I am studying the cracked smile on the face of Susan Lindauer as she is escorted by agents outside Baltimore’s FBI office following her arrest yesterday.

Lindauer is the resident of Washington, D.C.’s trendy Takoma Park neighborhood who is accused of spying for Saddam Hussein.

A Takoma Park neighbor described her as ‘a little bit strange, a bit of a character’a Takoma Park-type person.’ The Takoma Park Mata Hari is a former press secretary for several Democratic congressmen, among them Senator Carol Mosely Braun, the former presidential candidate. Lindauer was also briefly a researcher at US News & World Report magazine. And she is a distant cousin of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

Guess what the press has played up?

Yep, you guessed it. The Card connection. That’s legitimate, especially since she tried (unsuccessfully) to make contact with Card on behalf of world peace. But, though the press did a good job on the facts of the situation, it seemed inclined to hide the Democratic staff connection. NBC didn’t even mention it last night, and you have to get to page A-16 to learn about it in the New York Times.

The NYT plug on the front page reads, ‘A former Congressional aide, Susan P. Lindauer, right, is accused or pre-war contact with Iraqi intelligence. Investigators said she claimed to have access to a relative, the White House Chief of Staff.’ She is only ‘a former press aide from Takoma Park’ on the front page plug in the Washington Post.

Inside, both papers did a good job, but I couldn’t help wondering if there wasn’t some distancing going on here. Can you imagine if she’d worked for a Republican senator and, say, the Weekly Standard?

Whatever happened to the old adage, You can’t pick your second cousins but you do get to pick your own congressional staff?

By the way, Takoma Park, a lovely neighborhood that is dotted with even more ‘Peace is Not the Answer’ signs than my Berkeley-of-the-East Adams Morgan neighborhood, was somehow the right place for this Mata Hari.

I know a lot of Takoma types, and none of them are unpatriotic. Or as kooky as Lindauer, who believes acid was put on her car steering wheel and that she has survived ‘several assassination attempts.’

Still, it she does represent the extreme of the spectrum of the peace movement. She’s just more Takoma Park that the rest of Takoma Park. 

Like many of her Takoma Park neighbors, she believes that Saddam’s Iraq and the U.S. were morally equivalent.

Actually, she probably believes the U.S. is worse. Unlike Robert Hansen, who spied for the former Soviet Union, this seemingly unhinged woman was not motivated my money. Saddam’s agents apparently paid her a paltry $10,000.