Crossed Wires About VP Hide-Out
By Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger
Pssstt! Did you hear about Dick Cheney's fortress hideaway under the Naval Observatory? Pass it on!
What seemed to be a bombshell national-security story of the weekend -- how Joe Biden blabbed about a secret bunker under the VP's residence -- began when a bit of secondhand dinner chatter hit the Internet and moved quickly through the blogs. Alas, it pretty much fell apart the minute we started making calls to ... you know, check what turned out to be a game of Telephone, Washington-style:
In March, Biden attended the Gridiron dinner (an annual off-the-record media schmoozefest) and made small talk with club President Dick Cooper of the Tribune Co. At one point, Biden casually mentioned a secure room in his new home, previously used by Cheney and his aides. Per tradition, Cooper recapped the evening for the club newsletter, which was sent out this month.
Last week, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift read Cooper's summary and posted her juicier version on the magazine's blog: "Ever wonder about that secure, undisclosed location where Dick Cheney secreted himself after the 9/11 attacks?" Biden, she wrote, saw the "bunker-like room" when a young naval officer in the residence showed him the hideaway "behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment."
Posted at 10:42 AM ET on May 19, 2009
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