Book 2 Chapter 40

Marcy was busy on the phone, her clerks just as busy. I decided to stay out of the way.

I went to my office and opened the State Department’s fancy world search Google program that I knew they paid a bunch for and was the best that could be bought. I wanted to look at Polokwane and the surrounding areas again. What I wanted to know was what made this location attractive to the Iranians?

I had looked when we were getting ready to kill the Prince, but not with any other ideas.

To the east was the national game preserve – butted right up to the line – so there was nothing there. Or was there? The game preserve was five hundred thousand acres.

To the west was an abandoned mine; it looked like it had been closed for decades. To the north from the satellite it looked like someone had done extensive testing there, or could the terrain look that way from heavy shelling or bombing in the past? I knew of no wars in that area which would have used those kinds of weapons.

To the south there was just land; it looked like nothing exceptional. I went back to the abandoned mine and kept blowing the picture up. When it got large enough I moved the pointer around again and still saw nothing worthwhile.

When the courser passed over the complex of junk and falling down buildings up popped a name, Brazil Mining and Minerals – BM&M. Damn, we had used their plane to fly from South America to South Africa in the mission to kill the Prince.

I had the company president’s number in my cell phone. Alanza Fernando and I had met when I was Ambassador to Uganda; he was easy to get along with. BM&M had contracts in South America and most of Africa where it was safe. He was at a meeting I had to attend while I was in Uganda.

We talked 30 minutes about a lot of things before I could direct the conversation to the abandoned mine. One of the things that held the conversation was he knew several of my Embassy employees in Brasilia. He was a frequent visitor there.

“The property you have near Polokwane – what are you going to do with it?” I asked.

“Nothing. It is worthless for our mining business; every square mile had been tested for minerals and any deposits that would make us money. There is nothing there but rock and dirt,” he replied.

“Not even rare earth minerals? I thought Africa was the hot spot for them,” I said.
“Other parts of Africa – but nothing in that part,” he said.

“It has been on the market several times in the last twenty years, the cattle ranchers do not even want it for pasture,” he said.

“To be honest I am in the process of buying the other Polokwane mine to make into a training facility but I need more property away from the game preserve for safety reasons. Are you still interested in selling it?” I asked.

“Absolutely! But you would have to take the whole parcel off our hands. The property borders all three sides of the piece you have bought. I’m looking at the computer as we talk. We gave five dollars a hectare American twenty four years ago. The stock holders would want to make some money.

“Ten dollars American per hectare,” he said.

That is roughly twenty five dollars an acre, I figured.

“How big a parcel is it?” I asked.

“Two hundred and fifty thousand hectares,” he said.

Damn – that is a little over six hundred twenty thousand acres, two thirds the size of the King Ranch and a bargain at six and a quarter million dollars at our land prices. Better yet, that takes both mines off the market for the Iranians. There were no other large abandoned mines or any mines for that matter in the northern half of South Africa.

Whatever Iran wanted them for, us buying both of them would close the door in this part of Africa. I wondered if the mullahs knew the mines could still be productive. According to old information on wiki there were miles of manmade caverns and tunnels.

Marcy is going to have a fit I thought.

“OK, you have a deal. Send me the information and where you want the EFT to go,” I said.

The faxes, emails and signature exchanges began; an hour later we were done. I had copies of the deeds, property plot and bill of sale along with bank drafts on my desk.

To add icing on the cake I had a list of qualified people he recommended to set up and reopen the gold mine and train our people to run it for us.

I was just refilling my coffee mug to go see Marcy when she came in with a hand full of papers.

“Done, other than receiving the original documents. I see you have been working on something as well,” Marcy said.
“Yes, I will fill in the blanks at our meeting,” I said.

Our meeting was in fifteen minutes, just enough time to put everything together for the Spanish inquisition.

Every time I stepped out of my domain into one of my mate’s areas, they gave me the Perry Mason cross examination at the meeting. At times I felt like Hamilton Burger – out gunned.

It was all in fun – of course – to keep me on my toes and that nothing any of us did was going to slip by unnoticed even if it was by me. And in the end they let me know it was alright – but.

I let Marcy go first and put out the facts and paper on the mines and a property plot of the six thousand acres and the roads. I questioned her about little details on the transaction. I questioned Lorrie about the hangers, the runway and the hotel and what her plans were for them. She had Google Earth close ups that we had paid for from Vicky’s security accounts.

They could clearly see I was stalling. The finger nail drum beat started ta-ta-dum; first it was Ching Lee then Jenny added to it and Vicky. Lorrie was still talking plans.

When she finished I started with the intercepts from the trio about their quest to buy the mines. They reinforced my thoughts the mine could be productive or that it could be used for advanced weapons testing. We felt that Iran knew about the false production by the Prince. Iran needed hard currency badly; gold and diamonds would do nicely for them.

That explained why the purchase had become a rush. Then I opened the property plot of my purchase and placed Marcy’s in position on it.

Almost a thousand square miles! Damn, what had we done? Better yet, what had we started? There had been a lapse of thought on my part.

I had forgotten that the Prince had a mixture of Taliban, ISIS and other renegades working for him. We had killed a few – where were the others now and had they regrouped and organized? Could we be walking into a hornet’s nest?

Was it possible that Iran already reassembled that group? I wondered if any of the replies to the General Kader’s postings were from the area. More work for Roberts’s group and needed in a rush.

The girls were not unhappy about the land purchases. If we bought property for a training center and housing in Portugal, JBG would own property on five continents. North America, Europe, Africa, South America – we owned hangars for the helicopters in several countries , and Asia – hangars and the housing complex for our embassy men in South Korea – truly making JBG an international company.

Marcy was hoping that the mine surveys came back favorable. If they did it would be a sizable income not connected to the federal government, helping with the diversity in income numbers she wanted so badly.

The fun – logistics was just beginning. First order was to post a general email message to all security employees to find if we had any with mining and general contractor experience that were willing to go to South Africa for months as supervisors.

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Book 2 Chapter 39

Monday I spent two hours on VCATS with Prime Minister Cordeiro and then another hour with Biff and Ed. Things were coming along nicely with the Portugal security arrangement. With the Pact firmly situated and the addition of two more countries – Slovenia and Austria – into the Pact it was time to move forward.

