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Reporters on the Job

Associating with Journalists: Dan Murphy returned to Baghdad this week after a three-month absence. Fears of imminent attacks on foreign journalists have eased and many are now carefully moving about the capital again. Still, upon his return, Dan learned that an Iraqi interpreter who has worked for the Monitor occasionally in past years had been kidnapped while taking a taxi home to a city south of Baghdad. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

The interpreter currently working with Dan has been reluctant to be seen on too many streets with a foreigner. He's heard that insurgents have access to police records and are tracking cars to Iraqi homes.

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When Dan got up to leave after a pleasant meeting at the al-Wahid family's home (page 1), Mrs. Wahid frowned at Dan's leather shoulder bag and asked him to wait. She rummaged in a drawer and pulled out a plastic bag. "Put it in here," she said. "Your bag looks like a reporter's bag - it's risky if people think we've been talking to reporters."

Says Dan: "It's a small thing. But it's the first time any Iraqi has been afraid about having me in their home."

David Clark Scott
World editor