Though We're Apart, You're a Part of Me Still. For You Were My Thrill on Blackberry Hill.

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jun 13, 2006 2:19 PM

Drudge has an interesting story up on the logistics of the President's secret trip to Iraq. I loved this part about the press corps' departure (emphasis mine):

Secrecy was also tight surrounding the gathering of your pool. Reporters were informed of the president's travel plans in person at a variety of Washington area restaurants, homes, and cafes little more than 24 hours before departure.

A harried radio correspondent discovered his pool assignment with a couple of hours' notice (he still made the drive from the Camp David file in time.) Poolers were under strict orders to tell nobody about the travel, including spouses. Some were asked if their bureaus would notice their absence for a day or two.

The pool gathered outside an Arlington, Virginia hotel and was asked to surrender cell phones, blackberries etc. Some found this hard on an emotional level, but complied all the same. We then drove the back roads of Andrews directly to a parking lot outside the secure area surrounding the runway. Security personnel used hand-held wands to check us for metal objects, and a bomb-sniffing dog was led past all of our luggage.

The dog also sniffed under the vans we had traveled in. We drove directly to the steps of AF1, which was parked out of sight of the terminal, close by its hangar. The usual protocols were absent: no officers checking names at the base of the stairs, no departure wave from the president [it was dark when the substitute Marine One landed.] For those who care, dinner was ravioli and the initial entertainment was a Nationals-Colorado game.

"Some found this hard on an emotional level?" I want names named and subsequently ridiculed.