[Editor's Note: If he isn't tamed by the system or swallowed by the beast, Chris Mansel is on his way to becoming the next Hunter S. Thompson. Give it a read and look for more from The Mind of Mansel...]
Flashing The Hash at the Watergate: Part One.
Television news crews surround the steps of the courthouse as Scooter Libby begins a slow walk to his car after another day of testimony. Down the street looking like a moth eaten turtle in a helmet of burnt hair sits Karl Rove slipping rounds into an eighteen shot clip. Cursing quietly under his breath Rove ponders erratically the choice of taking out the cause of the spotlight on him or empty the clip into his face.
Jack Random and I were strolling by having recently relocated to Virginia to research a book on terror warnings, bank defaults and their ties to the white supremacist movement. I noticed Rove slamming his weapon into the dash of the car and just as I leveled the camera lens Rove hit the accelerator and sped down the street in reverse. The press up the street hardly took notice having heard the sounds of violence in the streets of Washington before.
Scooter Libby made his way out of the courthouse to his car. The press following and asking questions but not expecting any response. Like prison guards watching the monotony of inmates coming and going they hardly notice when a guard is attacked and the alarm doesn’t sound but the alarm will sound for Rove soon enough.
We tracked him to the Watergate Hotel and down the stairs into a conference room. Jack stood by the door with a high-powered microphone to eavesdrop on whatever was going on. I questioned the hotel staff tipping those on the lowest rungs of the pay scale and threatening with expulsion those who never got their hands dirty. Jack captured the goods and came back out to the car to play back the tape and as he hit rewind secret service agents surrounded the car. We showed our hands and they drew their weapons. Exiting the vehicle we were asked for identification. Some time ago we had made two press I.D.’s that showed we worked for the Washington Times that is owned by the Rev. Sun Yung Moon, a name that would open any door in the city of Washington, certainly the beltway. As we were held against the car we noticed Libby driving by in a taxi and exiting into the Watergate.
Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part two)
Fear looks like hope in the tall grass and that’s where we were, two inches of steel surrounded by a hard durable casing, the smell of cordite, and the kind of smell you recognize that the weapon has been recently fired. Secret Service agents who when they surround someone begin chattering on their communication devices and slamming themselves in place. They took a few minutes to analyze the fake identifications we showed them and slowly there was a look of recognition in the lead agents face. If I didn’t know better I thought the c*cksucker was going to drop to the street and begin his prostrations. I noticed a scar behind his right ear and Jack saw it too. It was the mark of a true believer, a West Pointer. Somewhere along the line he had been burned by something, he had known the smell of human flesh being singed into an emblem.
A huge crowd had gathered around us, a crowd of civilians. The agents knew he had to save face so he immediately started ordering his agents to make way for us and reducing the citizenry to a mass of insecurities. Their violent wand of intimidation about no cameras or questions led those around us to believe we were important. I could sense the onlookers squinting their eyes and trying to remember what we looked like so as to be able to identify us if we ever showed up on the news.
After the melee Jack retrieved the recorder from the car and we quickly made our way into the Watergate. Slamming into a booth in the bar we began to listen back to the tape.
We knew we had to try and hunt up Libby but first we wanted to hear what we had managed to capture on tape. The following is what we were able to transcribe.
Two or three agents will be enough.
The word is out on the limos and Duke (Cunningham) has f*cked that for us.
Hell we could get some pickup for that matter. If anyone can operate a shifter on the column it’s a hooker.
How much you think it would take to get the old Arab to squat over Durbin and piss?
Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part three)
In the bar we met up with a photographer who had been staying at the Watergate at the behest of the manager of the hotel in order to photograph the renovation. He was paid a flat fee and given a room at the end of a hallway on the first floor. He explained to us that more than once he had been accosted by the Secret Service for what they describe as “loitering with intent.” He explained that he had overheard some of the recording and with a smile added that maybe we might be interested in some of the photographs he had taken around the hotel. Something in the way he said this made us believe that there was something more to these photos. He opened the satchel in front of him and we joined him in his booth.
The photographs were amazing. Some were of the hospital staff in compromising situations, photos of the restoration included the construction workers smoking pot and generally laying around on the job out of sight of the hotel surveillance system. As we looked Jack asked if he had anything more official, and with that question he lit up and turned towards the back of the collection to reveal covert photos of the Secret Service removing stuff from hotel rooms. In one of the photos a Secret Service agent carries a life-size sex doll made into an exact replica of G. Gordon Liddy. In another, an agent was holding a drunken Scooter Libby against the wall while he awaited the elevator.
Jack leapt to his feet and stormed over to the bar and grabbed at the phone to make a call. The bartender came down the bar and said something to Jack that I didn’t hear and Jack screamed, “If you’re mother was in this kind of situation you’d be on this side of the bar asshole!” The bartender who had seen many crazed looks like the one in Jack’s eyes (many from politicians) sulked back down to his newspaper.
“News desk! Hey. Mike! What would you do for a photograph of Scooter Libby being sodomized by an agent?”
The photographer looked at Jack and back down at the photograph and then to me.
“Well, you know the darkroom can do many things but these days a fraud can be spotted right away.”
I told him that it didn’t matter if the story was true or the photograph genuine. As long as it existed and was leaked in the right way it would show up on the news and get picked up by the wires.
I added, “If bullshit was the ration card of power the entirety of Washington would be bent over backwards digging corn.”
Flashing The Hash at the Watergate (part four)
As we left the bar we saw a group of Secret Service agents running to the salon located in the Watergate. We followed behind them to see a drunken Scooter Libby rubbing mud on his face and screaming about a free facial. Karl Rove was standing across the room talking into his cell phone. The Secret Service stormed into the room and Libby twirled the chair around at them and grabbing the terrified makeup attendant he started spitting on her neck and rubbing it in and screaming in a voice reminiscent of Truman Capote, “Isn’t it pretty, isn’t it pretty!”
The agents tackled the lady and Libby and began kicking them both. Rove sat down at the front desk and began flipping through the call caddy and copying down the names. One agent turned to secure the area and noticed us photographing the scene. The agent grimaced and started toward us but he slipped in the blood pouring from the woman’s forehead.
We ran down the hallway and were almost out of the hotel when Jack suggested we head for the conference room Rove had just left. We ran across the lobby and through the door. Down the stairs we met by a cleaning crew. We flashed our I.D.’s and took the garbage bag from them for inspection. They could have cared less why we needed it or for our identifications.
Back in the car I eased into traffic as Jack fished through the bag. He began laughing hysterically when he found a list of congressmen who had participated in the Duke Cunningham hooker scandal. Rove had the names circled and beside several of the names were amounts of money and personal phone numbers. One name in particular hit us more than others: Matt Drudge.
- Chris Mansel
SEE THE MANSEL REPORT.