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Debunking Cheneygate Myths

A few of the spinning lefties, notably firedoglake, have noted that The Smoking Gun has a copy of the official police report on the Dick Cheney hunting accident. Here's what they're not telling you...

The reports shoots down two of their latest talking points about the Cheney shooting.

  1. Cheney was drunk when he shot his hunting mate - 78-year-old lawyer Harry Whittington.
  2. Because Cheney was drunk, he (or the Secret Service) prevented the local police from entering the ranch until Sunday - a full day after the accident - to allow him time to sober up.
What the firedoglake blogger is failing to point out is that the released report contains a two page supplemental report by Sheriff Ramon Salinas that discredits their theory. Salinas' report was written long before this became a moonbat rallying cry.

From Page 4 of TSG's document set:

After speaking with Captain Kirk I contacted Constable Ramiro Medellin Jr., former Sheriff of Kenedy County and asked him if he had any information about the accident. Constable Medellin stated that he would call me right back.

Constable Medellin returned my call and said, "This in fact is an accident." He stated that he had spoken with some of the people in the hunting party who were eyewitnesses ans that they all said it was definitely a hunting accident. I also spoke with another eyewitness and he said the same then. that it was an accident.

After hearing the same information from eyewitnesses and Constable Medellin, it was at this time that I decided to send my Chief Deputy first thing Sunday morning to interview the Vice-President and other witnesses.

A few minutes later, I received another call from the Secret Service asking if I was going to send someone to the Ranch. I told him that someone would be there first thing in the morning. The Secret Service said they would be at the gated waiting.

At approximately 6:15 p.m. I contacted Chief Deputy San Miguel and advised him of the incident and to be at the gate at approximately 8:00 a.m.

Let's review...

Sheriff Ramon Salinas decided when his investigator would interview the witnesses, based on the fact that a former Sheriff he obviously knew well was on the scene, and that all reports were that the incident was an accident.

Where the conspiracy theory regarding alcohol and the delay in the investigation falls apart is the bolded line. The Secret Service (in effect) asked for the investigator to come to the ranch on Saturday. They obviously wanted to be ready to escort the investigator onto the property and attempted to co-ordinate the expected visit with the Sheriff. It was only at that point that they discovered there would be no investigator until Sunday morning.

If Cheney (or anyone else in the hunting party) was noticeably drunk (of which there is absolutely no evidence) and the Secret Service wanted to cover that up (again no evidence) why would they call the Sheriff and as when they could expect the investigator?

Giving the Sheriff and his deputies an open invitation to arrive onsite hardly seems like the best plan for a coverup...


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Comments (26)

I guess I've not been payin... (Below threshold)

I guess I've not been paying attention because this is the first I've heard of a "Cheney was drunk" myth floating around.

The basis for the belief th... (Below threshold)
Big E:

The basis for the belief that the cops were turned away at the gate comes from the interim report the sheriff released on February 13 as well as the full report which was released today.

The interim report indicates that "due to a lack of communication" the personnel at the front gate were unaware of the situation when the deputy arrived. The interim report does not give any further details about what the deputy did when he arrived and the front gate personnel were unaware of the situation.

For answers to that question one has to go to the full report released today and specifically Sheriff Ramon Salinas III affidavit. In that affivavit he indicates that he received a call at home @5:30pm from Captain Charles Kirk indicating that Mr. Kirk was on his way to the Armstrong ranch regarding a possible hunting accident.

8-10 minutes later Sheriff Salinas received a call from the Secret Service informing him of the hunting accident and that Vice President Cheney was involved. After the Sheriff hung up he was called back by Captain Kirk who indicated that he had made contact with a border patrol agent at the Armsrong gate who had no knowledge of the situation. Now this is the important part, upon being given this information Chief Salinas' states in his affidavit that "I then told Captain Kirk that it was fine and that I would contact someone on the ranch". I think it is reasonable to interpret that statement to mean that Sheriff Salinas told Captain Kirk that he could leave and that he would contact someone at the ranch about the situation. Later on in the affivavit we learn that the person he was going to contact was ex kenedy county sheriff, Constable Ramiro Medallin Jr who was an employee at the Armstrong Ranch (and it seems possibly still a law enforcement officer of some kind).