I gave Ed an assignment to look at several properties that Lorrie’s group and a Realtor had found. With the bulk of our people in Portugal I – along with Andy – felt our European headquarters should be there. I felt that we could handle all the Pact needs from there, especially if the right location could be found.

Portugal was on the Atlantic coast and all of the JBG planes, with the exception of the C130 and the C5, could make the flight without refueling.

I certainly had no interest in having a headquarters in Italy or France.
The US Navy had a base in Italy and it was unsafe for the sailors to go alone practically anywhere after dark; they needed to be in groups. It was nearly as bad for tourists. You stayed with tour groups at assigned hotels and points of interest. Anything else could get you robbed and beat up or worse.

It was rumored that Italy was the largest maker of snuff porn in the world.
Snuff porn is where the actress dies for real in the movie. In Italy the Mafia controls the porn industry. High risk strippers, hookers, high end call girls and porn movie queens unknowingly met their fate in snuff movies.

High risk meant someone who catered to politicians, Mafia bosses, or those involved in extortion or murder rackets, or when they knew too much to risk being flipped over to the prosecutors with information that could damage the Mafia.

End of career was when they were too old, fat or worn out. How does one get worn out? After the run of main line porn and being no longer in demand, they go to fetish porn; the crazy kinky stuff and abuse. After that is the end of their career. Instead of dead in a ditch, the Mafia wanted one last euro from them and to eliminate the risk; it was snuff movies for them. Obviously they do not get the last page of the script.

Few of the movies were ever made public. They were to be viewed by a special clientele and Mafia bosses. Occasional clips were leaked on the internet but very few. Everyone who was allowed to watch them knew the consequences for leaking.

It was also rumored that the Ukraine and Russia were now big in snuff movies and for them the girl did not need to be at the end of her career. The Russian mob and powerful politicians had a sick sense of pleasure and an unlimited source of girls. The Russian mob made the Italian mob – even in its heyday – look like a kindergarten class.

France was another one that was out of the question since we were investigating the ISIS and its Iranian connection near Paris. I thought it best not to stir the pot that large, at least for time being.

We had to have a facility capable of housing two hundred with an area for training both physical and firearm.

There were ten more trips with the C5 to Turkey to pick up the last of the classified cargo. It was enough for us to get nearly all the things Biff and Ed needed. It would be stored in the hangar until the site was ready.

After lunch I was helping Lorrie; she wanted me to look over the air show plans. There was a lot to look at; Lorrie’s clerks had white boards with the timeline for events. There sure were a lot of events.

There was another set of white boards with the list of displays that were going to be there. I was surprised to see that the Coast Guard was going to have one of their newest rescue helicopters on display.

General Ingram had come through on my request; there on the white board were spots for fly-over’s by military aircraft. There was no description of what was flying over, just a time. I did know that the Army Golden Knights parachute team was going to drop in early at some point.

There were a dozen or more historic aircraft going to be on display. Ching Lee had advertised the air show in every paper, radio station and on TV station for a hundred miles. We were hoping for a good crowd.

One of the fences had been moved back to expand the parking area for planes that could be parked on the grass. The portable bleachers were coming tomorrow. It was going to be a good show.

I didn’t get to work more than two hours. When the calls started, first was the EIT duty man, “Make sure you come by and check your box.”

I wondered what that was all about; if it had been important he would have said something on the phone. Then again, maybe not. Robert had cautioned his people to be careful about what they said on the phone.

Tom Folsom was not one of the normal EIT men who worked the duty desk and talked to me. He was always quite to the point and little else but he knew how to work computer hacking. His desk was as far from the door as he could get. Maybe he was playing it close to the chest to make sure he did not make any mistakes with me.

The second call was Ben Smith, “The search of Jaed’s house ended today. There was a trove of well hidden information collected. I ordered Harrisburg to send all of it to Washington. It will be here today.”

“I believe you need to come and look at it. I will have it copied for you but we need to go through it together at 0800 tomorrow morning,” he said.

“I’ll be there,” I said.

“Two days – just two days,” I thought.

The next call was from General Ingram.

We had a wide-ranging conversation; part of it was on the flights to Turkey. Then on the next question, “I understand you are buying property in South Africa?”

I wondered how in the hell he knew that? “Yes, we have put a down payment on some property there,” I said.
“I hear you are coming to the White House tomorrow. I will talk more about it then,” he said.

Now I did wonder what that was all about.

There was something nagging me about my conversation with Tom Folsom. I left Morton and went to Roberts’s office.

Tom was sitting at the control panel working with gibberish. That was the best name I could think of off the top of my head. A screen full of slashes, periods and all other kinds of symbols.

I picked up the big stack of paper from my box and it was a stack, considering there had been nothing there last night. Instead of leaving I pulled up one of the other chairs by Tom.

“Good afternoon Tom, looks like you have had a productive day,” I said.

“Yes – very productive and lucky I think. There were twenty responses to Tiam’s orders yesterday. I spent most of the morning trying to run down where they came from.”

“Ten are from the US, the rest are Europe, Australia, Japan, and South America. I concentrated on the ones from the US. We were right that there is a group in Oklahoma City. The others are in California, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Washington, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico and Arizona.

“It Looks like Texas, New Mexico and Arizona may be way points for those coming across the border, possibly orientation and training. I did find several short messages from them to Tiam, usually just a few words basically like – shipment arrived or something similar. You have a binder with all the information I could get about them.”

“Oklahoma is the only one we have seen before in any of the other communiqués. The rest appear to be dormant cells or have a separate communication link assigned to them,” Tom said.

“If that were case, why would they answer on a general broadcast?” I asked.

“Good point and I do not think they would. One cell making a mistake – maybe – but all ten, I don’t think so,” Tom replied.

“The process team has wondered if there were more links we had not found.”

” Since I had the time I went looking and experimenting. I found in the same general area of the dark web two goodies. One was a link from Tiam to the KGB and the other was a link to the Chinese Intelligence services; both have been active in the last few weeks.”

“Iran wants a base in Northern South Africa but knows it would never get one legitimately. Russia is supporting the move behind the scene. Iran is trying to get the Chinese to buy the property for them.

“They are close to making an agreement; the only sticking point is China wants them to buy a substantial anti-aircraft system from them and the price of the land would be included in the pricing.”

