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The former defense secretary said during the reception of several hundred people, most of them conservatives, that he has not been playing much squash lately because of a healing shoulder injury but has been active playing tennis and skiing.

The former defense chief is said to be in the early stages of writing his memoirs.

The reception brought together a number of current and former Pentagon officials, and Mr. Rumsfeld talked extensively at the event with Douglas J. Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy.

* Bill Gertz covers the Pentagon. He can be reached at 202/636-3274 or at