Makeshift press operation brings together DC reporters and govtofficials

WASHINGTON: Congressional press secretaries were rendered all but

inoperative following Tuesday's attack on the Pentagon as the Capitol

Building and surrounding offices were evacuated.

Eager to speak to the press, members of Congress set up impromptu press

conferences on sidewalks and conducted telephone interviews from the


Two senators, John McCain (R-AZ) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), participated in

phone interviews with CNN shortly after noon.

The majority of media relations work was ultimately done by the Capitol

Hill Police, however. After being moved from the building, reporters

were told to wait near "the swamp," an area near the Capitol used by the

press for outside activities. They were then moved to the Supreme Court

building, and then one block over to Capitol Hill Police HQ, serving as

a temporary press office.

Here, members of Congress, as well as police and FBI officials, emerged

throughout the day to provide updates and denounce the terrorists'


A joint session within the headquarters preceded the day's ultimate

Congressional press conference - announced to the gathered media by a

member of Rep.

Dick Gephardt's (D-MO) communications staff - on the steps of the

Capitol Building, which included all present members singing God Bless


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