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