“Russia is objecting; they do not want China to get that kind of deal – afraid that they will work Russia out of the arms sale picture with Iran over time.”

“Here is the real kicker; Iran wants the mines in Polokwane. The reason is to continue the nuclear testing and development, and to store materials and waste away from the international inspectors.”

“Isn’t that the same property you are looking at? Tom asked.

“Yes it is,” I replied.

I called Marcy.

“Close the deal on the South African property today. Send them the full amount. Get a bill of sale – complete as much as can by whatever means necessary to get it locked down, giving them no wiggle room to get out of it.”
“Please get it done today – forget about the survey. If you have to use the embassy team to get the paperwork, do it,” I said.

I started reading that section of the report one line at a time in deep concentration and thought.

The more I read the more pissed I got and that was not a good thing.

An hour later I had finished, “Thanks Tom for the good work, keep me informed.”

I rode the elevator to the first floor to see Marcy.

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Book 2 Chapter 38

Everyone had Thursday off except for the critical people needed to run the airport and command center. Even those were working split shifts.

Thursday morning we went out in the boats, Jake’s and Dad’s. We had not bought a boat yet. The cut that came up behind the house had not been dredged yet. It was on the schedule but was a month away. After it was dredged, sheeting would need to be driven in to stop the creek from filling in with topsoil over time. After all that, the dock would get built before we could look for a boat. We cast some lines just to make it look like we were fishing.

We took turns lying on the cabin in the sun – naked – for the natural tan while watching the boys. There is something about extended time in the warm sun over a few seconds in the tanning booth.

Lorrie and Ching Lee both had returned to their pre-pregnancy form. Other than a few slight stretch marks you would never have known they had been pregnant, other than that and the slightly bigger boobs, that is.

At noon – with no fish to clean – we went home to start our cookout. At four our families and close friends were coming. Frank, Ben, Eric and their wives and kids were invited along with Joey. I wondered if they would show after yesterday.

All the normal foods and steamed crabs would be a feast for all of us. We had plenty of mac and cheese and hot dogs for Jacob and little Robert; their favorite foods.

There was no business or political talk for a change, just the normal things; the weather, kids, traffic and family.

After the meal and socializing, we were all going to watch the fireworks from our yard. We were close enough to the big yacht club to see them. They always put on a great show. We would have gone back to the boats and anchored on the viewing area by the narrows. We were afraid the explosions would be too loud for the little ones if we were that close.

I stayed home on Friday with the IRS now in capable hands and with Harrisburg over and now in the hands of the investigators; it eliminated two reasons for me to go.

Congress was soon on summer recess – as if they needed one. They were in the rush of budget bills along with the rush of trying to get all their local projects approved and funded, also appeasing the special interest groups they needed for campaign funds.

As such, I did not need to worry about any subpoenas for a few weeks. There were a few senators rotating in and out of the news cycle making noise to keep the story alive in order to distract the media from what they were really doing behind closed doors.

I hoped I could put off testifying until Andrew and Anne finished the investigation. I planned a blockbuster report with all the whistles and bells. The final report should take the steam out of Congress.

I stopped by Roberts’s office to look in my box and to talk to the duty man. Robert had given his group Friday off; I approved the extra day for them. Many had worked twelve hour days for the last few weeks on the Harrisburg mess.

The duty man had made himself busy deciphering the hackings from Tiam. I was glad to see it was still active, even more to read the orders from the general.

He was furious over Harrisburg, raging about the loss of valuable people and resources with no message to the detractors and no glory for Allah. All because of weakness for the vile temptations of women and drink.

A series of directives and orders were in my unencrypted messages.

In a nutshell he ordered all operatives to abstain from all alcohol, pornography, and the illicit temptations of infidels. He ordered a complete religious cleaning and new commitment to the cause.

I believed that it was a general broadcast to all their operatives. The best thing about it was he wanted acknowledgment that the operatives received the message.

One more sign that it was bad for leaders to micro-manage people in the field to the point of wanting verification of messages.

For us this could be an intelligence bonanza. With enough research Robert should be able to track down just how many active groups the general had planted and were working in the US.

The immediate question was, were the communiqués a plant and would any information gleamed be false? Only time would tell.

The rest of the morning was spent in meetings with the rest of the girls; we had a lot to talk about. The primary thing was who to assign the Pact country security teams to.

The embassy security division reported to Vicky with over seventy five hundred employees. That was a lot of people to be responsible for, even with Cindy and two vice presidents under her to help. Cindy had long ago been promoted to Senior Vice President over the two other vice presidents.

With all the problems and issues with Pact – languages, foreign locations associated with – it fell well within Vicky’s wheelhouse.

Ching Lee did not need any more things to deal with either, with twenty five hundred people in college security and five hundred in other security contracts. Plus at least three more colleges were near to completing contracts for the fall, and to top it off, Public Relations was also hers.

It was certainly out of the scope of Marcy with all the financial things and the MAAR rental sites, utility leases and now the truck dealership.

Lorrie had the aviation division plus the vacation rental, real estate, the truck stop and the Horsey and Crash motels. If the South African mine reports came back favorable, it was going under Lorrie’s real estate arena as an investment. We had already locked it down with a deposit.

Lorrie and Marcy had opened a discussion that if the truck stop was successful, we should be adding more to create a chain of them. Successful meant a very good profit ratio in Marcy’s eyes.

Jenny had Legal and Human Resources; even with help from Jason, HR was still a work load. Everything revolved around contracts and agreements. We were still hiring continuously and continued expansion was the driver.

Our employee turnover was minuscule compared to other businesses – less than .1 percent – while other similar businesses were 3 percent and fast food was at fifteen percent and more.

There was a real question on how to make the Pact fit in. More thought was definitely required.

I asked my security detail if they would like lunch at Morton. Since we were all together today to have lunch – the first in a while on a work day – the girls and I decided to take the boys to the restaurant. We waited until the noon time rush was over before we went.

There was plenty room for us. We girls ordered salad and lemonade, little Jacob and little Robert wanted Mac and cheese with a hot dog. The security guards with us were sitting at various tables so they could watch over us as they ate.

