Other party crashers

The case of Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who got themselves admitted to a White House dinner, recalls the case of a Nevada murderer who slipped into a presidential reception and shook hands with Vice President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty.

On Feb. 26, 1974, Sante Kimes and her husband, Kenneth Kimes, gained entrance to a reception at Blair House, the official presidential guest quarters across the street from the White House, and mingled with guests. Though they were not on the guest list, Kenneth Kimes was associated with the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Sante Kimes later claimed to have entered by accident, intending to attend a different function in a nearby building, while other accounts say they slipped past the Secret Service or used forged credentials. There is a photo of Kimes and her husband shaking hands with the Fords at the reception.

Sante Kimes, who graduated from Carson High School and later lived in Las Vegas (where she burned down several houses), was later convicted with her son Kenny on dozens of criminal counts, including the 1998 murder of an elderly New York socialite. She was sentenced to 120 years in prison. The tale of mother and son was made into the movies Like Mother, Like Son (2001) and A Little Thing Called Murder (2006).

Another case, not related to Nevada, raised even graver implications than the Salahi and Kimes cases. In 1961, Seattle television station exec Elroy McCaw was accidentally ushered into a National Security Council meeting in the White House while it was discussing the Berlin crisis of that year. When McCaw entered, the lights were down as slides of Soviet troops were being shown. When the lights came up, McCaw’s presence was discovered. Administration officials considered recalling him to active duty in the military but ruled it out when McCaw promised to sit on his unexpected scoop. The incident later became a plot point in former U.S. Sen. Pierre Salinger’s novel On Instructions of My Government.