State dinner gate crashers raises bioweapon fears

Gatecrashers at President Obama's first state dinner have raised questions of how secure the president is kept and what steps are being taken to protect him from non-traditonal bioweapons.

The questions have arisen following news that a Virginia couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, managed to bypass multiple high-level security layers at the White House before spending time with, among others, Vice President Biden and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Guests at the state dinner were checked by security for weapons at multiple checkpoints but never for biological weapons. The checks, however, have been called into question if an unregistered couple could sneak through the checks.

A spokesman for the Secret Service, declining to discuss the investigation into the security breach in detail, said that the investigation would center on a Secret Service checkpoint that did not follow proper procedure.

The Secret Service, which has been part of the Department of Homeland Security since 2003, has been guarding President Obama since 18 months before the November 2008 election, the earliest that any candidate has been provided such protection.

The ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee Representative Peter T. King has called for a Congressional investigation into the lack of security at the White House. King noted that people were turned away from the event, including a congressman accompanied by his daughter instead of his wife, whose name was on the list.

King warned that while the incident was benign this time, it might not be next time.