Obama, Gates held secret talks at fire station

November 4, 2008

When U.S. President-elect Barack Obama met Defense Secretary Robert Gates to discuss keeping him at the Pentagon, the encounter had a whiff of Gates’ former life as a Cold War spymaster.

Gates revealed on Tuesday that the two men met secretly inside a fire station at Washington’s National Airport on November 10 after Obama had visited President George W. Bush.

“We met when he went back to the airport,” Gates told reporters. “We actually met in the fire station at National Airport and they pulled the trucks out so that our cars could go in.”

Gates was a career CIA officer who rose through the ranks to become the agency’s director in the early 1990s.

Although he was an analyst rather than an agent, Gates was familiar with the work of clandestine operatives. He did not reveal whether the fire station meeting was inspired by them.

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