washingtonpost.com  > Columns > The Reliable Source
Reliable Source - Richard Leiby

Richard Perle's Hersh Rejection

By Richard Leiby
The Washington Post
Sunday, February 6, 2005; Page D03

On the chat-show circuit you're bound to run into an enemy sooner or later. New Yorker investigative scribe Seymour Hersh and former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle -- who threatened to sue Hersh over a 2003 article but never did -- shared a Washington greenroom recently while awaiting separate appearances on Charlie Rose's PBS show. We're told that Hersh extended an olive branch, saying, "We can pretend we don't know each other, or we can say 'Hi' and be civil to each other." Perle refused to take up the offer.

Hersh wouldn't comment on the conversation, but Perle told us: "He came in and said something one would say to a friend, and I didn't say anything. Then he said, 'Wow, I suppose we can agree never to speak again,' and I said, 'That would be just fine.' He obviously is under the mistaken impression that I would want to talk to him."


_____Live Online_____
Join new Reliable Source Richard Leiby Thursdays at noon ET to share tips, chew the fat and discuss the dish in his daily column.

Obviously Perle doesn't abide by the old adage "Forgive your enemies -- it makes them madder than hell."

Court Warns Preacher: Keep Your Hands to Yourself

• Handshake Man gets probation: The Rev. Rich Weaver of Sacramento, known in Washington for his uncanny -- divinely inspired? -- ability to penetrate security and greet presidents, pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful entry. For the next five years, while on unsupervised probation, he may not attend presidential or congressional events or set foot on the grounds of the Capitol or White House.

"I feel with all my heart that God had given me a mandate to give a message to President Bush, which I did," Weaver told The Post's David Montgomery after his sentencing in D.C. Superior Court. "I didn't feel I was guilty before God, but . . . I admitted guilt under man's laws."

The charge dated from two years ago, when Weaver attended the National Prayer Breakfast in the Hilton Washington without a ticket and slipped Bush a message that America must repent or face severe casualties in Iraq. But the Secret Service didn't lodge the charge until last month, several days before Bush's second inauguration. Weaver, 59, who had a ticket to the inauguration, was unaware he was wanted when a Capitol Police officer spotted him at a security checkpoint.

In his nondenominational ministry, Weaver said under oath, he has met six presidents on 14 occasions, usually chatting with them about Jesus. He has done the same with numerous senators and professional athletes. In court he praised Secret Service agents, two of whom were in the room, calling them "the most courteous people in the world to me. They always say, 'You're no problem to us, but you're making us look bad.' "

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Opher Shweiki said defending against Weaver had drained resources from the Capitol Police and Secret Service, and he said the minister could have inspired dangerous copycats.

After his probation is complete, Handshake Man is free to attend future inaugurations -- with a ticket.

SQUIBS

• Another ex-congressman joins the local talk-radio waves: Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host, will take the noon-to-3 slot on WTNT, starting tomorrow, as part of his new deal with the Westwood One radio network. Now he can caucus with former GOP representative Fred Grandy, who has been doing the early morning show on WMAL for nearly two years. "That's called the has-been caucus," Grandy quipped. "Joe may not like that, but you've got to face reality when you're a former member of Congress."

• Meanwhile, Watergate convict and radio host G. Gordon Liddy departs his slot at WTNT but expands his reach nationwide: He'll be heard on Radio America stations, including WCBM in Baltimore, and the Sirius and XM satellite networks. "It's a huge advantage that I'll be getting," Liddy told us Friday. "Don't worry, I haven't disappeared. Though I'm sure there are people who would like to me to disappear!"

• The madness never ends: Pax TV debuts another reality show next month, "Lie Detector," with Paula Jones in the lineup, to be tested about her sexual harassment allegations against then-Prez Bill Clinton.

• Back from the Land of Honah Lee: Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary has recovered his beloved handmade Larrivee acoustic guitar, which disappeared on a flight from Washington to Fort Lauderdale four years ago. Fans recognized the instrument after it resurfaced on, you guessed it, eBay, which stopped the auction. "I'm overjoyed," Yarrow told the Associated Press last week after the FBI found the guitar in a Miami suburb.

This Wine Has Croats Proud Enough to Pop

• Is Croatia the new California? Well, we don't expect to see the next wine-region movie set there (à la "Sideways"), but Croatian officials are finding an appreciative audience for their grape products on Capitol Hill. Croatian red zinfandel and other wines flowed last week when the Congressional Croatian Caucus was launched with 40 representatives and two senators signing on as bipartisan members.

At a Hill reception hosted by the Croatian Embassy, the buzz, so to speak, concerned a newly discovered link between California and Croatian zinfandel grapes -- specifically, the Croatian varietal called crljenak kastelanski. The embassy's deputy chief, Marijan Gubic, tells us this "zinfandel mystery" took 35 years of genetic sleuthing across two continents to solve. (Clearly, some topics besides joining the European Union warrant keen attention.)

The caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and George Radanovich (R-Calif.). Radanovich also co-chairs the popular 250-member Congressional Wine Caucus, whose Web site quotes Robert Louis Stevenson: "Wine is bottled poetry." The Croats have enlisted nine other Californians, as well as Sens. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).

"They're not all Croatian, but they support Croatia," said Gubic, adding, "We're not known yet in America as a wine-producing country, but increasingly we hope to be." Given its thirst to understand international affairs, Congress seems a good place to start.

With Chris Richards


© 2005 The Washington Post Company