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White House

Shock, awe over nerve of White House state dinner party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi


Friday, November 27th 2009, 1:19 PM
Piggybacking, list snooping, fake press passes … when it comes to gate-crashing, New York City party planners have seen it all.

But they are shocked – shocked! – that uninvited guests got past the Secret Service.

“I was blown away. I can’t understand how they did it,” said Chuck Garelick, who works to keep crashers away from top parties and events like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show as a vice president for Elite Investigations.

“I just had to shake my head when I saw the news,” said Garelick. “The Secret Service! That’s the organization everybody holds themselves to.”

“How did they get in?” asked New York publicist Peggy Siegal, who keeps her exclusive, private movie screenings off-
limits to D-listers. “If your name isn’t on the list, you don’t get in.”

Garelick said that his staff often catches crashers posing as journalists, or teaming up to peek at the guest list and then tweet names so friends can confidently greet them at the door.

But he had a different theory about the pair who sailed into the White House uninvited: “They might have piggybacked in with someone,” he said. That entails waiting for a top celeb to show, and as the cameras are flashing and the entourage milling about, slipping in right behind them.

Notorious New York City party crasher and photographer Selma Fonseca, who piggybacked behind Gwyneth Paltrow into the Vanity Fair Oscars Party and slipped into the $7,500-a-seat Met Costume Institute Gala, said she couldn’t help giving props to the couple.

“You’ve gotta have nerves of steel. I think it’s fun that they did that. I thought it was great,” said Fonseca, who runs the
Celebrity Vibe photo agency and has snapped photos of herself at off-limits events with nearly 1,000 celebrities.

“I thought it was really pretty thrilling, I have to say,” said painter Richard Osterweil, a consummate crasher who anaged to sneak into Liza Minelli’s wedding.

“I sort of admire what they did – they had a lot of nerve.”