NOT HOOVER'S FBI
Washington author Adrian Havill, who brought us an unauthorized biography of Jack Kent Cooke, the backgrounds of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and the life and crimes of Hadden Clark, to name but a few of his best sellers, has finished a biography of FBI double agent Robert P. Hanssen, the most notorious modern-day American spy.
St. Martin's Press will publish "The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold" on Oct. 19, barely eight months after federal agents surrounded Hanssen while he was attempting to complete an exchange with his Russian handlers in a Virginia park.
Havill says he conducted more than 100 interviews with Hanssen's family members, friends, FBI colleagues and confidential sources, and promises to take readers into Hanssen's mind (where the FBI should have been during the 16 years its "exemplary" agent was able to collect cut diamonds, Rolex watches and more than $1.4 million from his Russian contacts).
"Louis Freeh, who had followed Bob Hanssen to the altar of Saint Catherine's for communion on many a Sunday was gone, and not in glory," Havill writes of the recently departed FBI director.
"He left the bureau in turmoil, an uncoordinated maze of fiefdoms where half of the agents had fewer than six years of experience and employees were quitting as soon as they could find the exit sign.
"What was once the nation's most exemplary government organization," notes the author, "was now considered a bureaucracy with more holes in it than the once proud G-men had pumped into John Dillinger's body."
Epidemiologists in central Kazakhstan's Karaganda region believe dangerous mutant spiders are emerging as a result of "global warming."
The Cooler Heads Coalition in Washington, which doesn't buy into the global warming theory, intercepted an Interfax dispatch from the former Soviet republic reporting the spiders recently attacked eight persons, causing high fever, back pain and kidney disorders.
"The spiders caught are different from the conventional ones in shape and color," the dispatch says. "The appearance of the mutants may be connected with global warming."
Kazakhstan, which borders on the Caspian Sea, is in a position to be one of the 21st century's major sources of oil, on which it will depend for prosperity.
Speaking of emerging Jurassic Parks, if you thought President Bush and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle were rulers of Washington, think again.
The Smithsonian reports that schoolteacher Debbie Brown hosted a group of youngsters for an overnight stay at the National Zoo, promising the children they would have no problem awaking in the morning.
The zoo's lions, she explained, "start roaring around 6 a.m., muted at first from inside and then louder when the keepers let them out. Lions re-establish their territory by roaring."
Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe says single women are partly to blame for Al Gore's loss to George W. Bush in the presidential election.
"As you know, 23 percent of the voting electorate are single women, and yet they only made up 19 percent of the vote in the last election," says the DNC chairman. "That missing four percentage points is the reason that Dick Gephardt's probably not speaker of the United States today, and that Al Gore would have had more states.
"We know we won the popular vote," says McAuliffe. "There would have been more states in our category."
The chairman didn't guess why single women stayed away from the polls or else preferred voting Republican, but polls did show that certain groups of women were disgusted with the sexual escapades of President Clinton.
Earlier this summer, we started to write that 58-year-old Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison R-TX) was adopting a 1-month-old baby girl.
But because the adoption process is a very private one for all parties involved, and since this particular adoption was months from being final, Hutchison and her husband, Ray, asked that we refrain from any coverage.
Last Friday, a fax arrived from the senator, "intended as an expression of our sincere thanks to you for permitting the adoption of our wonderful daughter, Kathryn Bailey Hutchison, to become final in Dallas today without press attention, and, as we promised, to advise you when that exciting event occurred. ...
"Bailey, named for her mother and grandmother, has been with us in Dallas since late May. ... We have, for many years, been trying to add to our wonderful family, and this is truly a dream come true."
And how is a busy senator, with two grown stepdaughters, handling a baby in the house?
"It's what every working mother goes through, juggling time and hours," a close friend of Mrs. Hutchison's tells us.
Even C-SPAN, which prides itself in carrying gavel-to-gavel coverage of the House of Representatives, has to be reminded on what side of the aisle California Rep. Gary A. Condit sits.
During one recent open-phones segment, a caller from Big Sandy, Texas, asked the C-SPAN moderator:
"I'm confused, what party does Gary Condit belong to?"
Moderator (two- to three-second pause, stammering): "Gary Condit is, is, what?"
Caller: "Is he, what party does he belong to?"
Moderator: "Gary Condit is a Republican, isn't he?"
Caller: "You see, that's what I thought. No ma'am, he is not. He is a Democrat."
Moderator: "Ah, I'm sorry. My mistake."
(Noise on the telephone line)
Moderator: "You had something else to say, sir?"
Caller (faintly): "I nailed her."