Except for the imposing color photographs and posters of a smiling Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in every room, the three-story building at 1365 Beverly Rd. appears no different from most office buildings in McLean.
But since the Reagan administration closed the Libyan Embassy in the District in 1981, the Northern Virginia building -- a few blocks from the Giant Gourmet supermarket in McLean -- has housed the Washington area's only link with Libyan officialdom, the People's Committee for Students of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Inc.
The name of the organization, a center for Libyan students studying in the United States, does not appear on the building. The front door is locked and a security guard checks all visitors into a reception room.
There visitors can pick up copies of "The Green Book," a 112-page paperback that offers Qaddafi's "solution of the problem of democracy."
Yesterday, there was an air of efficiency among the workers, who include about eight Americans, and virtually no indication of the crisis that has seized Washington and Tripoli since the American raids this week.
Salem Omar Zubeidy, the chairman of a four-member "people's committee" that runs the bureau, said he had seen no hostility toward himself or other 20 workers at the center since the attack Monday night.
Nor could he offer any explanation yesterday about what, if anything, had happened to the Libyan leader during the raids.
Zubeidy, 37, a PhD candidate in education at the University of Michigan, spoke slowly and chose his words with care. A large, bearded man, he wore a Pierre Cardin tweed jacket with ripped lining, plaid tie and blue pants. He said the center had tried to keep a low profile.
Office workers along Beverly Street agreed. "They're very quiet and we don't hear a peep out of them," said Diane M. Meek, a receptionist at the National College of Education, whose offices are directly across the street. "I hate to sound prejudiced, but I don't like the idea of having them as neighbors."
Zubeidy said that upon hearing of the American raids Monday, he telephoned his family and in-laws in Tripoli and Zlitan, a small town about 100 miles east of Tripoli.
He said he was worried by images of Libyan dead and wounded on television, but found his family was unharmed.
Although he said he was not a government spokesman and was involved only in aiding and funding the 1,000 Libyan students in this country, Zubeidy spoke at length about Libyans' anger over the bombings.
"I don't think it is justified," he said. "The whole cycle of events since Gulf of Sidra was based on [American] provocation."
He said the United States "was searching for a scapegoat ever since Ronald Reagan assumed power . . . and the only target that could be easily provoked was Libya."
Asked about Qaddafi's threat to attack Americans in their own streets, Zubeidy replied after a long moment's silence: "It is not easy to answer such a question, especially when a war is being launched against you.
"The measures that are being contemplated by the Libyan people will be proportionate to the acts that are inflicted on them. We have the right to defend ourselves by whatever means. It's our duty."
The center, which has been watched closely in the past by the FBI, was stormed and briefly taken over in December 1982 by about a dozen anti-Qaddafi Libyan students. They alleged that Qaddafi used it to spy on Libyan students, a charge that Libyan officials have denied.