Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fousesquawk Thriller: Who Killed Jeh Johnson?

Murder on the Metro

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It was just another in what had been a long series of bad days for Jeh Johnson. Ever since he took over for Janet Napolitano as DHS director, it had been nothing but bad days.

So it was with this day. It was 3:30, and Jeh had just finished testifying on Capitol Hill. As usual. he was unable to answer most of the questions thrown at him by angry Republican members of Congress, as well as a few Democrats. A couple of Republicans had called him, "clueless", but he was used to that. It had sort of become his nickname: Clueless Jeh.

As he left the Capitol, he tried to remember the questions he was asked so he could Google them and try to get answers.

"Given the number of deportation orders issued by DHS and the number executed, how many subjects of deportation orders are still walking around the US?" He couldn't answer. He had no clue.

"Since Mr Clapper, the FBI and the military all admit there is no way to  adequately vet those Syrian refugees, isn't it a possibility that some could be ISIS terrorists-especially since they have stated they intend to infiltrate their men into the stream of refugees?"

"Gee, I suppose so," Jeh had responded. He knew the President wasn't going to like that answer.

Seemingly in shell shock, Johnson walked across the street to the Metro station and boarded the train that would take him back to his office where he would finish out the day searching Google and playing a few video games prior to heading home for another boring night watching his testimony re-runs on CSPAN. Plopping into an empty seat, Johnson stared straight ahead and spoke to nobody.

A few minutes later, a homeless man stumbled onto the train and took the empty space next to Jeh. Winter was closing in, and for the homeless man and others like him, the Metro trains were a convenient refuge where they could just take a seat and ride for hours in comfort.

As he sat down, the man looked at Johnson and said hello. Johnson didn't reply. He just stared straight ahead. An hour passed. Two hours. After a while, the homeless man figured he had circled the Metro line a couple of times, and yet, the man sitting next to him had not exited the train.


Gathering up his his courage, the man grabbed Johnson by the arm and shook him.

"Are you OK, Buddy?"

Johnson slumped forward and crumpled to the floor.

Paramedics were called. They quickly loaded Johnson into an ambulance and took him to the hospital. It was no use, however.

Clueless Jeh was DOA.

An autopsy was performed. Cause of death could not be determined. Witnesses who were on the train were also interviewed. The seat where Johnson had been sitting was scoured with a fine tooth comb.

Clueless Jeh had left behind no clues.

Days passed, and still investigators were unable to determine how Johnson had died or who had been responsible. It was too suspicious that he had died minutes after taking such abuse from Congress. It was just too much of a coincidence.

The President was determined to get to the bottom of it. He appointed his top advisers and best minds to come together as sort of a task force to get the answers. The group consisted of James Clapper, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Josh Earnest, Martin Dempsey and Joe Biden, who acted as chair. In addition, it was felt that the group needed to look outside the usual investigative agencies to bring in a lead investigator with a proven track record of closing cases.

That man was former Justice Department Special Agent Dick Holder.

No other figure in Washington had the resume of Dick Holder. Prior to his retirement, Dick Holder had closed some of the most notorious cases in Beltway history; the Marc Rich case, the Fast and Furious scandal, not to mention the IRS case. If anybody could close this case, Dick Holder was the man.

So it came to pass that two weeks after Johnson was buried, a meeting was held at the White House involving all of the above-mentioned people. A few minutes after they convened, Dick Holder entered the room and took his seat with a confident swagger. Biden placed the investigative file in front of Dick Holder, who picked it up, leafed through a few pages in a casual manner and flipped it back on the desk.

"What about the homeless guy?" Dick Holder asked.

"He checked out," Earnest replied earnestly. "Turns out he was a registered Democrat. He voted for the President in the 2012 election-4 times, in fact. He is completely above suspicion."

At this point, Susan Rice chimed in.

"I heard there was a guy on board the train with a video camera. That might give us the motive. It had something to do with a video.Yeah. That's the ticket."

"Uh, he works for my office," Earnest said, his face turning a bit crimson. "I'll vouch for him."

"What about that arrow through his head? Think that might have had anything to do with it?" asked Rhodes.

"Of course not," said Clapper angrily. I've known Jeh for years. He had it for years. I have one too in case you haven't noticed."

Biden was getting exasperated. Pounding on the desk, he told the group, "The President wants answers, and he wants them fast. He's leaving on vacation to Hawaii tomorrow, and he wants to make a statement to the press before he leaves. This matter needs to be closed one way or the other."

Dick Holder stood up, walked to the window and turned to face the group.

"Then it is clear. Here are the facts: We know Johnson was grilled for hours before that Congressional subcommittee-mostly Republicans. There were no obvious wounds; the autopsy turned up nothing as far as heart attack, stroke, or lead poisoning, so there is only one conclusion."

Everyone in the group leaned forward in their seats and asked at the same time.

"What's that?"

"Workplace violence."

That was it. That was the ticket.

Joe Biden smiled. That meant everybody else at the table had to smile. The President would be satisfied. He could make his statement to the press, take off for Hawaii, and make his first tee time the following day.

"But," interrupted Dempsey, "We still don't have a perp."

Dick Holder smiled in amusement.

"We don't need one. With workplace violence, no perp is needed. It's the concept that matters."

It was thus settled. One by one, the people stood and shook Dick Holder's hand. Once again, he had stepped in and saved the day by closing another case.

Workplace violence. It was becoming a national epidemic. But that was not Dick Holder's problem. His job was done, and it was back to a comfortable retirement.

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