In a third interview from the little known world astronomers are calling "Planet Cheney," Vice President Dick Cheney made a number of surprising revelations....
PLANET CHENEY STRIKES BACK
By Jack Kus
** Surprising Disclosures of Special Plans Ops from VP -- Wife's Role Revealed **
February 5, 2004
NASA telemetry may be finding it difficult to contact Vice President Richard (Dick) B. Cheney at his extraterrestrial branch office, located on the distant world astronomers are calling "Planet Cheney." But that doesn't mean that Mr. Cheney can't reach out and touch someone when he feels the need, Internet professionals discovered this week.
Early Wednesday, after a web site revealed that the vice president had taken the Pentagon's controversial Office of Special Plans (OSP) to the little-known planet, the site crashed.
The web site -- http://www.ufppc.org -- was finally back online midday Thursday, but only after overcoming a ferocious attack, web professionals reported. In an interview with the vice president Thursday morning, Mr. Cheney took credit for the deed.
"I told Scooter about your piece on OSP up here," explained Mr. Cheney, referring to I. Libby "Scooter" Lewis, the vice president's chief of staff. "And Scooter said: 'Those bastards. Let's show them a little of what Planet Cheney can do.' "
Mr. Lewis's presence on Planet Cheney was confirmed Thursday by the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena who monitor signals from NASA's Anitinae probe, now poised on the planet's surface.
"I went along with Scooter," Mr. Cheney said, chuckling. "If we're going to be taken seriously out here, we've got to show that we can respond effectively to events. I'm the vice president, after all. I'm the second in command. The American people need to have a sense that someone competent's in charge, in control. You can't reveal weakness. That's just the way the world is."
"That's also why I wanted people to know that OSP was up and running," he added. "It reassures people. Scooter thought it just slipped out. He should know me better than that."
Technicians at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley, succeeded in reestablishing contact with the vice president early Thursday morning. Planet Cheney acquired its name about ten days ago when an infrared detector on a roving robot vehicle from the space probe Anitinae discovered Mr. Cheney and a Secret Service agent sitting in duck blind not far from the probe's impact point.
Asked about the communications difficulties, Mr. Cheney laughed: "Planet Cheney may be hard to reach, but that doesn't mean Planet Cheney can't reach you."
Web professionals operating Mambo Open Source, the server in question, said they were attacked early Wednesday by a barrage of typo bugs causing fatal errors throughout the array of .php files used to power the site. The result: template crashes, login problems, and gateway query errors galore.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Klaus Scottminzer, chief webmeister at Mambo. "They sure scrambled our eggs."
In his third interview from Planet Cheney, the vice president noted that the Internet is being viewed with increasing concern in administration circles.
"How long can we allow this to go on?" he asked. "When I was studying for my Ph.D., information was hard to come by." Mr. Cheney began, but did not complete, Ph.D. studies in political science at the University of Wisconsin in the 1960s.
"You had to study for years to figure out what was going on, or else you had to pay a lot of very smart people to go around keeping track of things, the way I did at Halliburton. Now any ten-year-old can find out just about anything in five minutes. What kind of a world is that?" he asked, his voice crackling with static.
Among the "special plans" that the OSP is now working on, said Mr. Cheney, is an effort to find a number of ways to make the Internet so difficult and disagreeable to use that the public will turn away from it. "Let them go back to watching TV," said the vice president. "That's what made America the world power it is today -- TV and Henry Luce." Henry Luce (1898-1967) founded Time Magazine in 1923.
And what of commercial uses of the Internet? "We think ways could be found to preserve those," Mr. Cheney said.
Mr. Cheney made another surprising revelation in the long-distance interview. The idea of flooding e-mail accounts with ads for Viagra and bogus enlargers of male genitalia, he said, was the brain child of his wife, Lynne V. Cheney, former head of the National Endowment of Humanities. More recently, Mrs. Cheney hosted the 2003 White House Easter Egg Roll.
"It came to her at dinner one night. Lynne had spent the day answering complaints about some obscene art project that the NEH had partially funded, and she could hardly eat her foie gras. 'How would people feel if every time they opened their e-mail they had to look at pornography or ads for sex toys?' she said to me. At that moment a little light bulb went on, and I had the OSP working on it the next morn--"
Suddenly the speaker in the radio telemetry room at Moffett Field went dead, a casualty of a sudden spike in the solar wind. NASA technicians were unable to predict when contact with Planet Cheney might be reestablished.