- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 11, 2002

Shhh it's a secret

It was front page news in The Washington Post yesterday: "U.S. Deported 131 Pakistanis In Secret Airlift."

Except that this "secret airlift" was first reported in James Morrison's "Embassy Row" column on Page A16 of The Washington Times on July 1.

The airlift was so secret, in fact, that it was announced in a June 27 news release from the Pakistani Embassy.

"If it was secret, we never would have issued the press release," said Asad Hayauddin, press attache at the embassy.

The deportation of the Pakistanis (132, according to the original news release), who had been detained for immigration violations or other criminal charges, was done via a chartered airliner, in a coordinated effort between U.S. and Pakistani officials.

"This policy ensures that Pakistani nationals are treated fairly and that those in detention for visa violations are expatriated quickly," the Pakistani Embassy explained in its press release.

Mr. Hayauddin professed to being mystified about why The Post would call the deportations "secret" or report them on Page One two weeks after the event had been announced in a news release. "I don't know any reason why," he said.

Neither did Michael Gettler, ombudsman for The Post. "Interesting," Mr. Gettler said, when a staffer on The Times called to ask about the article. "I don't know. I can't answer that."

Drilling grilling

A "confounded and disturbed" Bush administration is coming down hard on NBC News' Andrea Mitchell, a veteran Washington television reporter who is the wife of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.

"Over and over again, I repeated that we don't want new energy development off the coast of California and that the Bush administration wants to cooperate with the state to protect its coastline. Considering that I stated that policy at least a half a dozen times during my interview with NBC, I have to conclude the misrepresentation was intentional," Rejane "Johnnie" Burton, director of the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, wrote to Mrs. Mitchell after the "NBC Nightly News" story in question aired this week.

"Please look at the tape. Repeatedly, I said on camera that the Bush administration opposes new energy development off the coast of California," said Miss Burton. "My staff told you the same thing. Instead of quoting me on that point you chose to show a snippet that reversed the meaning of the sentence from which it was excerpted."

Mrs. Mitchell began her report by stating: "California's spectacular coastline, home to rare wildlife and oil rigs. Since a disastrous oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, a huge political issue. Now the Bush administration supports drilling in 36 additional areas off those same shores."

Miss Burton told Mrs. Mitchell her reporting was "dishonest" and "designed to make it look like I was saying the opposite of what I clearly stated over and over again."

Born in the USA

There was considerable reaction from around the country to our item this week on birthright citizenship and its related phenomenon that has been dubbed "anchor babies."

The United States, we reported, grants automatic citizenship to babies "born" in this country to illegal aliens, temporary workers, even tourists. The babies can eventually "anchor" their extended families in the United States, thus precipitating an unlimited number of "chain immigrants" with the right to immigrate.

In other words, a pregnant foreign national can request a U.S. visa to coincide with the birth of her child. She comes to the United States to visit Disneyland, her water breaks, and presto! an American is born.

Of the dozens of readers to write, Bob Emmrich, of Cincinnati, might have the answer to the problem:

"We could solve the 'anchor baby' problem with a simple re-wording of the 'Citizen Reform Act of 1999.' Grant citizenship to babies 'conceived' on U.S. soil," he explains. "This would eliminate all of the three- and six-month visa visitors, along with tourists."

Worse than anthrax?

During a recent trip to Aspen, Colo., Elliot Gosko, a 14-year-old East Coast resident, bottled up some of that legendary Rocky Mountain spring water, according to an article in the Trout Wrapper, the leading newspaper in Pony, Mont.

"His plan was to take it to his school and analyze the stuff, thus earning extra credit in biology class," writes editor and publisher Ron W. Marr. "Upon preparing to board his flight, however, Elliot was stopped by airline security guards and made to drink the creek swill. He was told that such was part of the 'homeland security' measures being instituted at most airports around the country.

"Elliot, of course, contracted giardia from the impure water."

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