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3rd White House crasher is local event planner

The third gatecrasher at November's White House state dinner turns out to be a local event planner who got in with members of the Indian delegation, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

The third gatecrasher at November's White House state dinner turns out to be a local event planner who got in with members of the Indian delegation, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

The third person who got into the party for India's prime minister without being on the guest list was Carlos Allen, who runs an event facility called Hush Galleria in the nation's capital, according to this U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident and spoke anonymously.

Hush Galleria promotes itself as arranging black-tie and casual events "to place up and coming individuals with elite individuals in our luxury environment for the purpose of assisting and supporting each other to accomplish self enrichment, business enhancement and community patronization."

The Secret Service would not identify the man who is currently under investigation. Also facing an investigation are Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the would-be reality TV couple whose gatecrashing was disclosed last year. The Secret Service said, unlike the Salahis, the man never got close to the president or the first lady.

An administration official told NBC News that Allen sneaked past State Department protocol officers at the Willard Hotel by pretending to be part of the official Indian delegation.

The Indian Embassy in Washington asked the State Department to facilitate organizing and transporting its 12-member delegation from the hotel to the White House for the dinner. (The prime minister and his wife had their own Secret Service escort.)

The State Department protocol office expected to handle five Indian diplomats and seven Indian businessmen. The group was asked to report to a designated room in the Willard to be processed through Secret Service security. At some point, however, one of the Indian businessmen decided to travel independently to the White House. No one alerted the State Department protocol officer, who was still expecting 12 people, the administration official told NBC.

Allen was apparently tipped off to this and showed up at the room. He managed to slip past the protocol officer who was checking names but he went through metal detection, the official said. He did not go through the standard Secret Service background check.

The Secret Service said all three uninvited guests went through other screening, such as metal detectors, before the event.

Allen is a U.S. citizen. His Facebook page says he's a fan of Michaele Salahi.

Allen traveled to the White House with a group of Indian business leaders in vehicles paid for by the Indian government, the U.S. official said.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the agency has reviewed the incident and already made changes for how it handles foreign delegations.

Subpoenas have been issued for the Salahis to testify before Congress on the Nov. 24 incident.

President Barack Obama (second left) greets Michaele Salahi (C) and her husband Tareq (R) during a state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) at the White House on November 24, 2009. REUTERS/Samantha Appleton-The White House/Handout Ho / X80001

Through their attorney, the Salahis have said they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify against themselves. The Salahis have been trying to land a part on a Bravo reality show, "The Real Housewives of D.C.," and were filmed by the TV show around town as they prepared for the White House dinner.

Since it was discovered that they made their way into the dinner without being on the guest list, their lives have been under the microscope. Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is investigating a charitable polo event the Salahis sponsor. The Montgomery County, Md., government filed a lawsuit in December against the them for bouncing a nearly $24,000 check.

Three uniformed Secret Service officers have been put on administrative leave because of the security breach. President Barack Obama acknowledged that the system did not work as it should have, but he said the episode hasn't shaken his confidence in his protectors.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan has said the security breach is his agency's fault but that the president was never at risk.