WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney today apologized for recently suggesting that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a traitor and possible Chinese spy, and invited the 29-year-old to go quail hunting with him in Hong Kong later this week. Mr. Cheney reportedly told Snowden that he’d like to “bury the hatchet, among other, larger burials.”
Mr. Cheney’s apology and invitation represent a sudden change in tone. In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” over the weekend, Mr. Cheney, speaking of Snowden, said, “I think he is a traitor,” responsible for “one of the worst occasions in my memory of somebody with access to classified information doing enormous damage to the national security interests of the United States.” Mr. Cheney also insinuated that Snowden—who admitted to leaking classified information about the National Security Agency’s broad domestic surveillance program, and is currently hiding out Hong Kong—might be a Chinese spy. Snowden, for his part, said that “being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American,” and denied that he’s a spy.
According to sources, Mr. Cheney “feels that the whole name-calling thing got a little out of hand,” and wants to make things right with Mr. Snowden. “As you probably know, Dick loves quail hunting,” one source said. “He just lives for the fresh air, the thrill of the hunt, and the immunity—I mean natural beauty.” Mr. Cheney’s quail-hunting expeditions have been well-documented, especially a trip he took in 2006, during which he shot his friend, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington, in the face with a shotgun. Since both men claimed the shooting was an accident, no charges were ever brought against the Vice President.
Kara Ahern, a spokesperson for Mr. Cheney, denied speculation that, if he accepts the invitation, Snowden will end up being shot in the face like Mr. Whittington, or worse. “Come on,” Ahern said. “Mr. Cheney may be literally heartless, but he’d never do a thing like that, twice.” Nevertheless, sources say that Mr. Cheney recently questioned his lawyer as to whether or not his “shoot-your-hunting-buddy-in-the-face immunity” still applies, now that he’s retired.