The guy sitting next to me looked up from his newspaper. “Did you see this?” he asked. “Scooter Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.”
“Yeah, I heard about it on the radio before I left work,” I said.
“It’s just hard to believe, isn’t it?” he said, with a note of lingering surprise.
“What do you mean?”
“You know. That the Vice President’s Chief of Staff—the guy who had such a reputation for loyalty and dedication to the Vice President—would do something like this behind Dick Cheney’s back.”
“I’m not sure where you’re going with this,” I said.
“Well, he’s supposed to be doing what the Vice President wants him to, isn’t he? I mean, he’s the Veep’s right-hand man, his go-to guy.”
“But instead, here he is, heading off on his own, just completely out of control. Tying up the office phones calling journalists to talk about Joe Wilson’s wife, using precious work time to try to get revenge on someone who’d attacked the administration’s credibility on that Niger yellowcake thing.”
“He seems to have been pretty busy,” I admitted.
“God, Dick Cheney must feel so betrayed,” he mused. “Counting on Scooter Libby, and Libby pulls a stunt like this.”
“What in the world could have motivated him?” I wondered.
“He must have just lost it,” the guy theorized. “It’s so out of character for him. He worked like a dog for Cheney, always carrying out his instructions with such zeal and thoroughness, maybe he just got carried away. It happens.”
“How do you suppose he kept it a secret from the Vice President?” I wondered.
“That’s really the sad part, isn’t it?” said the guy. “Imagine trying to hide something like that from a boss who trusted you with everything. They were so close that people called Scooter Cheney’s ‘alter ego.’ Cheney has to be devastated, to discover that Libby was doing all those rotten things and keeping him in the dark.”
“You’d think Libby would have ‘fessed up to his boss at some point.”
“You would, but I guess he was just too ashamed.”
“How’s Cheney taking it?” I asked.
“Hard to say. According to the paper, he put out a statement that he had accepted Libby’s resignation ‘with deep regret.’”
“That was generous of him.”
“You know Dick Cheney. He’s not a vindictive man.”
© Tony Russell, 2005