Inside the Beltway

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CIA ‘running dogs’

CIA insiders are suggesting that agency Director Michael V. Hayden consider inviting actors Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett, stars of the popular new “Indiana Jones” flick, to participate in the CIA’s annual 5K race next year and issue them T-shirts saying “CIA Running Dogs.”

This word to Inside the Beltway yesterday on the heels of a London Daily Telegraph item by Denis Pinchuk from St. Petersburg, Russia, that Communist Party members are condemning “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” as crude, anti-Soviet propaganda that distorts history, at the same time calling for the Hollywood movie to be banned from Russian screens.

Mr. Ford plays the part of an archaeologist competing 50 years ago, in 1957, with a KGB agent, played by Ms. Blanchett, to find a mystic-powered skull.

“What galls is how together with America we defeated, and how we sympathized when hit them. But they go ahead and scare kids with communists. These people have no shame,” remarked , a Communist Party member in St. Petersburg.

His and other negative comments were voiced during a local Communist Party meeting and posted on the party’s Internet site. The film is being shown on an unprecedented 808 movie screens throughout Russia.

“Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett [are] second-rate actors, serving as the running dogs of the CIA. We need to deprive these people of the right of entering the country,” another party member, , is quoted as saying.

Wild west?

A “skyrocketing” defense budget has overwhelmed the Pentagon’s in-house watchdog agency, according to a report to Congress by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

The defense budget increase “from less than $300 billion to more than $600 billion,” owing to the war on terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has “strained” the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General, claims POGO, leaving “gaps in coverage in important areas” it identifies as major weapon systems acquisition, health care fraud, product substitution, and defense intelligence agencies.

“The Pentagon’s top cop is outgunned, and it’s high noon,” said Nick Schwellenbach, POGO’s national security investigator. “It’s stunning that we’ve been spending so much for so long with so little oversight.”

Don’t eat him

Good grief, what can’t you buy these days on eBay?

“You are bidding on a rare sweet potato that looks like presidential candidate - very strange, a very rare find,” writes the seller on the Internet auction site.

“I was just in the grocery store this morning (May 18) wearing my Obama ‘Yes We Can’ bracelet. I was in the produce section when someone stopped me in front of the sweet potato bin and asked me where I got my bracelet,” the posting continues.

“I then looked down and saw the Barack Obama sweet potato staring right back at me. Winning bidder will get the Barack Obama sweet potato … and as a bonus … the Obama ‘Yes We Can’ bracelet that I was wearing when this strange event occurred.”

The seller says the potato “has mystical powers,” and stresses that it is being offered as “a collector’s item only. It is not intended for human consumption.”

The auction closed at 3 p.m. yesterday. The winning bidder paid $8.49 for the potato.

One theory

John McCain knows he needs George Bush for the money, and George Bush needs John McCain for his legacy.”

Or so Democratic National Committee Executive Director Tom McMahon guessed yesterday was the reason, apart from the customary fundraising, for the two top Republicans in the country to get together in Phoenix on Tuesday night, albeit “behind closed doors.”

• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3248 or jmcaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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