A day after appearing on the "Today" show claiming they were invited to Barack Obama’s first state dinner, Tareq and Michaela Salahi supplied NBC with the e-mail exchange with Michele Jones — a top defense department official — which they say proves they were "not crashers."
Here’s the problem: it doesn’t prove anything, and even reinforces the idea the aspiring reality show stars were trying finesse their way into the event.
The exchange is vague and confusing even days later. Michele Jones, the special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, politely tells the couple she can’t get them into the state dinner but would try to get them tickets to the arrival ceremony tied to the dinner.
“Hopefully I can get tickets for the Arrival Ceremony,” Jones wrote to Tareq Salahi on November 20. “The State Dinner is completely closed and has been for awhile. As soon as I know, I will contact you.”
Tareq replied three minutes later: “Hi Michele. Thank you for this. … We are honored to take part of the Arrival Ceremony.”
This is a typical party crasher move. Rather than responding with a "thanks, let me know" or "We would be honored," Tareq takes Jones’ offer to try to get them an invite as an actual invite, and seeds it with gratitude. (If you pretend it is happening, maybe it will happen.)
Jones should have immediately responded with a "I will let you know" but apparently didn’t, opening the door for the Salahis to slither their way through.
I will say that all of this doesn’t strike me as a crime. As Dan Abrams pointed out on today’s "Today," unless the Salahis lied to gain access, it’s a social crime, not a federal one.
Fame whores? Yes. Party crashers? Clearly.
Criminals? Don’t think so. At least, not yet.