- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2003

Lion and the lamb
Rewind to 1994 and the Clinton White House, where Bob Hattoy, the highest-ranking HIV-positive official in the administration the man who gave an unprecedented prime-time address to the Democratic National Convention in support of candidate Bill Clinton suddenly announced that the White House wished he were dead.
"As far as working at the White House, I was too hot, I was off-message," Mr. Hattoy said barely a year into the administration. "I don't know how I became off-message, because AIDS awareness is all stuff the president said he wanted to do. I never heard from him that he changed his mind …
"When I continued to speak out on [AIDS] after the election and it became off-message, I think a lot of people in the White House didn't know what to do with me. And I think what happened to me on a political level was that I didn't die."
Mr. Hattoy eventually left the White House for a high-level post at the Interior Department, where there were "straight white boys who said, 'Oh my God, Hattoy, calm down, shut up, go work on grazing fees.'"
He wasn't alone in his criticism of Mr. Clinton. In subsequent months, several AIDS activists began speaking out, saying they were misled by the president's campaign promises.
Fast-forward to this week, where the New York "Office of William Jefferson Clinton" issued a statement one day after President Bush, in his State of the Union address, shocked the likes of Mr. Clinton, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and AIDS groups by asking Congress to commit $15 billion to prevent new AIDS infections worldwide.
The president's proposed plan amounts to a tripling of U.S. spending on AIDS overseas.
"I applaud President Bush for speaking forcefully … about AIDS, long a threat to public health, and now a threat to the economies and security of whole nations and continents," said Mr. Clinton. "In particular, I welcome President Bush's commitment to dramatically increase funding for the people living with HIV/AIDS … and I stand ready to cooperate with the administration's new initiative any way I can."
As head of the William J. Clinton Foundation, which assists in the development of HIV/AIDS treatment strategies, Mr. Clinton concluded: "We have a moral responsibility to act quickly, and President Bush's strong testament to America's obligation to do more is very good news."

Unlikely spooks
Peter Falk, television's rumpled but lovable detective "Columbo," revealed yesterday that he once applied to be a spy with the Central Intelligence Agency.
"I didn't want to work a 9-to-5 job," Mr. Falk told Washington's "Jack Diamond Morning Show" on WRQX-FM 107.3, "so what better job to have than being a spy?"
However, before the CIA could get around to offering Mr. Falk a possible career as a "spook," he was bit by the acting bug. Instead of tracking down the "bad guys" in some far-off foreign land, he did it for television, a far safer and more lucrative environment.
The 75-year-old actor was interviewed in advance of his return to television last night, starring in the 2003 mystery movie "Columbo Likes the Nightlife." He described his legendary Columbo character as having the brain of Sherlock Holmes, albeit "dressed in gardener's clothing."
Mr. Falk isn't the first Hollywood insider linked of late to the CIA. The film "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" is based on the 1982 biography of former "Gong Show" host Chuck Barris, who claims he moonlighted as a "CIA hit man" while creating such shows as "The Newlywed Game" and "The Dating Game."
While we're on the subject of Hollywood spies, actress Marlene Dietrich during World War II recorded pop songs for the old OSS (Office of Strategic Services), predecessor of the CIA, to be broadcast to German soldiers as American propaganda.
In addition, singer Josephine Baker toiled undercover for the French Resistance, while at the same time it was rumored that master chef Julia Child was stirring up more than shrimp etoufee in her skillet.

Ticking bomb
"How much time do we have?" asked Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, this time, for once not referring to the allotted time a senator is allowed to speak on the floor of the U.S. Capitol.
"Every minute we wait, Saddam Hussein's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and to share them continue. Every minute we wait, the surviving al Qaeda terrorists plot their next attack. We fear it may be a weapon of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological attack.
"Sooner or later," the senator warned, "either here or somewhere else in the world, we will run out of time. We ran out of time in New York, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon on September 11. Brave sailors on the USS Cole ran out of time. Our two embassies in Africa ran out of time in 1998. Over 200 innocent victims, mostly Australians, ran out of time in a Bali, Indonesia, nightclub.
"How many more attacks must we absorb before we realize that time is not on our side?"

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide