by mg at 08:05 PM on March 14, 2002
Washington D.C. –– A cabinet member’s desk it is a sacred place – the one private place in his very public world. Donald Rumsfeld learned that invading that sanctum is a most serious offense.
Once one of the most promising prospects in politics, Rumsfeld was placed on unconditional waivers by the United States Governments after stealing a stapler and three-pack of legal pads from cabinet-mate Colin Powell’s desk, a government source said Thursday.
"That type of thing is a shock," President George Bush said. "It's sad. It's unfortunate."
Unlike many in-the-bedroom transgressions that often can be overlooked, Rumsfeld was not given a second chance by the government.
"We look at this as our house and this is our family," Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Mel Martinez said. "We spend more time here than we do with our real families. This was something that had to be dealt with quickly and as discretely as possible, but that's not possible in this age."
None of the cabinet members would publicly say why Rumsfeld was let go. But a lawyer familiar with the decision, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Rumsfeld took the equipment from Powell’s desk and sold it to a political memorabilia agent.
Rumsfeld later returned the stapler and legal pads, which he reportedly sold for $2,500, but it was too late to save his career with the United States Government.
"The Whitehouse is a special place," Bush said. "It's our sanctuary. It's big part of what we do. Trust is very important."
Secretary of Health & Human Services Tommy Thompson said stuff disappears from his desk all year, but he has never suspected a cabinet member of doing it. "I try and protect some of my important game stuff," Thompson said. "It happens all the time. I don't think it's the cabinet members."
This time it was.
Like that of most cabinet members, Powell’s desk is filled with pens, paper clips, important papers and staplers– which he considers his most precious stationary item. Other valuables are usually locked away.
Powell sells most of his office-used equipment – including 20-to-25 pens a year – through Steiner Political Memorabilia to raise money for his America's Promise charity.
Brandon Steiner, the head of the company, said the sales generate more than $250,000 a year for the charity, including between $2,500 and $10,000 per paper clip. But there's one item Powell never sells.
"I know those staplers are very personal," Steiner said. "He never parts with them."
But no matter what Rumsfeld took, the outrage likely would have been the same.
The team confronted Rumsfeld after players learned of the theft last week. Rumsfeld had a closed-door meeting Saturday with Bush, vice president Dick Cheney and Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card, Jr.
Cheney met with Rumsfeld again Monday morning and, later that day the cabinet was told of the decision.
"We have always been able to discuss things as a team," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said. "That's one reason why we've been so successful because we've had such good chemistry. We tend to act as a unit and talk things through." Rumsfeld’s actions tore at the fabric of that chemistry, creating an element of mistrust.”
Powell declined to comment on the theft or the release, saying he didn't "want to add fuel to the fire." Rumsfeld, who received a $200,000 settlement of his contract, said he's negotiating with other country’s governments, "even though right now things are a little more difficult.''
"between $2,500 and $10,000 per paper clip"
When you put it that way, I suddenly realize how overpaid and overhyped our professional athletes are. How fanatical as a country. This satire has Opened My Eyes! God bless you, MG, and your rapier wit! :)
by Doyce at March 16, 2002 12:15 PM
I bet that fucker Rumsfeld got my stapler too. If anybody sees it on e-bay, snatch it up. It's only worth about $500, now, but my ship will come in anyday.
by space at March 17, 2002 5:49 PM
This board is a work of bullshit. It is most likely a work of some staff officer, Liberal piece of garbage, or General from a leg Infantry Division, who has always lied, cheated, forged URR's; and; yes, they will streal your soldier's hearts. Rumsfield has the keen insight to see that Special Ops is the way to fight the war on terrorism plus all wars.
by Jon C. Potter at May 1, 2003 10:59 AM
Jon C. Potter, you are easily the dumbest man alive.
by mg at May 1, 2003 11:12 AM