Cheryl SealTHE REAL STORY: Reconstructing the Cheney "Crime Scene"Wed Feb 15, 2006 14:50
Reconstruction of the "Crime"
Pieced together from various sources and the evidence, here is what I believe happened in the "Cheney incident."
Cheney and Whittington spent the afternoon alone with two women who are not their wives - divorcee Katherine Armstrong (a woman who as as pioneer raised $100,000 for the Bush campaign) and Swiss ambassador Pamela Willeford.. Willeford's ambassadorship, by the way, is a political payoff - she is native Texan and a long time Bush family friend and major donor. Her qualifying experience for the post is, in essence, zip.
The cozy foursome had a nice little couples picnic and had been drinking for most of the day before deciding to do some quail hunting. At first, Armstrong lied and said to a reporter at the Corpus Christie "Caller" news paper that no one had been drinking: "No, zero, zippo and I don’t drink at all...No one was drinking." Later she changed her story to well, maybe there had been some alcohol consumed, afterall.
So, the party when quail hunting, even though neither Whittington nor Cheney had purchased the required $7 stamp for their hunting licenses to do so legally. Sometime after dusk (also illegal for hunting), the party were in a vehicle owned by Katherine Armstrong hunting from the road (also illegal). They were moving slowly along the road, still in the vehicle, shooting at anything that moved in the brush on the side of the road (a place where quail can often be found). Whittington believed he had hit a bird, so asked Armstrong to stop. He got out of the vehilce and went off into the brush to retrieve it. Meanwhile, the Armstrong vehicle drifted slowly on down the road while Cheney sought more "birds." Hearing a noise on the side of the road, Cheney fires from the car and hits his friend Whittington, not knowing that the lawyer had been moving along parallel to the road as the car difted along. To sustain 200 pellets in his chest, neck and face from a 28-gauge shotgun, Cheney was just about 30 feet from Whittington when he fired - about the distance from a vehicle on a road to the middle of a roadside thicket.
Realizing that he is too impaired to face reporters or even make a call to the White House, Cheney hands the situation over to Armstrong, who, like a good little codependent, does what she's told while Cheney retreats to the ranch to dry out. Armstrong starts to call in favors left and right. But the first call she makes is to Karl Rove, within 45 minutes of the accident, as soon as Whittington has been given first aid by Cheney's ever-present medical personnel and sent off to Christus Spohn hospital in Corpus Christi. What do I do? She sobs distractedly to Rove. Rove tells her.
So Armstrong starts in with a directed campaign of damage control. She contacts the local sheriff and asks him to wait on seeing Cheney until the next morning. She asks hospital administrator Peter Banko at Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christie to play down Whittington's injuries. Calls local district attorney Carlo Valdez (Nueces County and the 105th judicial district) to insure that the incident is not investigated and that Cheney will not be charged with anything. However, when Whittington's condition takes a turn for the worse, Valdez apologetically informs Armstrong and pals that if Whittington dies, he might have to "investigate" then - but not to worry, he'll be able to "fix it." The worst Cheney'll get is a "warning" for not having a quail stamp.
In response to public outcry, Cheney is forced to make some sort of statement to the public. But Rove makes him wait until he has "fixed it" so Cheney will be able to avoid any real scrutiny, The result: Cheney makes his statement on FOX news in a tightly controlled media "moment" in which he is "interviewed" (snicker!) by Cheney supporter Brit Hume.
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