John McCaslin

Novak fundraiser

Syndicated columnist Bob Novak will read from his new book at a Republican Party fundraising event this evening, co-hosted by Republican (and Rudolph W. Giuliani) pollster Ed Goeas and Republican media mogul Alex Castellanos.

"The Republican Party of Virginia and the 8th Congressional District Committee's Chairman's Reading Series, Featuring: Bob Novak, Author of 'The Prince of Darkness,' " is how the book reading in Alexandria is touted.

Proceeds ($250 host committee, $50 attendees) will go to the state's Republican war chest.

In attendance, we're told, will be John Hager, who was elected last weekend as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Serious summer

Drawing attention to the "gut feeling" expressed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff earlier this month about an increased risk of a summertime terrorist attack in the United States, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has issued an internal document detailing high-risk threats to federal buildings and employees.

Headlined "Increased Risk of Terrorist Attack This Summer," the document goes so far as to tell FPS officers to begin "monitoring employee conduct" within the 8,000-plus federal facilities it guards across the country.

The document, obtained by Inside the Beltway, also advises FPS officers to pay "particular attention" to drivers and passengers of commercial vehicles, and to determine whether uniforms are "consistent with the vehicle being driven."

"Is the driver's demeanor consistent with the company or agency they are reportedly representing?" it points out. "Is any company/agency equipment actually located inside the vehicle? Is the location where the vehicle was observed or stopped consistent with the business the company or agency might conduct in the given area?"

It also asks whether "the driver/passenger exhibit unexplained nervous behavior? For example, profuse sweating, increased heart rate observed through the carotid artery visible in the neck, fidgeting, a blank stare or constantly looking around."

The FPS has fewer than 1,000 uniformed officers, backed up by 15,000 private security guards who patrol federal buildings in more than 120 cities.

Careful examination, the document advises, should also be made of "vehicles parked around the perimeter" of federal buildings, where "buffer zones" should be established and "surveillance detection plans" implemented.

Even "street vendors" peddling hot dogs and bottled water should come under heightened scrutiny, the document states.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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