As reported at MSNBC, smoke is billowing out of the Eisenhower Executive Office at the White House. With the fire apparently centered on the second floor, let's take a look at who uses the Eisenhower Executive Office.
In addition to the Vice President's Office in the West Wing, the Vice President and his staff maintain a set of offices in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB), which is located next to the West Wing on the White House premises. The Vice President's Office in the EEOB is called the Vice President's Ceremonial Office. This restored, historical office served as the Navy Secretary's Office when the EEOB housed the State, Navy and War Departments. Today, the Vice President uses the office for meetings and press interviews.
Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry already notes the fire, and a potential cause:
On December 19, 2007 the building was hit by a fire, leading to its evacuation. According to the Fire Department of the District of Columbia, the fire is believed to have begun on the third floor in either a telephone bank area or electrical closet.
Hmmm... telephone bank area??? Perhaps the circuits are burning up with the telecom spying on Americans. Or perhaps the paper shredders, which have been churning on overtime since the Bush Administration came into office, overheated???
Update #1: please recommend this diary, as it's about to slide off the front page.
Update #2: More information regarding the function of the EEOB, this time from Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern, Inc., the architect/engineer contracted to modernize the building:
Modernization of the EEOB includes the transformation of the existing structure into a state-of-the art facility, featuring a secure computer facility and secure conference rooms. These spaces provide secure areas for classified and unclassified data as well as confidential meeting space.
The addition of a highly complex and innovative audio-visual system to support intelligence mission execution is vital to the EEOB, in light of the highly classified data contained within the structure. Integrated systems included a multi-media conference center that was developed with complex audio-visual systems.
Design and integration of internal red/black communication networks is integral to facilities associated with complex and classified information systems. HSMM factored this critical consideration into the design of communication networks for this mission-critical facility. Distribution systems included red/black separation design for power and communication systems.
SCIF and Secure Areas
The EEOB contains 150,000 square feet of SCIF-ready space providing secure containers for information stored within the building. The use of Department of Defense AT/FP design criteria and construction standards provides heightened security for the executive branch of government. HSMM incorporated features such as blast and ballistic resistant windows into the design.
Update #3: Some Facts About Who Works or Worked in the EEOB
The Office of the Administration is housed in the EEOB. The OA is responsible for:
personnel management services, including equal employment opportunity programs;
· financial management services;
· data processing, including support and services;
· library, records and information services (emphasis mine);
· office services and operations, including mail, messenger, printing and duplication, graphics, word processing, procurement, and supply services; and
· any other administrative support or service, which will achieve financial savings and increase efficiency through centralization of the supporting service
The initial claim that this fire started in a telephone bank area or a electrical closet is awful interesting, given that there's so much storage of data. Things that make you go hmmmm.
Another item, which may relate to the recent court ruling regarding the Secret Service logs (hat tip to minorityusa in the comments) and Jack Abramaoff (as speculated by Marcy Wheeler), is that Vice President Cheney's Energy Commission met here (via the Washington Post):
From the beginning, it was clear that Cheney was running the show, chairing meetings of the task force -- made up of about a dozen Cabinet officers and senior officials -- in his ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.