like they lied to government officials and trespassed in the White House. Both are potential felonies.
"Could the White House party crashers go to jail?"
Don’t ready their jail cells just yet: "Just because the couple showed up uninvited doesn’t mean they broke the law," says Christopher Beam in Slate. The U.S. attorney prosecuting the Salahis would have to prove intent—that they "deliberately fibbed" and "intended to deceive" the agent who let them in. "If the couple honestly thought they’d been invited…it would be hard to show willful deceit."
"Did the White House party-crashers break the law?"
If their invite was legit, why'd they leave before dinner? There’s no way social climbers like the Salahis would make an early exit from the season's most exclusive social event if they’d had a seat at one of the dinner tables, says Michael Smerconish at the Philadelphia Daily News. That "just doesn’t pass the smell test."
"Why did they crash & run?"
They're safe, but still stupid: Come on, "no crimes were committed by the Salahis," says Tommy De Seno at FoxNews.com. They asked to enter, and were let in. It would take "the dumbest prosecutor on the planet" to charge them with anything. I grew up with lots of party crashers who got themselves photographed with presidents — that's "easy peasy" — but they never got caught. The Salahis' only crime is incompetence. "Their party crashing days are over."
"Why I’m Rooting for the Salahis"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST ON THE WHItE HOUSE GATECRASHERS:
• The Salahis: Fact vs. fiction
• 9 Reality TV criminals
• White House crashers to cash in?
• 8 Facebook misfires that ruined lives
• Gatecrashing the White House
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- Even critics of the euro didn't see this coming
Subscribe to the Week