We were finishing up when several reporters from a Delaware station came in to eat. They had been covering Energy Department hearings in Washington on the proposed wind generation off the coast, according to the rowdy conversation they were having. One of the reporters was eyeing us to the point of staring.

We were just getting ready to get up and leave when Hanna and Melinda came in.

“So you two are palling around together on your day off?” I asked.

“I was showing Melinda around today; she worked out with me in the gym. They said you might still be here. We thought we would come join you and get a piece of apple pie a la mode and coffee,” Hanna replied.

I sort of laughed.

“You do know that gym, workout, apple pie and ice cream do not belong in the same sentence,” I said.

“We worked out a little extra hard,” Melinda said.

“OK, but I’m reasonably sure that a little extra may be required for the next couple days,” I said.

“Have you been listening to the news today?” Melinda asked.

“Nope, too many other important things to deal with,” I replied.

“The ACLU and certain congressmen are calling for an investigation into the raid, for all the normal reasons,” Melinda said.

“I ordered my own investigation on the flight back, I’m way ahead of them,” I said.

“To change the subject, there is another delivery in four weeks to the refugee camp in Uganda if either of you two want to go along,” I said.

“None of us are going and lately the deliveries have been unloaded in the warehouse, but if you wanted to go to the camp it could be arranged,” I added.

The Delaware reporters were leaving. The one that had been staring stopped at our table and said, “I hope they put you in jail for Harrisburg.”

“That’s not going to happen,” I replied. “But thanks for your opinion,” I said.

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Book 2 Chapter 37

The helicopter ride seemed to take forever, even thought it was only forty minutes.

I called the girls to fill them in and to tell them I would be on the news again.

I turned the swivel seat around to face Eric, Ben, Anne and Andrew.

“I want every single individual from every department and agency that was on site to be interviewed starting on Friday. This needs to start from the time they turned off the highway on to the lane. I need what they did, what they saw, what orders they were given, and how many rounds they fired.”

“I want maps and location of every vehicle with notations of who was in the vehicle. I want the location of everyone dead and who was injured. I want to be able to reconstruct this fiasco like a movie script from beginning to end,” I said.

“Axle took pictures as he was leaving; I will get you copies to help with mapping the scene. When that is finished we will meet with all the agencies and hash out the differences.”

“Anne, since you have the most experience at analyzing data and systematic planning you are in charge. Don’t be afraid to exercise your authority. Split the agencies in half with Andrew. Get it done.”

“I will authorize an expense account with air travel and have the GSA authorize a car for both of you. I will also authorize for you to get whatever clerks you need from the pool to assist you.”

“Eric can supply the list of agencies that participated and the contacts with them,” I said.

“How long do you think you will need?” I asked.

“Not more than thirty days to the final report with both of us working on it. The sooner the interviews happen, the better – before memories get cold. We just have to wait until the funerals are over,” Anne replied.

“This investigation is not to assign blame. I have already accepted that. It is to identify why and what went wrong, and how to fix it before the next one happens – and it will,” I said.

Then I called Andy, “Bring all our people and equipment home from Harrisburg. They can stay and watch the fireworks there or come home to be with their families for the holiday.”

“Monday run them through the gun range and the fitness test. They will be reassigned to the Pact Countries by the end of the week.”

“Plan on a team going to Paris with me during the last week of July. Fate has scheduled a meeting for me with the angel of death. Make sure there is a coffin on board to bring my body home,” I said.

After a long pause, “OK,” Andy replied.

Every eye in the helicopter was wide and on me but no one said anything.

A few minutes later we were landing on the west lawn at the White House.

We met with the President and his staff for most of an hour, first discussing the all the information. The FBI bomb squad confirmed that all one hundred bikes were recovered and disarmed.

Friday they were going to cut the tubes apart with a pipe cutter and remove the C4, holding some of it for evidence and disposing the rest of it.

There would be long and drawn out trials for those arrested in the machine shops and community members of Avon Heights. The raids had produced plenty of evidence.

I could just imagine the fun they would have blowing things up with it. I loved to play with explosives myself at times.

The news conference started at four with Ben and Eric in front giving statements. The grim news about the causalities was given and the agencies they worked for. Then the condolences and sorrow for the loss of life and the gallant sacrifices of the fallen officers.

I stood with Anne and Andrew behind Ben as I said I would. The politicians gave the usual pat themselves on the back and the fine work that their agencies and people had done protecting the citizens of the nation.

Then there was the reassurances that everything that could be done to protect the public was being done. And then the questions started.

Ben, Eric and the others answered carefully. One of the things we had done in the meeting before the news conference was to discuss how certain questions and answers were to be given. The Harrisburg group was given a script to use before we left there so we would be on the same page. We wanted to preserve the dark web intelligence if we could.

At the Harrisburg news conference DHS director Creber had followed script when answering the question on how we found out about the terror group and their plans. Eric answered the same way but the Washington reporters were insistent on more detail to the point of harassing Eric.

Finally I stepped to the podium.

“I can give more information on that, as Director Roberson had stated – the first information did come through the tip line.”

“One of the members of the group had a weakness for strippers and booze. He was a mouthy bragging drunk. He visited a strip joint several times a week. One of the strippers that he fancied became very concerned at some of the things he was bragging about and phoned the tip line several times.”

“The lady agreed to an interview and after a convincing interview, I made the decision to replace all the strippers at the joint with agents if we could fine enough qualified volunteers.”

“Ten volunteered with conditions. There were enough ladies that the complete staff were agents for the hours of operation.”

“The drunk unknowingly supplied a wealth of information about their plans, even going to the strip joint to tell the lady he may not see her again and giving her a substantial tip,” I said and then turned to stand behind Eric.

I was hoping it would key up the media and it did. The more attention it drew, the better the chances it would get to the General.

“What kind of qualifications did you require?” someone asked.

“They had to look good in lingerie, pasties and dental floss – all the normal things for that business – and be able to master the pole,” I replied.

That left the media group in hysterics.

“What were those conditions?” another asked.

“Their identities had to remain anonymous, there was to be no electronic or paper trail that would ever lead to them. Their work computers were logged onto and work under their ID was completed every day they were on this assignment. They were not to be photographed in working attire.”

“The reports they generated were on paper and picked up by a courier, they were not copied, scanned or photographed. Once I read them they were shredded.”

