Nightly News   |  November 28, 2009

Charges looming for Obama crashers?

Nov. 28: Tareq and Michaele Salahi have stayed out of sight since their now infamous encounter with the president, but as NBC’s Mike Viquiera reports, officials say an investigation is moving ahead.

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>> another investigation is under way tonight. this one asking how that virginia couple crashed the president's state dinner . we're also learning more about the couple and their active social connections. nbc's mike viqueira is at the white house tonight with the latest on that. mike, good evening.

>>> reporter: good evening, carl . aides says the president has full confidence in the secret service even now as the agency decides what went wrong and decides whether to press charges against tareq and michale salahi. since they're now infamous encounter with the president tuesday, tareq and michale salahi have stayed out of sight, but officials tell nbc news that an investigation is moving ahead. yesterday agents nrp the virginia foothills visiting the salahi family winery with an employee described the encounter for a local newspaper.

>> they said it was imperative they speak with them.

>> reporter: after first being turned away at a vehicle entrance, they approached the pedestrian gate where a uniformed officer waved them through, despite the fact they had no invitation. the officer believing that they would be vetted at the next stop. but there again they were allowed to continue. and after passing through a metal detector were announced inside the white house itself.

>> mr. and mrs. salahi.

>> reporter: they stopped at an east room reception, then where others presented a formal name card supplied by the white house , the salahis managed to join the receiving line without one entering the blue room and eventually shaking hands with the president himself. after first asserting that the breach posed no threat, late yesterday the secret service issued a statement declaring themselves deeply concerned and embarrassed. critics say the agency is stretched too thin.

>> it's just unthinkable that something as basic as making sure someone is on the guest list was not done.

>> reporter: as for the salahis, a history of extravagance has emerged. an elaborate wedding for 1,800 in a historic washington cathedral featuring an address by supreme court justice anthony kennedy and claims on michale 's facebook page that she has modeled for companies like victoria's secret. and apparently crashing another gathering, this one of washington redskins cheerleaders . carl , when they got out the car last tuesday night they were trailed by a reality tv camera crew , but this time it appears they have gotten more attention than they could have bargained for. the secret service will decide perhaps as early as next week whether they're going to press charges against the salahis, carl .

>> if there are charges, what kinds of charges might the salahis face?

>> reporter: potentially serious charges. lying to a federal officer, although experts caution it's not a slam dunk . much depends on the exchange, the words that were spoken between the salahis and secret service agents when they presented themselves at the gate last tuesday night.

>> mike viqueira in washington.

>> in russia tonight rescuers and