Skip to comments.Condoleezza Rice on the Moment She Thought President Bush Could Have Been Poisoned
Posted on 11/01/2011 8:17:28 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
It was just a few weeks after September 11, 2001 when Condoleezza Rice accompanied the president on a trip to China for the APEC summit. In Shanghai Vice President Cheney appeared on a secure video conference line and delivered President George W. Bush this message:
The Vice President came on the screen and said that the White House detectors have detected botulinum toxin, and we were all those of who exposed were going to die, Rice told me.
He said that?
Yes, he said that. And I remember everybody just sort of freezing, and the President saying, What was that? What was that, Dick? Rice, who was the National Security Advisor at the time, said.
Botulinum toxin is, according to the Center for Biosecurity, the most poisonous substance known and extremely potent and lethal.
The exposure time meant that she and those on the trip Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Chief of Staff Andy Card were all at risk, Rice told me. -----
[Hadley] has this very dry sense of humor. And he said, Let me put it this way. If the mice are feet up, were toast. If the mice are feet down, were fine, Rice told me.
Wait a second. For 24 hours we didnt know if the President had been poisoned? I asked.
For 24 hours, we were in Shanghai, we did not know the results of those tests, she said.
(Excerpt) Read more at gma.yahoo.com ...
I've opened many a meeting or conversation with a line like that. It's a real attention getter.
It is no wonder Presidents age so fast in office...with stress like this behind the scenes and having to have a normal day for the cameras.
Bush needed a good food tester. Someone who could be expendable. Like,,,oh, I don’t know,,,,O’Bastard.
But a review of the White House visitor logs revealed that Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to the Oval Office right around the time of the sample that caused the alarm, then the all clear was issued.
It’s like going in to a company meeting where they tell employees they are going to be leaving out of one of two doors. One they have a job, the other they don’t.
Cheney covers the botulinum scare in detail in his book. It was quite a surreal few days. Considering how much very intense stuff was going on behind the scenes (and publicly, for that matter) it’s still impressive to me how well they all held things together.
“We’re all going to die anyway, so let’s make this meeting count!”
The mice lived. It wasn’t botulism.
did they ever find out if it was a false positive or actual threat?
if actual threat, did they identify the source?
They went back to their day jobs as Republican Congressmen.
There was another really interesting thing that came out in Cheney’s book. Due to the nagging concerns about his health, Cheney asked his counsel to research the Constitutional processes for replacement of the VP under various health conditions. They discovered a curious hole in the process. Of course, the VP is the one person in the administration that the POTUS cannot fire (because he is elected on his own and is not an appointee). The Constitution is clear about replacing the VP if the VP dies, but it says nothing about what to do if the VP suffers a debilitating illness (like a stroke) that leaves him unable to fulfill his duties, but also unable to resign, and there’s nobody that can act for him. Apparently, nobody had ever contemplated such a circumstance but it certainly is a very real possibility nomatter who the VP is.
A curious loophole, that needed fixing.
Cheney addressed it by secretly (only he and his counsel and the POTUS knew of it) writing and signing a letter of resignation, to be kept secure by the counsel, who was to present the letter to the President should circumstances happen as described. It was worded such that it was effective immediately and only upon the President’s receipt and acceptance of the letter. That way, they could proceed to appoint a new VP.
Pretty clever solution, I thought, but something that probably ought to be formally addressed somehow.
Good job! That really made me LOL.
I think it was a false positive. The field test kits are fast but often can be triggered by a few harmless compounds, and it takes further (slower) testing to see which one it was.
I agree, on both counts.
Hadn't thought of that. Nancy Pelosi could actually be of service to her country.
Just to clarify... the Constitution does clearly say that a POTUS that is debilitated and unable to fulfill his duties may indeed be succeeded by the VP. That circumstance was allowed for, but nobody thought to do the same thing for the VP.
I thought you were describing the current situation.
Many possibilities.... I’ve used over the counter “raid” bug spray to set off chemical agent detectors before as a distraction on ummmm.....tests of site security.
Many common items will give false positives to sensors be they man made or animal.
It opens up the prospect for a really messy Constitutional crisis. Imagine if the VP had a stroke and was in a coma for some time. During that time there is no one that can succeed the President. If he President then died somehow they can’t legally skip over the VP and continue with the succession plan to Speaker of the House, because the VP hasn’t died.
It would be a mess. In a politically contentious arena it could be chaotic and potentially paralyzing. It would leave the country suddenly and seriously vulnerable.
What if the VP is brain-dead?
If the VP is comatose and the president dies I imagine that the VP would then be president, perhaps passively sworn in, and then the rules for incapacitated presidents would take over.
“What if the VP is brain-dead?”
That is not a hypothetical question, is it?
If if were such that the speaker of the house succeeded the v.p., then Denny Hastert would have become v.p. For about five minutes.
I rather liked Dubya’s respone:
What was that? What was that, Dick?
I don’t know... there’s a pretty good argument that if the VP can’t be sworn in, he can’t take the office. He also can’t appoint a new VP.
It seems logical that the Constitutionally consistent course is for the Speaker to be sworn in as POTUS. But that’s not literally in the law and it would no doubt have to be settled by the SCOTUS. But it would still be a time of chaos, and probably no end of challenges. The succession plan has to be clear, unambiguous and instantaneous. Anything else leaves the nation possibly paralyzed and vulnerable without a CINC. Even a few hours of confusion is too much.
Come to think of it... it makes a good plot for a novel.
It’s a little Constitutional housekeeping matter that Congress really ought to formally deal with. It shouldn’t be difficult if done ahead of time. As has been observed, our current VP is already arguably brain-dead.
Heh... yeah. “So... what was that part again about everybody dying?” In hindsight it’s almost Python-esque.
You must be referring to the current situation.....
You must be referring to the current situation.....
GW stopped munching on his pretzel in mid-bite, looked me in the eyes and asked.. “Condi, Am I going to die?”
“No, Mr. President, not today. More near beer, GW?”
In DC they say, “One more facelift and Nancy will be wearing a goatee”.
Heh... yeah. So... what was that part again about everybody dying? In hindsight its almost Python-esque.
I suspect that dealing with it would require an Amendment. If both are gone maybe a snap election with 30 days or 90 days to campaign.
“Just to clarify... the Constitution does clearly say that a POTUS that is debilitated and unable to fulfill his duties may indeed be succeeded by the VP. That circumstance was allowed for, but nobody thought to do the same thing for the VP.”
I think the founders did.
Article II, Section 1 provides:....” and the Congress may by Law provide for the case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.”
Interesting. Looks like the founders considered it but the
Whoa. Unbelievable. Was he allowed to tell Laura? Omgosh.
Article II, Section 1 - ... "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:" ...IMHO, there is no argument. "Shall" leaves no doubt. But, IANAL.
That's the situation we now face!
Rumor has it that after the President-elect receives his first threat matrix, he realizes exactly what he got himself into. I’m told it’s not a pretty sight and that not one has been visibly unmoved following said security briefing.
Then he said, "Psych!"
Now that's funny right there, I don't care who you are!