“The internal and external cameras at the joint were disconnected and cell phones were forbidden inside the joint.”

“Their assignment ended last night and the employees returned to their normal work today. All things at the strip joint were returned to the condition it was before the surveillance started,” I said.

A Senator who was standing with the administration went ballistic.

“Am I to understand that you had female federal employees – from the FBI no less – working as strippers in a strip joint and had them there for a while in violation of dozens of rules?” he yelled.

“Who gave you that authority? I demand an investigation, that you be fired and criminally charged,” he said.

“The terrorists obeyed no rules in their quest kill thousands – I bent a few rules to stop the carnage and save thousands. I’m willing to bet few people attending the fireworks will have a problem with the undercover intelligence operation methods I used,” I said.

The President returned to the podium.

“On another matter I am nominating Hap McCoy as the Director of the IRS effective today. I would like to thank Ambassador Jones for her work there and hopefully this will reduce some of that overworked condition she has been under.”

With that the news conference was over. We members of Section Twelve started for the elevator but were stopped by the President and Troy.

Before the President could say anything, Ben said “If that was a little white lie I would hate to see a big one.”
“Yeah, it qualifies as a whopper. It was the only way that I could think of that might salvage the dark web source by convincing the General he had a failure of personnel and not broken code. We will know for sure in a day or two. If the code stays active it will be worth it.”

“The media is going to go crazy trying to find which nonexistent strip joint cooperated with us. Congress will spend millions trying to find ten FBI agents,” the President said.

“There are at least six strip joints and even more adult clubs, none of them are going to talk to the media and I bet they don’t say a word to any investigators,” Eric said.

“You are going to need another presidential pardon for when the wolves close in,” he added.

“You answered the question I was going to ask but would you really put agents in that position?” the President asked.

“To stop a terrorist strike like this, I would work the joint myself, if necessary. But I doubt anyone would pay to see me in pasties and dental floss,” I replied.

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Book 2 Chapter 36

They had been waiting inside the barn for all the occupants to exit the vehicles to become easy targets. When the SUVs started backing away they opened fire, filling the occupants and the engines with rounds. The engines died and the men inside were dying.

“FIREBIRD1 WE ARE TAKING HEAVY FIRE FROM THE BARN! EMPTY THE TUBES AND EMPTY THE RACKS INTO THE BARN,” I yelled into the aviation radio.

“10-4”

Axle James was the pilot of the Blackhawk. He was a marine UH 60 pilot for years, with thousands of combat hours in the Iraq war. He hated the goat humping bastards with a passion.

He had positioned the Blackhawk to make a pass down the side and rake it with the mini gun. Instead, he kicked it around enough to put two Stingers into the end of the barn and six more into the side. With that done the side was raked with the mini gun. There were two mini guns in the Blackhawk – one fired out each side door – each one fed with a rack that carried ten thousand rounds, firing up to six thousand rounds a minute. He emptied that rack into that side of the barn. Every foot was receiving dozens of rounds.

Axle flew past the barn then turned and put two more Stingers into the other end of the barn and the six remaining into the other side. A swooping turn brought the other mini gun to bear on what was left of the barn. With the racks and tubes empty, Axle landed the helicopter in the grass.

My group was outside of the SUV we were riding in, looking at the inferno that used to be a barn. Axle and his crew walked over to us.

“Well boss, that is all I got unless I empty my Glock into it,” Axle said.

“Looks like you had just enough. Do you have enough fuel to get back to Morton?” I asked.

“Oh yeah, no problem there. Do you need a hand or two before we leave? Or maybe a bag of marshmallows?” he asked looking at the fire.

“I forgot the marshmallows,” I replied. “Besides with all that ammo going off I doubt you could get close enough.”

“Probably just as well, they would have an odd taste to them,” he said as he started to walk away.

“Axle, make a circle and take pictures of this fiasco. I may need them later,” I said. “Also, keep them to yourself.”

By now dozens of ambulances, EMTs and Medevacs were arriving to care for the injured and dead.

I sent Anne and Andrew to use their phones to take pictures of everything, everyone and their position. I knew we were going to need them.

Fire companies were arriving to put out the barn fire.

“No, let it burn out,” I ordered. An order that pissed them off. It makes fire fighters mad not to be able to put water on a big fire.

My cell phone rang; it was the service manager at the dealership, “We think we have figured out a way to slow the truck down but not stop it.”

“No need to worry about it now – I blew it up ten minutes ago,” I replied as I ended the call.

I turned to Fred Creber, Eric’s DHS director Harrisburg office, “Get some of your healthy men and watch those four corner buildings to make sure no one comes out of them with a gun. When the fire cools down open them carefully. I don’t have to tell you that if there are tunnels to put a camera robot in them to check them out. If you are in doubt, get an excavator to dig up the tunnels.”

“By the way Fred, you’re going to have to come to Washington to explain the fubar tactics used in this raid,” I said.

Eric looked at me then the ground; he knew there had been a major mistake in the raid by his department. There would be hell to pay.

“Have you sent anyone to check out the box truck for anyone alive? All those bikes in the back have to be disarmed,” I asked Ben.

Then I reminded Eric that this place needs to be kept under guard until it gets an all clear.

“Eric, call your New Jersey and Ohio offices to send some agents here to do that. Tell them to pack for a couple days. You know the drill,” I said. “Call the state police to see if they will help, but I doubt they will.”

Eric and Ben both looked at me, finally Ben said, “I want to hear how you explain all this at the news conference and to the President.”

“Not me; you have the big boy pants on now. I will stand behind you, smile and look cute if that is possible. I just have to explain it to Congress and that will be after months of investigations and reports. By then they won’t really care and just go through the motions,” I said.

“I will help you write out the statement if you ask nicely,” I said.

Before he had chance to think, I asked “How many were injured and what is the number of dead?”

“Ten agents died, over thirty wounded – many critical. Every agency that participated lost someone,” Eric replied.

The media had given up on getting in by road and sent their news helicopters. They were in the air over the farm when the Blackhawk took off. All four Harrisburg stations were running live coverage.

It would take days to sort through the evidence here; there was no need of us staying for that. I had gone out of my way to destroy all the evidence I could.

