- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Bush's first casualty
When President Bush stepped up the U.S. war on terrorism by naming retired Gen. Wayne A. Downing as the new deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, the general wasted no time selecting CIA veteran Duane Clarridge as his deputy.
After all, Gen. Downing knew, when it came to combating terrorism there is nobody more experienced in this country than Mr. Clarridge.
He founded the CIA counterterrorism center, and before that ran agency anti-terrorism posts in Turkey (he was chief of Arab Operations, battling the Abu Nidal, among other emerging Middle-Eastern terrorist groups), Italy (he handled the Red Brigades and Achille Lauro terrorist incidents, among others), South America (Peru's Shining Path) and Latin America (Nicaraguan and Salvadoran wars).
"We intend to exert unrelenting pressure on global terrorism," Gen. Downing pledged at the White House, "and on nations and the groups that support global terrorism wherever we can find them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year."
Unfortunately for the general, Mr. Clarridge won't be at his side.
Inside the Beltway has learned that as the retired CIA officer prepared to fly from his home in San Diego to Washington this week to personally receive the blessings of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, his selection as the nation's anti-terrorism deputy was abruptly nixed by the White House.
One source tells us senior presidential adviser Karen Hughes was the first to raise a red flag after discovering that Mr. Clarridge, following his testimony before the Iran-Contra committee in the 1980s, was indicted for failing to disclose all he knew (he was a CIA spook, after all) to Congress. He pleaded not guilty to lying and was later pardoned by former President Bush.
Reached yesterday in California, Mr. Clarridge said he was disappointed in the decision by the White House. He cited one other former Reagan official indicted in the Iran-Contra affair who, unlike him, pleaded guilty who holds a high-level security position in government.
"I had no great desire to commute between here and Washington," Mr. Clarridge acknowledged, "but I felt it was my duty to go and do it."

Hold the toasts
"It was really not fun," complained a young woman in an orange turtleneck, one of hundreds of Senate staffers who lined up yesterday morning in Room 216 of the Senate Hart Office Building to be examined for exposure to anthrax.
Then she went home. Terrified.
In fact, anybody working between the first and eighth floors of the southeastern wing of the Hart building, where one day earlier an aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle opened an envelope that tested positive for spores, was sent home yesterday. It was difficult to breathe anyway with the ventilation system shut down.
There will be "further testing of the ventilation system," the Capitol's attending physician, Dr. John F. Eisold, explained in a memo to jittery aides who stood in the long line to undergo nasal-swab testing.
Some were so unsettled they cut into line, as if time was of the essence.
"Please try to relax," a medical assistant appealed into a microphone. "If you have a newspaper and some time on your hands, please sit down. And do not cut into line."
Each staffer was handed green packets containing six Cipro tablets a three-day supply the most effective anti-anthrax antibiotic.
"Remember to return on Thursday for your results," one young man was told.
"I guess I won't be drinking [alcohol] for three days," the man then quipped to the hushed room.
Unfortunately, nobody was laughing.

Born-again patriots
Those Boomers bred on blame
Have recovered from their shame:
They fly the flag
And do not gag
On the Pledge they now proclaim.

F.R. Duplantier

Fish for the soul
The anthrax scare isn't stopping Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and seven other senators all from leading catfish-farming states from hosting the first annual "Bipartisan Catfish Feed" on Capitol Hill today.
The event is intended to showcase congressional support of U.S. farm-raised catfish, which is threatened by fraudulently labeled Vietnamese fish imports. The senators say thousands of jobs and the financial survival of many farmers, processors, feed mills and other supporting business are at stake in mostly rural, underdeveloped areas of the Southern United States.

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