CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Katie Couric is accompanying Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on a five-day overseas trip to several undisclosed countries. She is currently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Look for her reports next week on the Evening News and on 60 Minutes.
We had a pretty turbulent flight to Riyadh, perhaps because it's 107 degrees!
Before we left Cairo, Secretary Gates met with Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. He later told me they covered a lot of ground. Secretary Gates has known Mubarak for 20 years, so he said in a way it's nice not having to start at square one.
Part of the reason the Sec Def is visiting Cairo and Riyadh is to alleviate any concerns that the Obama administration's overture to Iran will affect the relationship with traditional U.S. allies. He also wants Saudi Arabia, which has a strong relationship with Pakistan, to exert its influence in that country where things have been pretty dicey lately.
So far the trip has been great. It's fun to be back working with people from the Pentagon, even though the personnel there has turned over many times since I covered the beat in 1989. The journalists on the trip are friendly and interesting to talk to, including Al, who's worked for VOA for 33 years. I misidentified him yesterday as working for CBS Radio. Blame it on the jet lag!
I interviewed most of them on my Flip camera. I'm sure they all think I'm bizarre! The interviews will appear later on CBSNews.com and my YouTube channel, as soon as I can upload them and get them back to our home office on West 57th Street.
Heading to the Souk, where I'm told I will have to wear my abaya if I don't want to be harassed. I'm thinking about not wearing it and catching the encounter on my Flip, but maybe that's not such a great idea!