The Washington Post

A fox spies on the State Department

There was the White House garden fox and the Capitol Hill fox. Now sources tell us there’s a State Department fox.

Pictures of the fox sighting near the agency’s 23rd Street NW entrance were e-mailed around the U.S. Institute of Peace by Steven Heydemann, vice president of applied research on conflict. Subject line: “Fox applies for position at State Department.”

During the federal government shutdown, a fox was hanging out on the White House grounds messing up the gardens, taking full advantage of the absence of the furloughed groundskeepers. Last month, the Wall Street Journal wrote an entire story about the elusive fox, which was never caught – complete with a map of locations around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. where it had been spotted. Even President Obama has apparently seen the creature through the Oval Office windows.

A fox prances across the South Lawn of the White House on Feb. 7. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Also, at the beginning of the year, a fox was regularly spotted around Capitol Hill, prompting (of course) the creation of a Capitol Hill Fox twitter account. Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill blog did a thorough job following its whereabouts.

The Capitol Hill Fox maintains a fairly active social media presence. The fox purports that it is not political, but the animal’s most recent tweet sounded an environmentalist’s call, asking new politicians who won their Tuesday elections to “please recycle” when they arrive in Washington. Not sure if the fox realizes it was just a primary, and that any new legislators who win the November general election won’t arrive in town until next year, but nice to see it’s staying civically engaged.

So now there’s a fox spending time in Foggy Bottom. Heydemann, in an e-mail to the Loop, said he was told the State Department fox has “put in appearances in the area for some time.” He asked a security guard if someone would try to catch it, to which the guard replied, “Why should we want to catch him? He was just making his rounds.” A colleague told Heydemann, “This fox tried to join the State Department ultimate Frisbee games I play in just across the street from State one evening, too. When we rejected him, he cunningly and quickly ran away with one of our cones.”

(Courtesy: Steven Heydemann)
(Courtesy: Steven Heydemann)

Perhaps it’s the same fox, spreading diplomacy between the government institutions. Or maybe the one hanging out by State is a Russian spy fox, which would explain it annexing the cone.

If we could ask it, we would, but what would it say?


Colby Itkowitz is the lead anchor of the Inspired Life blog. She previously covered the quirks of national politics and the federal government.



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