Headline from the near future

From New York Times online, November 7, 2006:

New Jersey Secretary of State Detained on Terror Charges

Trenton, New Jersey — Following outrage from news media and local officials, President Bush acknowledged in an Election Day morning news conference that the disappearance of New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells is indeed the result of her extraordinary rendition to an overseas detention center, location undisclosed.

“The revelations about Ms. Wells’ collusion with terrorist agents to falsify the results of the New Jersey elections gave me no choice. I instructed the CIA to detain Ms. Wells and do everything they must to protect the homeland. On this Election Day, American voters need to understand that I will do everything in my power to protect this nation from harm,” said Mr Bush from the steps of his Crawford, TX ranch.

Michael Hertford, lawyer for Ms. Wells, denies she had any involvement with terrorist organizations. “The accusation that my client colluded with Katherine Hanley [the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth detained eight days ago on similar charges] to disrupt the midterm elections is categorically false. I demand again access to my client to defend her against these baseless charges.” The CIA has not responded to his request. As a designated enemy combatant, Ms. Wells has no right to legal representation under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed by President Bush on October 17.

Ms. Wells absence has thrown the results of the NJ election into near-chaos. All eyes are focused on the Senatorial race between Democratic incumbent Bob Menendez and challenger Thomas Kean, on which according to yesterday’s polls the balance of power in the Senate depends. Without a Secretary of State to certify the results of the election, the outcome may not be known for weeks or even months until a new Secretary of State can be elected according to New Jersey law.

According to election analysts and constitutional experts, the Republican party will maintain control of the Senate in the meantime and possibly beyond the beginning of the new term in January while the New Jersey and Virginia election crises are resolved.

Too much paranoia for ya?

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