washingtonpost.com  > Politics > Federal Page > Columns > In the Loop
In the Loop

Iraqi Empties Newsroom

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page A29

Security for interim Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar, in town for a little shopping and diplomacy, was exceptionally heavy yesterday as he stopped by the fifth-floor conference room at The Washington Post for a chat with all the bigwigs.

The first contingent of Secret Service folks arrived about 8 a.m., two hours before Yawar was to show. They told reporters and editors to leave for 45 minutes so the agents and a dog could sweep the floor for explosives.

_____In the Loop_____
State Pays Price for Hassling Appropriator (The Washington Post, Dec 6, 2004)
Vote of Confidence (The Washington Post, Dec 3, 2004)
Terms of Endearment (The Washington Post, Dec 1, 2004)
Round-Trip or One-Way Tickets? (The Washington Post, Nov 24, 2004)
The Beaten Need to March to a New Beat (The Washington Post, Nov 22, 2004)
More In the Loop

There was a burst of excitement when the dog "alerted" on a highly suspicious package under foreign news aide Emily Messner's desk. C-4 explosive, perhaps? No, just a bag of dog food Messner bought to give to a homeless woman to help her feed her pooch.

Security at the main entrance was impressive. In addition to The Post's security team, there were dozens of agents and police in and around the building.

Parking was prohibited in the underground garage. Everyone entering the main entrance was "wanded," bags were searched and a dog was sniffing about. The dog at one point lunged at a reporter's briefcase. (We told him not to bring that bologna sandwich.) Suspicious-looking people, which would be most everyone here, were carefully checked out. Agents were also posted around the main elevators on the fifth floor.

But some staffers, oblivious to the impending visit, entered as usual through the smaller L Street NW employees' entrance. And there was the usual Post security person, wishing everyone a good day. Some aides carried large parcels, including one with a very suspicious Bundt cake in a large bag.

No feds, no dogs, no wands, no bag checks. Hmmm. . . . Maybe that's why they call him the "interim" president?

Trying to Have the Last Word

Note to Karen Hughes: Please come back and stop this off-message behavior.

Outgoing Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said in his Nov. 2 resignation letter: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."

But outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson said on Dec. 3: "I, for the life of me, cannot understand why the terrorists have not, you know, attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do."

Not Paid in Advance

There are rumblings that, despite a recent discovery of $15 million in leftover campaign money, some of the Kerry campaign advance team are having trouble getting paid for the last several weeks of the campaign. Worse, many of them have not seen a per diem check since the end of August, we're told, and they do not know when they're going to get paid.

Phone calls apparently don't get returned and, if they do, the mantra is "next week" or "you're on my list."

We'll be checking into this.

Nickles, Plugged

Retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) yesterday ended speculation on his future, saying he was opening his own lobbying business, joining some corporate boards and advising businesses on the ways of Washington.

CONTINUED    1 2    Next >

© 2004 The Washington Post Company