There was a secret meeting on Capitol Hill this past weekend, with 15 top officials of the U.S. Customs Bureau coming to town from all over the country to declare war on the Drug Enforcement Administration.
They want the Reagan administration and the new Congress to reorganize the DEA, or abolish it altogether, putting the responsibilities for cleaning up drug trafficking back with Customs.
Meeting with key House members and staffers, the Customs agents are preparing a "hit" list of allegedly corrupt or inept DEA agents recommended for removal.
The Customs men are mad. They feel that DEA is so inept, for example, that about a $1 billion crop of marijuana -- four times stronger than Colombian grades -- is ready for harvesting in Northern California, and another $4 billion to $5 billion they say can be taken from the same plants.
They are mad about a heroin and cocaine ring operating out of Lebanon with PLO help that they say Customs uncovered and DEA "blew."
The Customs men paid their own way here, bunking with buddies in other law enforcement agencies, to line up a lobbying effort against DEA, which was formed in the early 1970s by the Nixon administration.
What's black and white and read all over"
Not just newspapers, as in that ancient riddle, but Allen Neuharth, the head of the Gannett newspaper chain, which has a daily circulation larger than The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, all put together.
There's no one in publishing more colorful, despite his sartorial preference for wearing nothing but black and white. (There once was a gag among his reporters that the black-and-white film division of Kodak, which is headquartered, like Gannett, in Rochester, N.Y., had voted Neuharth fashion plate of the year.)
Within the media, Neuharth is a superstar. So any gossip about him circulates quickly.
Neuharth is eager to put to rest the current speculation among his staffers that he is separated from his wife, "The Senator," a 43-year-old blond who formerly served in the Florida state legislature (and also wears only black and white).
"The Senator" has started law school in Tallahassee, Fla., Neuharth said last week from their home in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and their separation is merely geographic. It has always been that, since they have always lived apart, seeing each other only on weekends.
One well-known Georgetown hairdresser claims that he and others have been asked to submit photographic porfolios of their work for consideration by Nancy Reagan in the selection of a Washington-based stylist for the White House.
A spokesperson for the future first lady said yesterday that no such search is under way to their knowledge. It is expected that Mrs. Reagan will first ask her longtime Los Angeles hairdresser, Julius, or her New York favorite, Mr. Marc, to take the job, the aide said.
Meanwhile, the search is on for all sorts of advisers in the areas of style and fashion and the decorative arts.
Interior decorator Ted Graber, the decorator other decorators in California say is the best, reportedly is expected to have some input on the way the White House is going to look.
Graber has advised Nancy Reagan through the years, as he has most of the close friends who make up "The Group" around her -- Betsy Bloomingdale and Marion Jorgensen.
Two years ago, Graber and Betsy Bloomingdale were featured in a layout of designers and their clients in "Bon Appetit" magazine.
Bloomingdale, a fabric and clothing designer for the at-home manufacturer, "Swirls," posed wearing one of her own pink-and-white checked pinafores over her $10,000 Galanos gown.
She had stitched up her own Christmas tablecloth of red damask upholstery material and Graber and done the table decor of twigs and birds and colored beads.
Graber was the partner of the late William Haines, the onetime MGM actor who was decor consultant to former ambassador Walter Annenberg, and redid the U.S. Embassy in London a decade ago.
The business still bears Haines' name and Graber still works for the Annanbergs. Wally Annenberg, Walter's daughter, used Graber to do the old Ronald Colman house, which many observers believe to be THE most beautiful house in California.