John McCaslin

CIA insiders are suggesting that agency Director Michael V. Hayden consider inviting actors Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett, stars of the popular new Indiana Jones flick, to participate in the CIA's annual 5K race next year and issue them t-shirts saying, “CIA Running Dogs.”

That word to Inside the Beltway on the heels of a London Daily Telegraph item by Denis Pinchuk from St. Petersburg, stating that Communist Party members are condemning "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" as crude, anti-Soviet propaganda that distorts history and calling for the movie to be banned from Russian screens.

Mr. Ford plays the part of an archaeologist competing in 1957 with a KGB agent, played by Ms. Blanchett, to find a mystic-powered skull.

“What galls is how together with America we defeated Hitler, and how we sympathized when Bin Laden hit them. But they go ahead and scare kids with Communists. These people have no shame,” remarked Viktor Perov, a Communist Party member in St. Petersburg.

His and other negative comments were voiced at a local Communist Party meeting and posted on the party's Internet site. The film is currently being shown on an unprecedented 808 movie screens throughout Russia.

"Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett [are] second-rate actors, serving as the running dogs of the CIA. We need to deprive these people of the right of entering the country," another party member, Andrei Gindos, is quoted as saying.

Wild west?

A "skyrocketing" defense budget has overwhelmed the Pentagon's premier watchdog agency, according to a report to Congress by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

The defense budget increase “from less than $300 billion to more than $600 billion,” due to the war on terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has “strained” the Defense Department's Office of Inspector General, according to POGO, leaving “gaps in coverage in important areas, such as major weapon systems acquisition, health care fraud, product substitution, and Defense intelligence agencies.”

"The Pentagon's top cop is outgunned and it's high noon,” stated Nick Schwellenbach, POGO's national security investigator. “It's stunning that we've been spending so much for so long with so little oversight.”

Don't eat him

Good grief, what can't you buy these days on eBay?

"You are bidding on a rare sweet potato that looks like presidential candidate Barack Obama [-] very strange, a very rare find," writes the seller on the Internet auction site.

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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