Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
The date: Sometime before Nov. 6.
The time: 8:30 p.m.
The place: CIA headquarters, Langley, Va.
Howard Bashford, director of cyber security (DCS), enters the office of Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Army, retired, director of Central Intelligence.
“Good evening, General,” says Bashford, to which Petraeus replies, “Please, Howard, there’s no need to call me ‘General.’ ‘Sir’ will be just fine.”
“Yes, sir,” says Bashford. “General, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
“Not Benghazi again,” says Petraeus.
“Not exactly,” replies Bashford. “It’s about Mrs. Broadwell.”
“Paula!?” exclaims the DCI. “Is she all right?”
“Oh, yes,” Bashford answers, “but I’m afraid she has been less than discreet.”
He hands Petraeus a file, stamped “secret,” and the DCI opens it and quickly skims the first couple of pages.
“My God!” Petraeus says. “This includes some very private emails. Where did you get these?”
Bashford says, “I got them from the FBI.”
Petraeus is incredulous. “The FBI?” he says. “Why in the world would the FBI …? How …?”
“They started looking at your emails after your friend, Jill Kelley, received harassing emails from – I’m sorry to report this, sir – Mrs. Broadwell. Eventually, the Broadwell emails led to your communications with her.”
Petraeus drops the file on his desk and runs a hand nervously through his hair. “But these are my private emails,” he mutters. “Nobody could have seen them but me and … and … Paula.”
“Once you send an email, people with the right skillset can find them and look at them,” says Bashford grimly.
“You’re kidding!” says Petraeus. “I didn’t know that.”
“Well, we just assumed you would know it,” says the DCS. “After all, you are our ‘head spook,’ as George H.W. Bush used to say. Anyway, the FBI first thought it was all a bad joke.”
“A joke? How could this be funny?” asks the DCI.
“Paula Broadwell!“ says Bashford, emphasizing the surname. “Investigators thought it was a sort of James Bond joke name, like Pussy Galore or Dr. Holly Goodhead.”
“Who is this Bond character?” Petraeus demands.
It’s Bashford’s turn to be incredulous: “He’s a fictional character, Sir, a dashing, deadly British spy conjured by Ian Fleming, a former British intelligence officer turned author. They’ve made more than two-dozen movies based on Bond stories.”
“I suppose it’s too late to pass Paula off as fictional,” muses the DCI.
“Way too late, sir,” says Bashford. “Besides, fiction has to be somewhat believable, and, given your record, nobody can believe you were this stupid.”
Last week’s presidential press conference was the first held by Barack Obama in five months. Real news people across the nation are begging the president: “Please don’t do it again.”
Real news people are sickened by the softball questions lobbed Obama’s way by the Washington media. They are sickened by the lazy, ignorant, unprofessional, fawning suck-ups who allegedly cover the White House.
They are sickened by Obama’s filibustering answers and the lack of pointed follow-up questions by the aforementioned suck-ups. They are sickened by the likes of the Chicago Tribune’s Christi Parsons, who thought it appropriate for a member of the media to congratulate Obama on his re-election.
Even Fox News’ Ed Henry, who dared to ask the president what he had done to protect American lives in our Benghazi consulate, did so tremblingly, almost on bended knee.
Obama answered, “I can can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger that my orders to my national security team were do whatever we need to do to make sure they’re safe.”
Only one question absolutely had to be asked at this media love fest. The president should have been asked, simply and directly, “If you ordered that they be made safe, who failed to carry out that order, and why?”
Obama can’t hide behind the we’re-looking-into-it excuse, because it’s clear he must know the answer.
Washington’s so-called reporters have a scandal and a crime of the first magnitude before them, and the Associated Press and NBC are worried about possible “breaches of national security” in David Petraeus’ romantic dalliance.
We did learn one thing from this “press conference.” It was the White House that sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice out with the lie attributing the Benghazi outrage to an anti-Islam video. As we know now, the White House knew it was a lie when Rice went on TV. Thus the president has admitted he sanctioned the lie.
Anyway, look for more hard-hitting questions the next time Obama holds a press conference, like:
“What’s your favorite color?”
Or that old favorite:
“Boxers or briefs?”