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Gift for North Pole: Say it with sewers

Still, the British group did meet with, in addition to Bremer, 15 mostly post-invasion U.S. officials, including retired Gen. David McKiernan, top Bremer adviser Walter Slocombe, former National Security Council senior director Frank Miller and former ambassador Ryan Crocker.

Those sessions, unlike the ones in Britain, were informal and private, so there is no public transcript of what was said.

Not the leakiest of leaks

The International Broadcasting Bureau apparently responded Monday to WikiLeaks' massive dump of classified documents with this e-mailed instruction to Voice of America employees.

"It has come to the attention of the IT Directorate and the IBB Office of Security, that some agency employees would like to download material related to the story that appeared on the front page of the Washington Post regarding leaked classified material about the US efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are a number of documents currently available on the Internet that are classified as secret or higher. While this material has been leaked, it has not been officially de-classified and, for our purposes, is still considered classified material. Our agency network, storage systems, and e-mail are not classified systems and cannot have classified material stored on them. Please do not download, browse, or email any of these files from agency computers."

So you can report on the reporting, but not use the actual material.

The Gaddafi files

Speaking of witnesses and panels, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had scheduled a hearing for Thursday afternoon titled "The Al-Megrahi Release: One Year Later."

This apparently was to look into reports that BP, now facing a serious economic hit for that massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, lobbied the British government to release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the Libyan intelligence agent convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. The company, so the story goes, was hoping to smooth its oil-exploration talks with the government of dictator and fashion trendsetter Moammar Gaddafi.

As of Tuesday afternoon, however, the only word on the lineup for the hearing was a note that said "witnesses to be announced." The problem may be that some of the people the committee most wanted to talk to -- folks from BP and the British government, for example -- were a bit reluctant to appear.

Maybe the Libyans would send someone? Apparently not; the hearing was canceled.

The final days

Hurry on down. Sorry for the late notice, but Wednesday is your last chance to go after Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag over the federal deficit, budget outrages and the like. Orszag, whose last day is Friday, is headed, at least temporarily, to the Council on Foreign Relations as he probably ponders a more lucrative post.

Orszag will be at the Brookings Institution at 10:30 a.m. "to discuss the economic and fiscal accomplishments of the Obama administration." Should be interesting. It's a press briefing, but he'll take questions from the audience, the announcement says. To paraphrase President Richard M. Nixon, after Friday you won't have Orszag to kick around anymore.

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