Hanna Morgensen brought CIA Director Bill Connolly with her on her morning visit to [President Jackson] Torres. “I thought I would have Bill brief you in person on some unfortunate developments.”
“Sir, we targeted a list of engineers working on the Chinese missile defense system. We carried out a hit in Hong Kong on one of the people on the list, but it turned out to be a high ranking Chinese politician by the same name. Go figure, Chinese names being so similar and all.” Connolly finished with a morbid chuckle.
“You assassinated a Chinese politician?” asked Torres, aghast.
“That’s not all” said Morgensen. “The idiot he sent to do the job got caught. He wasn’t counting on the kind of security that attends politicians. As soon as they find out who he is, there’s going to be hell to pay with the Chinese government.”
“There should be plausible deniability” said Connolly. “We won’t back our operatives when they screw up this badly.”
“Why are your operatives even doing this?” asked Torres, veins bulging in his forehead.
“Since you banned us from dealing with the professionals at Morningstar, we’ve had to take on their roles ourselves” said Connolly. “These are the results.”
Morgensen waited a moment for that news item to be fully digested before continuing. “That’s not all. They’ve mistakenly killed Chinese agents in Pakistan.”
Torres was numb by now, and simply shook his head.
“It was a drone strike, and our intelligence indicated they were militants opposed to US activities in Afghanistan” said Connolly. “The intelligence was mistaken, and they were Pakistani regulars with Chinese attachés.”
“And who authorized you to carry out any of these attacks?” asked Torres.
It was my understanding from Secretary Morgensen that you did” said Connolly.
“Hanna, would you please leave us?” asked Torres. She stood up and left without a word.
“Mr. Connolly, can you show me a memo with my signature on it which specifically authorizes any of this?”
“No sir, it was all verbal.”
“Then I could have you charged with murder or treason.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, sir. I was acting in the national interest and you know it.”
“And who in your opinion defines the national interest, Mr. Connolly? The CIA Director or the President?”
“Presidents come and go” said Connolly. “If it was the President, we’d have chaos. The bureaucracy, working together with the corporate entities, has always defined our national interest. With all due respect sir, your skill set is suited only to sell the decisions to the public.”
“I also have to answer to foreign governments when you murder their citizens. I demand you clear every decision with me first.”
“That’s simply not practical. We would never be able to act quickly enough, and your political cronies would leak information all over the place. If this is not okay, I can resign. But then you’d have two high profile resignations at once and the rumors would start flying.”
“I will confer with my Attorney General and we’ll decide together whether you will be charged, Mr. Connolly. If you are, you will resign in disgrace.”
Bill Connolly shrugged his shoulders as if he could not care one way or the other what Torres had to say. He stood up and left without a word.
Several minutes passed, during which Torres could hear that there was a conversation outside his office. Hanna Morgensen then walked into the Oval Office and went right on the offense. “If you had not been such an obstructionist at the beginning and approved the covert operation, they would have kept you in the loop at least as a formality. Instead they had to keep it from you, and now you’re going to lose face when you have to back down on your threats to Bill Connolly.”
“Suppose I don’t back down, Hanna. Suppose I go on the air and tell them the truth about who runs the government. Suppose people knew they were electing a figurehead who executes the will of the elite with no regard for the people?”
“If you forced us to drop the pretense, we would reluctantly do so Mr. President. Do you really want a United States with a formal oligarchy, out in the open? Because that’s where this is heading if you follow through.”
Torres stewed for a few moments, looking at the Cobra with such hatred in his eyes that even she appeared to show some fear. “That’s not what I want, Hanna” he finally said. “But I do want to be kept in the loop for anything we do as a government, where I will be held to account by those who believe the pretense.”
“That can be arranged” said the Cobra, visibly relieved that she had won that standoff. She then stood up and left in a bit more of a hurry than was customary for her.
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