This encounter by Captain Kirk in the early stages of the investigation, with a border patrol agent who was referred to in the earlier interim report simply as personnel of the Ranch, I think is the kernel of truth in the Cheney refused to meet with the police meme.

I too am a little taken aback by the fact that the police didn't want to question witnesses and view the scene of the accident Saturday night. I would like to find out if Constable Medallin is currently a law enforcement officer. If that is the case it would explain a lot better why the sheriff was confortable letting him investigate and report the situation to him.

In any case if the Sheriff would come out and explain his descision making vis-a-vi waiting until Sunday to questin Cheney, instructing the officer on scene to leave when the front gate personnell didn't know what was happening etc. it would go a long way toward getting this story/non-story off the front pages.


Big E,Me thinks th... (Below threshold)
Bones:

Big E,

Me thinks that you think too much about things that don't really mean anything.

My buddy Jim, already cleared this up.

But, I'm just a doctor dammit.

Cover-up: a term used by l... (Below threshold)
Omni:

Cover-up: a term used by liberals to try to make even the simplest, most straightforward events seen sinister and mysterious, and to make people guilty of honest mistakes, or of nothing, look like master criminals.

(Omni has nothing to hide)

An amazing interview by Hug... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

An amazing interview by Hugh Hewitt of Helen Thomas today.

You have to listen to the whole thing -- puts it all in context.

Especially when she loses it.

The salient point is that t... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

The salient point is that the deputy was not allowed past the front gate. A normal person would rather get the coppers off one's case as soon as possible if there was only an honest accident to report. And Whittington not allowing a recording (statement for the record). Excuse my brain for working, but unless the Veep was dissolved in tears, or in Ye Olde Fetal Position , and unless the lawyer full of Cheney's Chiggers is channeling Don Corleone, one is forced to CONSIDER a conspiracy. Occam's Razor. Beer, meds, pretty hens make old men stupid,and Dick might be dick-less if Mrs. Cheney finds out. PROFOUND,huh?

This is the first line in t... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

This is the first line in the Wikipedia entry for United States Secret Service:

"The United States Secret Service is a United States federal government law enforcement agency..."

Let me repeat that:

"The United States Secret Service is a United States federal government law enforcement agency..."

The only thing PROFOUND is the stupidity of moonbats that can't get it through their heads the accident was witnessed by "law enforcement authorites."

one is forced to C... (Below threshold)
one is forced to CONSIDER a conspiracy. Occam's Razor. Beer, meds, pretty hens make old men stupid,and Dick might be dick-less if Mrs. Cheney finds out. PROFOUND,huh?
You need to get a better understanding of Occam's razor there dude. one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything. Instead, you toss in a metric shitload of unknowns and possibilities. Cheney was hunting a type of bird you flush and shoot quickly. He accidentally shot a friend. That's Occam's razor.
Hey bryanD dude,Yo... (Below threshold)
tblubrd:

Hey bryanD dude,

You don't have a "salient point". Sorry. You probably never did. When you profound based on cheap and non-existent notions (facts would be a bald faced lie), the rest of your creativity simply falls into the garbage. They never said "Stop him at the gate". They said "Meet him at the gate". Please go back and read the report and then try to draw a new conspiracy theory. The one you have pretty much sucks.

Hmmm.1. Well Bones... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. Well Bones it looks like that not only are red shirts a certain sort of fashion faux pas but so are blaze orange vests.

At least he isn't dead.

2. Cheney drunk. Yeah yeah yeah.

I'm sure you liberals will ride this meme right into the White House. Two years from now we'll all still be talking about Cheney and his lunchtime beer.

Frankly you guys spend so much effort to make a guy look bad, who is very likely to never run for office again. What's the point?

Personally I'm done with this. If they want to keep on yammering on about this, good for them.

