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In the Loop: Quinn Gillespie's Date With the Treasury

Richard Nixon, shown with Henry Kissinger in 1972, continues to have tape-related problems 15 years after his death.
Richard Nixon, shown with Henry Kissinger in 1972, continues to have tape-related problems 15 years after his death. (First Run Features Via Associated Press)

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Nixon, according to the FRUS version, says: "You see, that's the point [South Vietnamese President Nguyen] Thieu made which is tremendously compelling."

More likely -- since Thieu was not noted for his compelling points -- is the FAS version: "You see? That's the point that you made which is tremendously compelling."

Finally, the FRUS quotes Nixon: "And, you see, I'm going to lift the blockade as I've said. It's not over yet -- the bombing's not over yet."

Other ears tell FAS they hear Nixon tell Kissinger: "And, you see, that I'm going to live with the blockade as I've said. Well, it's an ultimatum."

Kissinger: "Yeah."

Nixon: "Bombing is not an ultimatum."

The director of the FAS secrecy project, Steven Aftergood, said Tuesday that there were "many examples of differences of no particular significance, but these are striking because the differences are significant."

As former Washington sportscaster Warner Wolf used to advise: "Let's go to the videotape." Or audio, as the case may be.

THE CRAIG RUMOR

A rumor has been circulating for several weeks inside and outside the administration that White House Counsel Gregory Craig is on his way out as the top lawyer in the West Wing. One of Washington's most highly regarded lawyers, Craig had been mentioned prominently for top jobs in the foreign policy operation before being asked to take the counsel's job.

By some accounts, Craig wants to move along in the not-so-distant future. Other sources say he's clashed with others in the inner circle over various matters, including his pushing for an executive order right after the inauguration declaring that the Guantanamo Bay prison will be closed. Also, the long knives are out for Craig because he supported releasing the devastating Justice Department memos authorizing torture.

But we're hearing that no one's asked him to go anywhere and that Obama is still very high on him.

"Sounds like typical Washington parlor games to me," Jim Messina, deputy White House chief of staff, e-mailed Tuesday in response to an inquiry. "These rumors are wrong."

ANOTHER NTSB EXIT

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark V. Rosenker announced Tuesday that he will resign as acting chairman and member of the board. Rosenker, who led the NTSB for more than four years, is the second member to announce a resignation this week.

Rosenker, who directed the White House Military Office under President George W. Bush, said he would delay his departure until member Deborah Hersmann, who's been nominated for chairman, and Christopher Hart, who's been nominated to be a member, are confirmed, thus ensuring a quorum for the board. Sources say it's likely both nominees will be approved before the Senate recesses Aug. 7.

On Monday, board member Kathryn O'Leary "Kitty" Higgins, a 34-year veteran of jobs in the public sector going back to the Carter White House, said she will leave the NTSB on Aug. 3 to open her own consulting firm.

Higgins was deputy secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and was also Cabinet secretary in the Clinton White House. She also worked as chief of staff to Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and as staff director to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) on what is now the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.


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