"I Basically Had My Invite": White House Crasher

Carlos Allen insists he did not crash the state dinner

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Video of Carlos Allen entering the White House for the State Dinner. (Published Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010)

    The story of Carlos Allen, the Washington businessman alleged to be the third White House party crasher, just keeps better and better.

    Allen told a major news network today that he "actually got an invitation in the mail" to the Nov. 24 State Dinner for visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    It's not the first time he's claimed as much.

    But this time, as he admitted under questioning by ABC's "Good Morning America," he couldn't produce any piece of paper -- not even a table assignment card -- with his name on it to prove that claim.

    That's not the point, according to his attorney A. Scott Bolden, who appeared with Allen on the nationally broadcast show. “Whether you believe that he had an invitation or a place card or not,” he became an invitee at some point in the evening, Bolden said.

    Allen was among three people who purportedly went without invitations to the official party that President Barack Obama gave for Singh -- a circumstance that has caused a continuing controversy long after the lights were darkened.

    Tareq and Michaele Salahi also got in without displaying invitations to security personnel on site, and so far have resisted congressional subpoenas seeking their testimony. The Secret Service acknowledged that mistakes were made, leading to a security breach.

    Allen, unlike the Salahis, never got close to Obama at the event.

    During his interview with anchor Robin Roberts, Allen said repeatedly: “I was invited. I actually got an invitation in the mail. I have the actual invite.”

    Allen, who operates an event business called Hush Galleria, said that a Secret Service employee checked him through security and a White House employee later directed him to a seat at his request.

    “He asked a White House staffer, 'Where do I sit,' and a White House staff steered him to that seat,” Bolden said. “Doesn't sound like Carlos Allen is a criminal trespasser. He's a cooperative witness with the Secret Service, and we'll see how this plays out.”

    Allen said he'd gone to a nearby hotel where he ultimately hooked up with an Indian delegation after failing to gain admittance at either of two Secret Service-guarded gates at the Executive Mansion.

    “It was cold. It was raining. I had a cough, I had a cold,” he said, adding that he found well-dressed people lined up in a lobby when he arrived at the Hotel Willard.

    “I started seeing a lot of people in the hallway. As I was looking around, everyone was looking good,” he said. “They said, 'It's time to go to the White House.' So I got in line with everybody else. I basically had my invite. ... I went up to the Secret Service individual. He basically wanded me. He checked to make sure that I had nothing wrong ... and I basically walked in.”

    Allen explained that he removed a Web posting about the dinner because he was concerned about “a frenzy” surrounding the Salahis.

    “Their faces were everywhere,” he said of the Salahis, “and my focus was to do good things. ... I didn't want to embarrass anyone. I did not want to embarrass my president.”