For those of you who don’t want to participate in political discussions, or are such special snowflakes that you might melt in the face of strong opinion, this may be the week for you to head over to the Huffington Post and Salon. This will not be a venue you wish to frequent. I’ll be sorry to see you go, hope you’ll be back on the tenth of November, but probably won’t lose a lot of sleep over it if you label me and delete the bookmark from your browser. (On Netscape, which I suspect you’re still using if you’re taking that path, the control you’re looking for is on the upper right.)
So, fair warning: it’s pretty political from here on in until the election is over. I’ll put the rest below the fold.
Let’s set some background, so that you don’t have the impression that I’m late to the party, or that I don’t have a long-standing opinion on Donald Trump. Click this link, read the post. Only thing wrong with it is that I evidently can’t count, and got the number of months wrong. Other than that, I stand by the comments. That done, let’s see what happened Friday the 28th… At least, what I think may have happened. Yes, political flash fiction. All of the public figures noted, and all of their conversations/experiences are in a dream world. Heck – it works for flashbacks in the movies. Enjoy. Come back every day this week for a new post.
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F.B.I. Headquarters, Washington, D.C. Tuesday October 18, 2016. Office of the Director.
“Director, they’re ready for you at the farewell luncheon. Your detail is here to escort you.”
James Comey set down the pen he’d been doodling with while trying to come up with a speech. It was always difficult when some senior agent he’d never met asked him to speak at their farewell event. Even tougher when it was short notice. It’d work out, he’d had to speak off the cuff more than once in his career. Thankfully his staff had assured him the plaque and farewell gift were taken care of already.
After a quick trip down the elevator to the assembly room where the function was to be held, Comey released his detail at the door to wait for him. It made him seem more accessible if he left the Praetorian guard in the hallway.
With a smile and a wave, he entered the room and proceeded to the dais. This guy must really be someone, all the bigshots in the outfit were sitting in the audience.
And none of them were smiling or applauding.
One man stood and broke the silence. It was the head of the Cyber division. “Director, we’ve swept the room and I promise you it’s secure. All of us left our electronic devices at the door in the secure box. May we have your devices, Sir?”
An agent appeared at his elbow and extended his hand. Comey handed over the device. He carried no weapon, probably the only reason that hadn’t been requested. This was a set up of the first order. Might as well play along and see what it would bring.
Once the device had been deposited in the specially designed box, the first man took a seat and a second man stood. Comey was truly surprised, this man was supposed to be in Pakistan, not Washington.
“Mr. Director, this group represents every faction of the Bureau. In private discussions we found that we’d all come to the same conclusion: you need to revisit your decision on prosecuting Mrs. Clinton. It is fairly simple, Director: we’ve all worked too damned hard to professionalize this organization, and eliminate the political games that held sway under Director Hoover. Our reputation is at stake. Our agents are furious. Your decision was a bad one, Director. It’s time to deal with the problem.
“That woman, no matter what you think of her platform, is a felon. She’s running a corrupt criminal enterprise that we’d bust under RICO if it was anyone else. We routinely press cases against simple agents and others with security clearances for doing one-tenth of what she did. Frankly, Director, it’s insulting to all of us with a clearance to let her go. Your excuses for her disapointed us. We all know that no criminal intent is required under 18 U.S. Code § 1924, yet you excused it. It’s time to fix your mistake.”
Comey stared back for a full minute. Rising to his feet, he grabbed the microphone and pointed a sweeping finger at the audience. “Are you all nuts? We’re less than 30 days out from the election? Our policy is no public announcement within 60 days of an election. I’m not violating that for you or anyone else. In addition, all of your resignations are immediately required. I expect them within the hour.”
Dropping the microphone, he was almost clear of the last chair at the head table before an angry shout was overheard above the buzz in the room.
“Sit your butt down. We’re not done. You’re not in charge here, the people are.”
