- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2002

'Patriotic duty'
Perhaps it is fitting that suspected terrorists seeking to undermine the United States will be tried in the historic city of Alexandria.
"We're going to get some folks saying this is a terrible thing, but I feel it's our patriotic duty as Alexandrians to rise to the occasion and to ensure that justice is carried out," says Mayor Kerry Donley, who this week learned suspected would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid might join terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui for a court date in Alexandria.
George Washington in 1749 helped lay out the streets of Alexandria, where Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee and his son, Robert E. Lee, each had homes. In fact, the nation's first president recruited his first command at Alexandria's Gadsby's Tavern in 1754, and held his final military review there in 1799.
"I think it's important to point out that our nation has been attacked," reminds Mr. Donley, "and Alexandria will play a prominent role in the adjudication of those involved in the cowardly attacks."

Learning to share
The second of the Homeland Security Presidential Directives mandates the creation of a Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, to serve as a clearinghouse for intelligence gathered by government agencies.
Now, we're told, vital information submitted to the counterterrorism program is not only pouring in, it has "quadrupled" in the months since September 11.
Agencies also have begun sharing information between one another. The State Department offer, for example, to allow the Immigration and Naturalization Service access to visa records contained in the Consular Consolidated Database, or CCD, has been accepted by INS Commissioner James Ziglar, we've learned.
Also, after seeing a recent State Department demonstration of an emerging "facial-recognition" pilot program, Mr. Ziglar directed his staff to install the system at all U.S. ports of entry within the next three months, Inside the Beltway is told.
As a result, INS inspectors will now have access to digitized photos, enabling them to verify a link between a traveler and the State-issued travel document he or she is presenting.

Delivering terror
Through rain, snow, sleet and anthrax?
It's not often we recommend television viewing, but a new documentary series titled "The Feds: U.S. Postal Inspectors," will debut at 8 this evening on the Discovery Channel.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is one of the nation's least known federal law-enforcement agencies, but now its inspectors, because of anthrax and other deadly threats delivered via the U.S. mail, find themselves in the forefront of the U.S. war against terrorism.
"Before September 11th, we all took the mail for granted," notes the documentary's executive producer, Les Heintz.

Economist crisis
Yes, that's Club for Growth President Steve Moore doing his part to "nudge the economy along." The 40-something economist and author has been seen tooling around the streets of Washington in a shiny new burgundy-red Camaro convertible.
Mr. Moore's 22-year-old college intern, who caught her boss with his top down one recent winter day, isn't impressed.
"Frankly, that car screams midlife crisis," she told him.
The intern may or may not be right. The convertible's vanity plates read: NVR GRU UP.

Smoking economy
Illegal or not, domestic pot cultivation has made marijuana America's No. 1 cash crop, and proof is beginning to show in Washington.
Unprecedented fund raising and increasing national support for marijuana-policy reform has led the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project to increase its full-time staff from five to 11 in just three months.
The project credits several unnamed "major donors" for doubling the project's budget from $500,000 in 2001 to more than $1 million this year. Now, organizations seeking to change state and federal marijuana laws articulating tactics and strategies to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol will be eligible for first-of-a-kind grants of up to $50,000 each under a new program administered by the project.
We also see where longtime political strategist Billy Rogers, former fund-raising director for former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, has become the pot project's new director of state policies. In 1998, Mr. Rogers served as campaign manager for Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee Garry Mauro, and prior to that helped launch and served as editor in chief of the Moscow Guardian, the first English-language magazine in Russia.


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