Inside the Beltway

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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Risky disclosure

U.S. intelligence officials are said to be perturbed that the New York Times published on Sunday, June 22 the name of a former CIA official involved in the interrogation of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other terrorists.

This after CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and other agency officials told the Times they would be putting the individual and his family at risk if they did so, Inside the Beltway is told.

In an “editor’s note” published that day, the newspaper said they “seriously considered” the agency’s request, but “judged that the name was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article.”

The Times also said they printed the name “in view of the experience of other government employees who have been named publicly in books and published articles or who have themselves chosen to go public.”

Intelligence officials have scoffed at the newspaper’s reasoning. “They decided to put people at risk,” said one source Monday. “Using the full name was not essential. It was reckless and arrogant on their part.”

Otherwise, some officials are saying certain points of the article should be viewed with skepticism. For example, they say Mohammed never wrote poems to the former agency officer’s wife, a claim that is made in the Times’ article.

These same officials are not quibbling with another point reporter Scott Shane made when interviewed about his story on “The Charlie Rose Show” last week.

“They [the CIA] certainly did get a huge amount of valuable intelligence from these guys,” Mr. Shane told Mr. Rose. “It certainly is clear that they got a lot of intelligence from this program.”

Giant gipper

The world’s largest Ronald Reagan statue, depicting the Gipper standing in a business suit and saluting, has been unveiled in the otherwise Democratic stronghold of Covington, La., where politics obviously doesn’t stand in the way of honoring distinguished American leaders.

The giant statue, made of bronze, stands almost 15 feet tall on its base.

Coming soup lines?

Planning a steak barbecue this coming Fourth of July holiday, or will you settle for plain old hamburgers like certain Americans NBC News anchor Brian Williams called attention to over the recent Memorial Day weekend?

Reading viewer e-mails about holiday hardships in light of the economic times, as pointed out by the Media Research Center, Mr. Williams noted: “Katie from Sacramento writes: ‘We usually do rib-eye steaks and racks of ribs with lots of sides — macaroni salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, etc. This year it will be homemade hamburgers with french fries and soda instead of beer. The ground beef was bought on clearance a few weeks ago and frozen — I’ll thaw it for weekend use.’

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