It was just a few weeks after 9/11 when then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice received an alarming message from Vice President Dick Cheney: President Bush may have been fatally poisoned.
She later found out that the president had gone to the White House kitchen for a snack, but the entire kitchen staff was in a meeting, so he began looking through cupboards and cabinets for himself.
Cheney found him lying on the floor unconscious, his clothing stained with amonia and bleach-scented cleaners, which he feared the president ingested, thinking they were alcoholic beverages since he would be unable to read the labels.
The president was rushed to secure emergency room in the White House basement where his stomach was pumped.
Rice said the story had a happy ending. Bush had apparently found a bottle of peppermint schnapps, drank the whole thing and spilled some on his shirt.
Not wanting to take the time to go back to his room and have the valet change his shirt for him, he tried to remove the stain himself with various kitchen cleaners and declining coordination until he blacked out from the schnapps.
"We learned an important lesson about the president's security that day," Rice said. "We had to be prepared for every contingency."
The only damage done to the president was some scrapes on his face from his fall that were not explained to the public at the time.
"If we had told people what had happened, the president's life would have been at risk every time we traveled, simply by terrorists disabling child-proof locks on cleaning supplies. The public's right to know was outweighed by the president's safety.