The fire that I refused to let be put out should have been hot enough to melt any remains of the Stinger missiles. Not that it mattered with so many witnesses to their use, but the serial numbers were gone so our source was secure.

I let the fire burn to destroy any explosive materials, booby traps, gunpowder or anything else that could kill any investigators. Who knows what kind of goodies Jaed left to kill.

The Stingers clearly crossed the line about military equipment being used against civilians. It was not a gray area, or maybe it was; only time would tell. The agents were clearly being attacked in a well planned military style defensive and trained operation.

I might be able to convince the powers that be that the mini guns saved the day. There were twenty thousand casings and belt links on the ground in the path the Blackhawk flew while firing. The guns ejected the empties and links out the open door of the helicopter so as not to jam up the gun. There was certainly no way to hide them.

The decision was made to get the bomb squad to disarm the bikes. We would give them all we knew about the bikes when they arrived. We needed several in one piece to get convictions against the machine shop people. They arrived as the last ambulances left with the dead.

“Tell the bomb squad we need an immediate count on the bikes,” I said to the FBI agent walking towards them.
“Yes ma-am,” he replied.

I called our helicopter to come and pick us up.

The hard part was over, the horrible part was next. Mayors, police chiefs and directors needed to meet to put together a news conference. That was on hold until all the families of the dead had been notified.

The massive multimillion dollar command center from the FBI arrived; it was big enough for all of us leaders, chiefs and directors to sort things out and write up a statement.

It rose, unfolded, stretched, and extended in all shapes and fashions into a command center.

First up was the causality list with age, the department list and so on. Totally disappointing, tragic, unnecessary and there would be fallout.

Then the pecking order for the local news conference. While they sorted it out I thought about our dark web intelligence source. I knew it was gone – or was it?

Harrisburg DHS Director Ross was to be the lead spokesperson at the news conference.

I knuckled the table for quiet, “When questioned and you feel it is necessary to answer about how we discovered this terrorist plot, the unified answer is to be that there was a leak from within the group that was called into the terrorist tip line.”

“I will expand on that answer at the Washington news conference,” I added.

My State Department cell phone started ringing; it was the President.

“Good afternoon Mr. President, how are things in Washington?” trying to ease into the conversation.

“Mr. President, I am in the FBI command vehicle with the other directors, the systems here are picking up both sides of the conversations. I believe we are among friends, go ahead with the questions,” I said.

“Is the news coverage about the raid on the terrorists?” he asked.

“Yes, the video you are seeing is the raid,” I replied.

“Have you found all the bombs?” the President asked.

“I am waiting on a count now from the bomb squad to verify we have all the bombs – I should have it in a few minutes,” I replied.

“I believe the threat to be eliminated, although I would suggest we keep advanced security at the park for the events there,” I added.

“Were there any prisoners captured?”

“Yes there were a few prisoners taken. No one in the barn survived.”

“How many causalities were there?” he asked.

“We took heavy causalities,” then I read the numbers.

“Why were there so many?” the President asked.

“We anticipated some resistance but not a heavily armed military style resistance with a fortified and reinforced structure,” I replied.

“Where does the blame go for that?”

I watched faces tighten up all around the table to the question.

“On me sir. I take full responsibility for the number of causalities. No one else is to blame. I failed to properly analyze the challenge the SWAT teams were going to face and to involve myself in the final details of the raid on the structure,” I said.

“We will be leaving here in a few minutes – go ahead and schedule the news conference in two hours. You can cut my throat and feed me to the wolves – better known as the press corps then,” I said.

I saw no need to throw anyone under the bus here now, the investigations would tell all tales. The investigations would be more truthful and factual if no one thought they were going to be the fall guy for the fiasco.

“See you in two hours,” said the President.

The helicopter had just landed; it was time to go.

“Let’s go! The pack will be hungry and circling by the time we get there,”

“Get me numbers from the bomb squad, ASAP,” I said as my group stood to leave.

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Book 2 Chapter 35

Wednesday morning early, we were at Morton eating breakfast. We had just finished when the crew moved the helicopter to the apron and were waiting for me and the few security going with me.

At 0730 the helicopter landed at Reagan International where Eric, Ben, Anne, Andrew and couple secret service agents joined me and two of my JBG security.

A few minutes after we had taken off Ben and I both got the same call, “Jared picked up the truck; it is now parked at the farm.” My call came from Robert. Ben’s had come from the CIA, generated by video from the drone.

Thirty minutes later I picked up the David Clarke headset so I could talk to Josh Martin the pilot, “Fly to the coordinates I gave you and see if it is safe to land there.”

Fifteen minutes later, as we were circling the dealership Josh said, “Nice clear area – no poles, no wires – I can put you down there.”

“Do it.”

Ten minutes later – with the exception of the pilots – we walked into the showroom and to a cluster of people.

With my badge open and in my hand I said, “I want the boss, the service manager and the truck rental manager front and center NOW.”

Several minutes later they were all three in front of me.

We followed them into a private office, “What can we do for you that is so important that all the big shots are here?”

“You rented a box truck to Jaed Tayfur yesterday and it was picked up this morning. Vehicle identification number 1HTMNAAM95H693599, is that correct?” I asked as I slid a copy of the rental agreement Robert had hacked from the cloud.

“Yes that is a copy of the lease agreement. Why are you so interested in that truck,” lease manager Louis Redman asked.

I ignored his question and asked one of my own.

“That is an International MV series truck with On-command connection diagnostics and monitoring link. Can that truck be disabled – shutdown by a computer command sent to it?” I asked.

“I don’t think so. That’s not something we have ever been asked to do,” the service manager replied.

“Call the factory and find out if it can be done; we are working with a deadline,” I said.

Ten minutes later there was still no answer from the factory tech department.

“Apparently they are unable to answer that question or unwilling. We have several meetings we need to attend. If you get an answer, call this phone,” I gave him one of my cards.

We flew on to Harrisburg to the pre-raid meeting with the various SWAT teams.

The second helicopter that I asked Lorrie to send to Harrisburg was sitting on the tarmac in front of the general aviation terminal. When the rotors stopped turning I stepped out and walked to the Blackhawk with Eric, Ben, Andrew and Anne following. The fuel truck had just left.

I gave the crew their assignment, the terrain map and coordinates. I checked the handheld aviation radio I had to make sure we could communicate.

