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In the Loop

Gonzales Witness Under Their Noses

By Al Kamen
Monday, January 10, 2005; Page A15

Senate Judiciary Democrats and liberal allies have been hoping for months to get their mitts on internal administration documents relating to torture and prison abuses -- some of them involving attorney general nominee Alberto R. Gonzales.

There's little or no chance they'll get any of them. The American Civil Liberties Union, for example, last week listed CIA, Pentagon, Justice Department and other memos and cables it wanted made public. One item was described as a "memorandum from James C. Ho, attorney-advisor, [Justice Department] Office of Legal Counsel, to John Yoo, deputy assistant attorney general, OLC, re: interpretation of Geneva Conventions' Common Article 3 (Feb. 1, 2002)."

_____In the Loop_____
Wolf at the Door (The Washington Post, Jan 7, 2005)
Gonzales's Curtain Call (The Washington Post, Jan 5, 2005)
Al Kamen on Vacation (The Washington Post, Dec 24, 2004)
Transition Rumors at World Bank Start at Top (The Washington Post, Dec 20, 2004)
Singing the Norwegian Blues (The Washington Post, Dec 17, 2004)
More In the Loop

Most unlikely they'll find out what that one says. Besides, Ho and Yoo have both left the department. Yoo is teaching law at Berkeley, although Ho is said to be in this area.

Wait a minute! Who was that good-looking guy sitting behind Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) during Gonzales's hearing on Thursday? Son of a gun. It's James Ho, now Cornyn's chief counsel on the Constitution subcommittee.

Maybe the Judiciary Committee Dems ought to interview him?

For Inaugural, No Pedestrians on Potomac

The unusually warm weather these days may spark thoughts of taking the old yacht back onto the Potomac for a little spin. Better do it before Friday. After that, the U.S. Coast Guard will be most unhappy with you.

Seems the Coast Guard, as part of the extraordinary inaugural security, has closed off the Potomac from the Wilson Bridge to the Key Bridge from Friday to Jan. 25. This is "to safeguard a large number of high-ranking officials and spectators from terrorist acts and incidents," according to a little-noticed notice in the Dec. 3 Federal Register.

"This is necessary to provide for the security of persons and property, and prevent terrorist acts or incidents" during inaugural activities, it says. Unless exempted, boats cannot go into the security zone and those in the zone that are not "at berth, mooring or at anchor" are to leave. A section of the Anacostia River down from the Highway 50 bridge to the Potomac is also included. (This would keep anyone from messing with the new stadium site.) But Loop Fans thinking to evade the Jan. 20 traffic nightmare -- by bringing the 100-footer up the Potomac, docking and then walking to the White House -- better get a waiver.

Envoys Eye Each Other

Diplo chatter was building last week. There was no word on a new United Nations ambassador, but our man in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad, was said to have not been interested, apparently opting for a Baghdad posting when Ambassador John C. Negroponte rotates out.

There's talk that career diplomat Eric S. Edelman, ambassador to Turkey, is moving up to become assistant secretary for Europe. Also, C. David Welch, ambassador to Egypt, is being eyed as assistant secretary for Mideast matters, taking over for William J. Burns, who would become ambassador to Russia. All three are career officers and heavy hitters.

Surgeon General With Itchy Feet?

Remember Richard H. Carmona, the trauma surgeon and former deputy sheriff of Pima County, Ariz.? He's still U.S. surgeon general, though hardly with the high profile of folks such as C. Everett Koop or the legendary Joycelyn Elders.

Carmona was a colorful cowboy type, a straight shooter who was known to say what he thought about things. In Washington, that is, of course, a huge problem. For example, he told a House committee, primed by the tobacco industry, that smokeless tobacco caused cancer and was bad for you. The lawmakers were most unhappy.

This landed him in hot water -- apparently he had to take cabs for a while. And Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson decided Carmona would not be the right person to tour hurricane-ravaged Florida last summer. Thompson dispatched himself instead.

Now comes word that Carmona might be looking for another job in the administration. Some admirers and law enforcement allies are touting him to replace Tom Ridge as head of the Department of Homeland Security.

This, we are told, is a long shot, but Carmona is said to have had a meeting recently at the White House with Karl Rove, apparently to talk, inter alia, about his underutilization in his current job.

Out of the House, Into the Lobby

Former Texas representative Charles W. Stenholm, a Democrat ousted in the DeLay Redistricting Act, is staying full time in Washington, starting work today as a lobbyist and consultant with Olsson, Frank and Weeda, an agriculture law and lobbying firm that's home to former agriculture secretary John R. Block.

Catching up on other moves, Fred Hatfield, former senator John Breaux's chief of staff since 1995, is settling in as a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Former colleague Andrew Vermilye, formerly Breaux's senior policy adviser, is now at Fidelity Investments as vice president for federal government relations.

Scully Rings a Bell

Jennifer Bell, who had been health policy adviser to the Senate Finance Committee and point person for hospital and nursing home issues on the recently passed Medicare prescription drug bill, is off to Alston & Bird, joining former Medicare chief Thomas A. Scully.

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