I guess I've not been pa... (Below threshold)

I guess I've not been paying attention because this is the first I've heard of a "Cheney was drunk" myth floating around.
Posted by: SilverBubble

It's quite popular on the Democrat Underground (deliberate misspelling there because it pisses the DUmmies off even though www.democratunderground.com goes to the website).

I'm just glad Captain Kirk ... (Below threshold)
Bill:

I'm just glad Captain Kirk was there to help out. Energize!

After speaking with Capt... (Below threshold)
shark:

After speaking with Captain Kirk

Maybe Whittington was a klingon

How does this debunk anythi... (Below threshold)
jp2:

How does this debunk anything?

As I stated previously, we'll never know if Cheney was drunk.

What we do know: a person known to abuse alcohol drank before hunting. (Only one beer though, right?) Then, after that, it's hazy - no law enforcement interviewed the shooter.

But keep in mind, Ted Kennedy wasn't drunk either, and no one will be able to prove it. So, it will never be known. But, got to go with your gut on it. Do you take Cheney at his word?

So, jp2, Dick Cheney fails ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So, jp2, Dick Cheney fails to have a press conference or call in the big media outlets BUT he makes sure the victim gets to the hospital and that the police are contacted in short order... and to you this as Kennedy swimming to shore, going back to his room, getting cleaned up, calling his lawyer all before calling the police? While the victim was still in the water?

Yeah, no BDS there.

jp2 - You might want to do ... (Below threshold)

jp2 - You might want to do a few stretches before you reach that far. Just FYI.

As I stated previously, we'll never know if Cheney was drunk.
Occam' razor - he wasn't.
a person known to abuse alcohol drank before hunting. (Only one beer though, right?)
I used to drink heavily, but not anymore. I have responsibilities as a parent that come first. Oh, but I brew my own beer and have 10 gallons on hand at any given time. But oddly enough, I never have more than two beers at any time. So, yeah I take his word and all those who were with him over your desperate attempts at making this out to be the biggest scandal since Watergate.
Then, after that, it's hazy - no law enforcement interviewed the shooter.
Except of course, the law enforcement officials whose job it is to protect him, but hey, keep flogging that one.
But keep in mind, Ted Kennedy wasn't drunk either
No, but Cheney didn't flee the scene and leave his friend to die either. No one I know cares if Teddy was drunk or not, it was the fact that he failed to take any action (other than covering his own ass) after the accident.

Got any more unprovable conspiracy theories? Me, I think you get arroused watching small woodland creatures copulate. I have no proof, so it's your word against mine. However, you wouldn't actually admit it, so any answers of "No I don't" ring hollow.

Indeed, we would never know... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Indeed, we would never know if I like watching "small woodland creatures copulate." (A strange metaphor choice, btw) However, if I had a history of it, and was cited twice for it, and was found in a suspicious position, it might cast doubt on my character. I'm sure you would be willing to take my word, just as the Cult of Bush would take Cheney's. I'm sure you thought we would be greeted as liberators as well.

I'm glad you beat alcohol. Did you ever abuse so heavily that you were charged with a couple of DUIs? Hope not.

Occam' razor? There is a hunting accident with him drinking beforehand, while on heavy heart medications, with a history of alcohol abuse - you think that falls on the side of definitely not drinking? Wow. I guess I'm a bit partisan, but to me, that leaves the possibility that it played a part. But like I said, we'll never, ever know.

If you expect the secret service to come forward with wrongdoings by the President, you'll be waiting for a very, very long time. They aren't rats.

jp2,Maybe the secr... (Below threshold)
susan:

jp2,

Maybe the secret service aren't rats but they protect the VP. So you think they would allow drunken shooting around him? (or around themselves for that matter?) Also, Corpus Christi is heavy democrat territory. I bet the local law enforcement leans democratic. I doubt that they would just put up with being stonewalled by Cheney. And someone at the hospital would have come forward saying he appeared drunk. Or is the entire state of Texas in on it???

Ok so I don't know if Chene... (Below threshold)
susan:

Ok so I don't know if Cheney ever went to see the guy in the hospital. I assumed so in my last comment.

