Trade Secrets Exposed!

* Sometimes it's healthy for journalists to rat themselves out. Thus our Post colleague Hanna Rosin shared with us the brazen seduction techniques she used to obtain two lunches with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for a profile in the latest GQ.

Back in October 1999, Rosin petitioned Scalia -- who normally doesn't grant interviews -- by writing him that her editors at the slick men's magazine considered him "their best image of themselves, pugilistic and good humored, with an appreciation for a good fight and a good game of poker. I also suspect they admire your writing."

Scalia promptly wrote back: "If I granted requests on the basis of how alluringly they are presented, I would surely say yes to your wonderful letter. . . . ('Pugilistic,' yet 'good humored.' -- YES! That's me! . . . ) Alas . . . I must say no. . . . As a consolation prize . . . I would be happy to buy you a cheap, off-the-record lunch at the AV sometime" -- a reference to Washington's AV Ristorante Italiano.

A month after that lunch -- recounted vaguely in Rosin's article (it was, after all, off the record) -- she wrote to Scalia again, this time asking if she might go hunting with him or sit in on one of his poker games -- and enclosing a gift. "You are laughing, I know, but it could be fun," she wrote. "I'd be happy to act as a gopher of sorts, carry the guns, serve the drinks, etc. . . . As a bribe, I offer you this bracelet, purchased at a Jews for Jesus store in Hot Springs, Arkansas."

Scalia politely declined Rosin's request but thanked her for the bracelet: "In gratitude for that gift (and as a consolation prize for losing in the ridiculously high-odds hunting-poker sweepstakes), I offer you another off-the-record luncheon, where we can discuss sports and religion."

The two lunched again, and Rosin's piece portrays an uncompromising ideologue who is nevertheless great fun. In Washington, flattery gets you everywhere. All we can say is that Rosin achieved far better results than we did years ago when -- in a failed interview request -- we wrote a florid suck-up letter to Charles Manson.

What Lies Beneath

Web designer Veronique Pittman, wife of AOL Time Warner co-chief operating officer Bob Pittman and until recently a resident of Great Falls, has been named one of the world's 20 best-dressed women of the year by Harper's Bazaar. But judging by Patrick Demarchelier's picture in the May issue, she might be one of the best undressed women.

Pittman, 36, wearing nothing but a Thea Tolsma necklace and a Ralph Lauren silk gown covering her from the waist down, poses topless while breast-feeding her 3-month-old daughter, Lucy. (We can show Pittman only from the necklace up.) "I look best in exotic, ethnic clothes or perfectly cut, minimalist designs," Pittman tells Harper's Bazaar. Minimalist, indeed.

Pittman, who's listed with such fashionable celebs as Diane Sawyer, Kate Moss and Carolina Herrera, didn't have much to say when we reached her yesterday. "I really don't want to take it any further than that," she told us, adding that she agreed to pose for the magazine only with her child. "It was a style piece. It wasn't about me." She added: "I'm under strict instructions from my husband not to talk to the press."

The Pittmans just put their Great Falls house on the market for around $1 million, and these days split their time between homes in Manhattan and Westchester County, N.Y. AOL Time Warner spokeswoman Ann Brackbill told us Bob Pittman had no comment.

THIS JUST IN . . .

* Our spies in the British West Indies report that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) took a break from his nascent presidential campaign Saturday night to have dinner in Anguilla with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. The senator and the rock star, along with Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz, in the party of eight, shared a prime waterside table at Blanchard's on Mead's Bay and enjoyed snapper, tuna, goat cheese and portobello salads, and spring rolls. The 15 percent tip was billed automatically. What did Kerry and Tyler discuss? Our questions to their spokespeople went unanswered.

* Back in 1995, two infants were mistakenly switched in the neonatal ward of U-Va. Medical Center and brought home by the wrong parents. Now the biological father of one of the nearly 6-year-old girls plans to wed the biological aunt of the other, reports The Post's Steven Ginsberg. Let's review: Carlton Conley and former girlfriend Paula Johnson are the biological parents of Rebecca Chittum, who remains in the custody of her switched grandparents, Larry and Rosa Chittum in Buena Vista, Va. On April 28, Conley will wed the Chittums' daughter Pam Miskovsky, the switched aunt of Rebecca and biological aunt of Callie, the other girl, who lives with Johnson in Stafford County. Conley's lawyer, Paul Scanlan, said his client has been denied visitation with Callie since he and Pam became an item. "I suspect Paula, who by the way is now married herself, harbors some resentment." But Johnson's attorney, Ken Mergenthal, said she has no objection to the marriage but worries "how they will explain to Callie how her daddy married her aunt." We, for our part, have a headache.

With Beth Berselli