"Furious" Over Surprise Party Leaks
August 2, 2002
By Gil Christner
Washington, D.C. - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld blasted
the New York Times, among other media outlets, for
its inopportune reporting of secret plans to throw Lynn Cheney
a surprise birthday party in the upcoming weeks.
"This sort of thing is not only irresponsible and wrong-headed,
but it could permanently damage to our ability to surprise
any American on their birthday," Mr. Rumsfeld stated at a
Pentagon news conference. "The people at the Times
should be ashamed of themselves."
Lynn Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, will celebrate
her 61st birthday on August 14. The Cheneys have heretofore
traditionally held quiet observations of their respective
The Times ran a front page article earlier this week
detailing the extensive lengths the White House was going
to in preparation for party. However, it was intended to be
a secret, to surprise Mrs. Cheney.
The Times was explicit in revealing the White House
plans. "We're going to tell her we were taking her to the
'undisclosed location' where Dick is hiding," the Times
quoted a highly placed White House source as saying. "It'll
be in the bunker under the Air and Space Museum, where the
Shadow Government is supposed to be headquartered. She'll
According to the source, President and Mrs. Bush, Mr. Cheney
himself, the White House staff, most of the cabinet members,
their family and friends were to be hiding in the dark down
in the bunker.
Then, when Mrs. Cheney entered, the plan called for Ari Fleischer
to turn on lights while everybody jumped out from behind the
shelves stocked with MRE's and shouted "Surprise!"
The article went on to outline very specific details, including
custom-made party hats in the shape of the GOP Elephant, a
decorative banner saying "You're Not Getting Older, You're
Getting Richer," and various birthday games, including a round
of Truth or Dare and Pin the Tail on the Democrat.
Mary Cheney, daughter of the Vice President and his wife,
was especially disappointed that the Truth or Dare game was
revealed. "Mom loves to play that game with me," Ms. Cheney
told reporters. "Our family has learned a lot of important
things during that game."
Also of note were plans for National Security Advisor Condeleeza
Rice make balloon animals, and a rendition of "Let The Eagle
Soar" by Attorney General John Ashcroft. While several White
House staffers expressed regret that Ms. Rice's balloon animals
surprise was ruined, they didn't seem too disappointed about
not hearing the Attorney General sing again.
Mr. Rumsfeld vowed to investigate the leaks and take decisive
action. "When I find the party-pooper that ruined our fun,
I'm going to make sure he never gets invited to another White
House function again," he said, visibly shaken.
"This one was supposed to be a real big deal," an assistant
to Mr. Rumsfeld said. "This leaked story wrecks everything.
The boys at the Pentagon are just crushed."