The important detail that m... (Below threshold)
Scott:

The important detail that many, including this article, ignore is that Ms. Armstrong reported Cheney fixed himself a cocktail immediately after the accident. Now, drinking at a ranch is not a crime, not even for a man who has admitted to two DUIs. But for me the judgement shown by Dick Cheney who - after he accidently shoots a friend - does not go to the hospital but instead fixes a cocktail, has to be questioned. Maybe it's only bad judgement. Maybe it just an excessive jones for booze. Maybe it was to cover up the booze in the blood. Maybe it is because Mr. Cheney does not think it important to appear to the American people as a concerned, sober and conscientous public servant. But any of those maybes I find,at the very least, disappointing.

"But for me the judgemen... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

"But for me the judgement shown by Dick Cheney who - after he accidently shoots a friend - does not go to the hospital but instead fixes a cocktail, has to be questioned."

One of these days, when you are old enough to drink, you will find it really doesn't take that long to make a cocktail. In fact he could easily have made a drink to calm his nerves while someone else was driving him to the hospital.

> CHENEY SAYS SHOOTI... (Below threshold)
nick:


> CHENEY SAYS SHOOTING OF FELLOW HUNTER WAS BASED ON FAULTY INTELLIGENCE
>
> Believed Shooting Victim Was Zawahiri, Veep Says
>
> Vice President Dick Cheney revealed today that he shot a fellow hunter
> while on a quail hunting trip over the weekend because he believed the
man
> was
> the fugitive terror mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri.
>
> Mr. Cheney acknowledged that the man he sprayed with pellets on Saturday
> was not al-Zawahiri but rather Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old >
millionaire
> lawyer from Austin, blaming the mix-up on "faulty intelligence."
>
> "I believed I had credible intelligence that al-Zawahiri had infiltrated
> my hunting party in disguise with the intent of spraying me with
pellets,"
> Mr. Cheney told reporters. "Only after I shot Harry in the face and he
> shouted 'Cheney, you bastard' did I realize that this intelligence was
> faulty."
>
> Moments after Mr. Cheney's assault on Mr. Whittington, Mr. al-Zawahiri
> appeared in a new videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera to announce that he
> was uninjured in the vice president's attack because, in his words, "I
was
> in
> Pakistan."
>
> An aide to the vice president said he believed that the American people
> would believe Mr. Cheney's version of events, but added, "If he was going
> to shoot any of his cronies right now it's a shame it wasn't Jack >
Abramoff."
>
> At the White House, President George W. Bush defended his vice
president's
> shooting of a fellow hunter, saying that the attack sent "a strong
message
> to terrorists everywhere."
>
> "The message is, if Dick Cheney is willing to shoot an innocent American
> citizen at point-blank range, imagine what he'll do to you," Mr. Bush >
said.

I'm glad you beat ... (Below threshold)
I'm glad you beat alcohol. Did you ever abuse so heavily that you were charged with a couple of DUIs? Hope not.
No, I lucked out. So, according to you, as long as I don't get caught, there is no problem? Poor logic, even from an obvious squirrel fondler.
And as a result Nick, Georg... (Below threshold)
seamus:

And as a result Nick, George Tenant has been banned from the Armstrong Ranch.

jp2, do you know that those... (Below threshold)
B Moe:

jp2, do you know that those dui's happened over 40 years ago? Do you know he was only 19 at the time of both of them? Do you know you wouldn't destroy all those keyboards if you didn't type with your fists clenched like that?

This is great! Reading the ... (Below threshold)
S. Lankford:

This is great! Reading the evidence of the extent to which the right-wing koolaid guzzlers will go to excuse the behaviour of their beloved crime family is amazing. I am in awe of the mental gymnastics required. "If I need to know anything about how my elected officials are behaving or the crimes they are committing against the country, the world, the constitution, the economy, or humanity in general, they will tell me. Otherwise I don't need to know anything except when is my next tax break."

You guys have gigantic balls to call anybody a moonbat.




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