There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In 1992, reporter Ted Gup wrote a lengthy story for the Washington Post Magazine that set jaws a-dropping everywhere. Over the better part of four decades, he reported, Congress had built itself a top-secret nuclear bunker beneath the posh Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. The project—billed to locals as a mere expansion of the hotel—was unknown to virtually every member of Congress, and the few workers who knew about it were sworn to secrecy. Such precautions kept the site secret until Gup began poking around. As soon as his story appeared, however, embarrassment set in—and the project was quickly mothballed. The bunker, though, still hums with activity. Several times a day, former bunker employees lead visitors on a fascinating tour through an eerie warren of decontamination chambers, bunk beds, medical wards, and dried-food stacks. Gup’s ghost hovers prominently: When I toured the facility recently, my guide recounted Gup’s revelations grimly—and noted with some alarm that the journalistic community had actually rewarded his article. This year, Gup published another piece of supersecret reportage: The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA, a compilation of rigorously pieced-together narratives about the three dozen heretofore anonymous CIA agents who died in the line of duty. I can only imagine what they’re saying about Gup within the corridors of Langley. He reads his new book at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, at Barnes & Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda. Free. (301) 986-1761. (Louis Jacobson)