“Your call letters for today are Firebird 1. Load the tubes; we may need them, the other option is not looking so good,” I said.

As I finished multiple police vehicles approached to carry us to the meetings. It was 1100 when we finished.

The Harrisburg FBI and DHS directors presented the overall plan that the SWAT teams were going to use in the three-prong raid. I stayed out of the planning; I did know that the machine shop raids carried risk because they were located in a mix of residential and light commercial areas. These people should know and have planned how to deal with the local problems.

The Harrisburg SWAT teams were going to raid the machine shops on a cue from Eric’s DHS group. Eric was in over-all charge with his Harrisburg director of the FBI and DHS leading the raid at Avon Heights.

One decision Ben had made that I supported was that the local cell blockers were to be activated on all the raid vehicles to prevent calls. Those blockers had a range of several hundred yards. It also meant that the teams could only communicate by 800 Meg radios.

Federal teams from the DHS and FBI along with Hershey, Hummelstown, Palmyra, and Annville PD SWAT team were going to raid Avon Heights. Every single house – all twenty of them including the mosque – were going to be searched, with the DHS and FBI taking on the barn.

We had reason to believe all the men in the community were involved in Jaed’s little plot in one way or another.

According to shipping records large amounts of ammunition had been delivered in the last few months to every house in Avon Heights, all of it the same caliber – 7.63 x 39 – ammo for AK47 from a couple different suppliers.

The general thought was that they were preparing for a big fight or were removing the powder from the rounds to make more explosive devices. That was certainly possible since Tiam had told him there were no more ingredients available to him.

There was that waiting game I hated so much but finally at 1200, video showed better than two dozen men from the houses – including the Imam from the mosque – converging on the barn.

Microphones placed by miniature drones the night before – disguised as old cow dung – began to transmit conversations and prayers, including the joy that after weeks and months of preparations they were finally going to kill thousands of infidels for the glory of Allah.

Jaed and another helper were activating the timers and securing the seats on the bikes. Other men were loading them in the truck as they were completed.

Ben ordered the raids to begin at 1300; police were in place to close the roads seconds after the order was given.
I called Firebird 1 on my cell phone, “Be in position to supply backup as necessary at 1300.”

The SWAT teams descended on the two machine shops without any problems. After some scuffles the eight known terrorists were in cuffs and demanding their call that they were not going to get for several hours. The rest were being questioned while the place was searched with a fine-tooth comb and dogs; the kind that specialized in drugs and explosives.

Even with all the planning, Avon Heights was going to be a cluster fuck – to put it mildly.

The way the community was positioned there was no way that Jaed was not going to know something big was afoot. The plan was to rush through the winding dirt and gravel streets straight to the barn with the rear units dropping off at the individual houses.

Any alternative required fences to be taken down or simply driven through. Some of them were traditional field stones simply stacked up in neat rows around trees for support – nature’s fence post.

However, PA had no MRAPS or heavily armored vehicles in its police force. The last liberal governor – caving to the ACLU – had forbidden any police departments from possessing any former military equipment. In fact, they were forced to give back equipment they already had.

The larger cities with big budgets had bought some aggressive equipment but none could handle the stone and hedgerows. Those fences would have been a piece cake for an MRAP to climb over and push through. So ,taking the dirt and gravel lanes; it was taking the long way and giving plenty of warning.

The Washington group – including me – was following up the longest line of SWAT vehicles.

The truck was pulling away from the barn as the SWAT team drove towards them. Jaed and others were walking towards the truck he normally drove. Jaed directed the box truck to make a run away from the barn and towards the back of the field.

Two DHS units followed the truck as Jaed ran into the barn closing the big doors. By then the barn was surrounded with agents and a bull horn to get them to come out peaceably.

I immediately began to wonder about the training of the Harrisburg DHS and FBI. But that thought was interrupted by the radio.

The two units following the box truck had been disabled by gunfire from the back of the truck. During the chase the rear door was raised and four men in the back opened fire on the two SUVs with AK47s using Russian military surplus full metal jacketed ammo.

The plane jane SUVs were no match; engines and radiators were quickly destroyed. Six of the eight men in them would prove to be critically wounded.

“Firebird 1 destroy the box truck – rake it with gunfire – there should be four men in the back. Make sure you get them, they have auto weapons. Then get up here to cover the barn,” I said.

“You better get more EMTs on the way to take care of your men,” I said to Eric. I heard the mini guns give a burp and knew the box truck was finished.

I returned my thoughts to the barn, who in the hell trained the Harrisburg DHS and FBI? It surely wasn’t JBG; we trained far better than this.

They had pulled all the police vehicles – like wagons forming a circle around the barn – with the cabs facing the barn. It was the dumbest maneuver I had ever seen by professionals.

Every single one of the men knew we thought shooting holes had been cut into the barn. By pulling up like that they had signed their death certificates with their own blood.

By pulling the vehicles in like that they were sitting ducks; they could not exit the vehicles from either side without being the turkey in a turkey shoot. To sit in them carried an even bigger risk, all of them dead in a instant from taking rounds through the windshield; a five foot wide target, like shooting chickens in a coop.

Those vehicles were not tanks with reactive armor nor did they have a 120mm cannon pointing forward.

The proper way – if there is one in this kind of situation – Andy taught to the seven plus thousand JBG security employees and every agency that trained at Fort Smith was to pull in at a forty-five degree angle.

That angle allowed everyone to exit the vehicle away from the potential hideout. It also allowed them to hide behind the engine and front wheels (a lot of metal there) even if it were not armored. It also meant the hood could be used as a steady rest for rapid defensive fire.

I screamed into the radio, “PULL BACK, RETREAT, WITHDRAW, GET AWAY FROM THE BARN, NOW.”

My entire group was looking at me like I was crazy.

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Book 2 Chapter 34

“The Saudi’s have the former gold and diamond mine property in South Africa listed for sale. Look at the price; that’s one hundred dollars an acre,” Vick’s sticky note said.

Vicky and I had several discussions about the mines while we were waiting those few days for the Prince to arrive and then several more after we saw the gold, diamonds and rubies Crown Prince Sultan al-Zahab had acquired to pay for the Chinese weapons.

