John McCaslin

That was Linda Douglass, who recently left National Journal and other media outlets to join Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign as a senior strategist and spokeswoman, getting her blond locks shortened yesterday by none other than Christophe, stylist of the stars and, we won't ever forget, of Bill Clinton on the airport tarmac in Los Angeles.

The stylist "travels to his salon in Washington every month," one of Christophe Salon's customers explained to Inside the Beltway. "That way, everybody in D.C. who is anybody plans for the days he is here."

The same woman, who asked not to be identified, quoted Mrs. Douglass as saying that she wanted to get her hair cut much shorter in anticipation of being on the road with Mr. Obama.

So did he cut your hair, too?

"I can afford Salon Christophe, but I can't afford Christophe," she said.

Nothing's secret

The investigation has been completed into whether a rope -- "tied in a loop" by a white U.S. Secret Service agent in an agency training building in Beltsville, where the instructor was black -- was intended to symbolize a noose.

"The investigation is concluded and is being reviewed for administrative action," Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan told Inside the Beltway yesterday afternoon. He did not say what that action, if any, might be until the review is announced.

The white agent has been on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which was launched by the service's Office of Professional Responsibility following the April 16 incident at the James J. Rowley Training Center in suburban Maryland, where President Bush often goes bike riding.

The instructor is a member of the Secret Service's Uniformed Division and teaches tactical procedures. The white agent reportedly has admitted leaving the rope in the building, but it has been unclear as to why.

The Secret Service is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, headed by Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Meanwhile, Mr. Donovan told this column yesterday that a hearing will be held tomorrow surrounding an eight-year-old racial-discrimination lawsuit brought against the Service by 10 of its current and former black agents. Court proceedings have been delayed several times because the Secret Service purportedly held back documents.

The agents contend they were systematically denied promotions and other career opportunities made available to other members of the service.

Political airing

Some people prefer their political leanings be kept private, although that privilege is becoming increasingly difficult in this rapidly expanding information and technology age.

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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