Comey took one look at the spittle flecked face of his antagonist and realized that the majority of the men in the room shared the facial expression. Looking back at the chair he’d just vacated, he saw his number four man pointing to the chair. There was not going to be a way out of this one.
Once he was seated, the red-faced man in the center of the crowd spoke again. “We barely survived that crap about Hoover in his dress. Other cops hated us for years for our arrogance. We damn near tanked when the evidence morons got caught faking tests. But we cleaned it all up. We ate the brown-sandwich and got past it. This one we’ll never survive. Because when she’s elected, and she will be as of this moment, she’ll purge this place like 1936 was back again and we all had lederhosen. Any integrity we had will be gone. So listen up, because I’m just going to say this next part once.”
Comey had paled. He felt like his chest might explode. The man was right. He’d given the scorpion a ride across the stream and now he was a dead frog.
“Jim, while we’ve been here a file was sent to your secure email. Something she never bothered with, I might add. But it’s a beard for you. It’s all the information we’ve recovered from that pervert Weiner’s computer. We’ve had it for months, it’s fully developed. You know that. But now you’ve got to use it: it’s got the goods to put her in jail. Huma as well. Anthony is just a bonus, but we know he was going after under-age girls and you’ve got to nail him as well.
“So it’s in your court. Make it happen. The consequences, if you don’t, will be bad for the nation.”
Comey sipped at his water. “What are those consequences, Will?”
Will, the man who’d stopped him in his tracks, surveyed his peers. Each gave a nod as eye contact was made.
“If you fail to act, we’re all retiring effective the same hour, the same minute, the same second. All of our resignations are going to be publicly made. Almost every senior agent in the Bureau will follow suit. This place will collapse. We won’t work to support corruption like that ever again. We got caught out over the last 20 years by pretending it was Congress’ problem. Not this time. And we’re all going to name your failure to pursue Clinton as the reason.”
Comey’s thoughts raced. No way they could all do it. Too many had kids in college and needed the job. They wouldn’t let the Bureau collapse: it was their lives. They knew it would wreck the country. He’d bluff it out.
“I guess that I didn’t have to ask for your resignations. You just tendered them. Turn in your credentials as you leave. I’ll have active agents clean out your personal effects and deliver them to you by tomorrow morning.”
Laughter swept the room. Furious laughter. The kind you get when the joke’s on you and you don’t get it.
“Nice try, Jimbo. Nope. We don’t care. But there’s a second part to this: we purge the files of every bit of political dirt we have. Left and right, high and low. It all goes public. Our experts assure me that the files cannot be stopped any longer unless a given number of us use our secure tokens to access the link and turn it off. No quorum, it goes forward. It’s a dead-man switch, Jim. No matter what you do, it happens unless you cave in and do the right thing. Obama, Reed, Pelosi, Hatch, Gingrich, Rubio, damn near every member of the Senate and the House, four of the Supremes, the entire cabinet, and quite a few others in the entertainment and news business: all of them. Every stinking file, every picture, every incidental bit of potential blackmail that’s ever been gathered on purpose, or by accident, gets sent out into the real world on October 29th. All of it.”
Silence descended on the room. It would make the Saturday Night Massacre seem like a children’s play. The nation would not likely survive.
“None of us want that to happen, Director. But you’ve pissed off everyone I’ve talked to on the topic. The only thing that separates us from the rest of the world is that we’re a nation of laws. The Clinton’s never follow the law. They’ve never paid the price. There is no law, no order, no hope for this nation of free people if we allow anyone to rule us like King George. Laws. It’s what makes us strong.”
“It’s too far along to do anything but the right thing. You know she should be flying Conair, not Airforce One. You need to decide in the next ten days. You can get back to either myself or Myron. We are the designated spokesmen for the group. Thank you for your time.”
The leadership of the agency filed out quietly. Comey sat at the head table on the dais and stared at his water glass. The weight of a nation was upon him.
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Come back tomorrow for more political stuff. Remember: voting for acknowledged felons is a bad idea.