A Surprise Trip to Iraq Don Gonyea was one of the reporters who accompanied President Bush and senior administration officials on their secret trip to Iraq. He describes the behind-the-scenes, hush-hush affair.
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A Surprise Trip to Iraq

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A Surprise Trip to Iraq

A Surprise Trip to Iraq

A Surprise Trip to Iraq

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Don Gonyea was one of the reporters who accompanied President Bush and senior administration officials on their secret trip to Iraq. He describes the behind-the-scenes, hush-hush affair.

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

NPR's Don Gonyea has this Reporter's Notebook.

DON GONYEA: Unidentified Man: Mr. President, welcome to Anbar, sir.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)

GONYEA: Anbar is Anbar province in western Iraq. Here is how I ended up there.

SIMON: At Starbucks, Perino is seated outside. She is wearing sunglasses. Speaking softly so people nearby won't hear. She says, we're going to Iraq. When? Sunday night. I have questions but get only a few answers back. She does say it will be hot, that it's dangerous, and that for security it must be kept secret. Even Iraqi officials don't know we're coming. She says I can tell one person at NPR where I'm going and I have to do it person, not over a cell phone. Oh, and I can also tell my wife.

SIMON: During a refueling stop on the way to Australia, I called home. My wife was relieved, but my 14-year-old daughter was mad, not because I'd gone to Iraq but because I hadn't told her. She said she could have kept the secret. She's since forgiven me.

SIMON: NPR's Don Gonyea.

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