There was no way that amount of wealth could be extracted from a depleted mine. He could not remove those kinds of things from the royal treasury without a lot of attention that he would not want. Once they were gone he would have no way to replace them.

At the time I was willing to bet the Crown Prince manipulated production to convince the King to close the mine as not being productive enough to pay the costs. This would allow the Prince to divert the production to fund his terrorist ambitions. It all made sense to me the more I thought about it.

The mine property covered six thousand acres, both mines, all mineral rights and what was left of the airport, the short runway close to the mine, and the town including the hotel where I killed the group of them.

I wondered why they wanted to sell now. Then the thought hit me; the Saudi war in Yemen was not going good for them, much worse than the world knew. The factions they were supporting had stalled in their offense because their arch enemy Iran was aggressively supporting the other side.

Iran had sent them missiles and now an occasional missile was falling in the homeland. Oil prices were down so oil revenue was down and the cost or running a proxy war was always high.

Saudi Arabia was a unique country, rich in history. For centuries nomads roamed the desert and ruled by terror, controlling the trade routes and oasis water. Then they were controlled by various European and Asian powers, the Assyrians , Medes, Achaemenids, Romans, Turks, Mongols, the Ottoman dynasty, the French and finally the British.

Then along came more powerful sheikhs with bigger following of cut-throats and forced the nomad tribes to join or die and eventually forced an end to colonial rule and declared a king. To maintain power the King collected taxes, bribes and blackmail to generate revenue that was divided among the nomad tribes.

Then came the massive oil revenue money that flowed in buckets, needing to be divided. The solution to the division of the money and keeping the nomads in line was a process of naming royal princes, princes and other delegations, nominally buying loyalty. This process ate hundreds of billions of dollars. With declining oil revenues and the proxy war, the royal reserves were being depleted at an alarming rate. Then the King died, internal power struggles grew tremendously and became the norm.

Now the kingdom was struggling internally and the heirs to the throne were resorting back to the old ways. Princes and their following were being charged with corruption and other offences that carried long prison terms or the death penalty, some simply disappeared.

It was under this cloud that the power struggle cultivated support for the proxy war as a distraction and to unify. Proxy wars were never won, always ending in stalemates unless you were willing to commit your own troops and overwhelming firepower.

The house of Saud was not going to commit troops. The nomads may have pledged loyalty but there were still deep seated resentments against the house that fighting and dying would bring out.

It had become a quagmire and was eating funding, creating the need to unload anything not needed and a dead mine surely was not needed. They were being sneaky about it by selling it through a third party broker and listed by the original mine name.

Six million was chicken feed if it turned out it could be even a marginal mine and paid its way. Worst case scenario – it could be a hole in the ground. Even a hole in the ground had uses. I had several in mind if it went that way.

Paying for it with some of their own money I had stolen would be a riot. I had Lorrie contact the broker for information. I had Marcy call Jeanna to find someone who could do a survey and geological study of the mine and its continued viability. I called Jake to see if he was interested in surveying the equipment, if it came to that.

After that there were discussions about the air show in two weeks. I was surprised that there were several local organizations that wanted to participate.

We were advertising free hot dogs, but the local fire department ladies auxiliary, the local VFW and the Foreign Legion wanted to have food booths with crab cakes, hamburgers, cheese burgers, corn on the cob and a dozen more carnival type dishes.

The ice cream shop in town wanted a hand dipped ice cream booth, just to name one.

July was also recruitment month for the local National Guard; they also had asked for a spot for a booth. Lorrie had a number for the commander of the barracks on the Denton highway.

“Good afternoon Major Scott, Ambassador Jones; I understand you want a booth at the air show?” I asked.
“Yes, I talked with Lorrie, is there problem?” Scott replied.

“No problem at all, I just wondered if you would like to spice things up a little,” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“I am assuming that you have plenty of blanks for the M60 and M16 that your men could use for a demonstration. We have several late Viet Nam era Hueys that still have army markings on them. Find a few villains and have the helicopters drop a few of your men into a fire fight with blanks and then your men man the booth.”

“When I was a youngster Dad carried me and a couple friends to a open house at the armory. They even let us fire a machine gun with blanks – that was the thrill of the summer,” I said.

“I will have to check on it and let you know, you know all about how the chain of command works,” he replied.

Marcy’s meeting was enlightening; the weather had been good and was predicted to be a dry month. Not good for farmers but great for construction. The pipes from Qtown were ahead of schedule and gaining.

The contractor putting in the pipes had rented one of those new super sized trenchers. It cut a trench wide enough for both pipes at the same time as fast as the men could walk. It was GPS controlled – it was on grade with the engineer’s specs on the first pass.

The same was true with the truck stop and dealership but then Bob’s construction had so many sub-contractors on site they were nearly bumping into one another.

Tuesday I did not go Washington; I let Ben deal with the fiasco that was Washington. I did call and tell him that I was flying to Harrisburg Wednesday to watch the raid on Avon Heights and offered seats on the helicopter.

After a few minutes of thought I called Lorrie and ordered a second helicopter with pilot, copilot and two crewmen sent to Harrisburg International tomorrow morning.

Andy, Vicky and I spent the next three hours on a VCATS call to Biff and Ed. Four of the ministers were making changes so that JBG security could move into the guest cottages. That transition should happen in the next couple days for them. The others would be in place by the end of the week.

Lorrie had another flight to Turkey on Thursday with the C5 that we were going to utilize to drop off the rest of the armored Suburbans and cases of equipment needed in Portugal to set up communications.

Somehow all of this was going to work out but the ride was not going to be a smooth one.

It was nearly 1600 when Ben called; Jaed had rented a box truck from Pennsylvania Truck Leasing and Rentals to be picked up tomorrow morning. They were the International truck dealer for the Harrisburg area.

To finish out the day I made a stop in Roberts’s office for an update. Jaed and Tiam had just finished a conversation on the dark web site confirming what we already knew and then a few more.

Jaed and the group were setting the timers on the bikes Wednesday morning and then loading them in the truck. Their plan was to deliver them to the water park. They would be placed on various bike stands in the fireworks viewing area starting at noon on the Fourth.

“The General kept another appointment, this time to Iraq. TV stations and papers reported on his visit,” Robert said.

“OK,” I replied.

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