Book 2 Chapter 1

In the process of falling out the door I grabbed at an M16 that was in a rack. It had a bandoleer of loaded clips attached to it. I had grabbed several slings instead of one. I had fallen beside Vicky just as all hell broke loose over us.

The Humvee disintegrated, the doors and top landing barely past us. The same happened to the rest of them. We were wearing IDF supplied body armor and helmets. The heat and fire from the explosion over us was so intense that it had set Vicky’s hair that was not under the helmet on fire. I was trying to put it out.

I could smell and feel my hair and skin on the back of my neck burning from the flash and shrapnel.

I looked around and my men were lying on the ground. They had either made it out of the Humvees or were blown out. Some of them were moving; a temporarily good sign I hoped.

The terrorists had started shooting with small arms again. I started pulling my men away from the burning vehicles and down the embankment out of the line of fire. The Humvees were high clearance making it easy for us to be picked off under them if we stayed beside the burning vehicles.

Vicky was helping and so were some of my men as soon as their heads cleared from the blast. Of the sixteen JBG men with us six were dead and I was unsure if three more would make it. Several had started first aid on the injured.

Those of the IDF in the front armored truck were all dead. They had been trapped because they were unable to open the rear doors to escape; those that survived the explosion were burned to death.

Four of the six IDF drivers of the Humvees were alive and were desperately trying to get help.

The terrorists started chanting then demanding we throw out our weapons and surrender.

We did not need to have a discussion about that; it was not happening.

I threw the bandoleer over my shoulder, picked up one of the M16s and made my way along the embankment until I was hidden by the wheels of one of the Humvees. Then I made my way up the bank to hide behind the wheel to look under the Humvee.

There were about thirty insurgents slowly making their way towards us. Along with them were several men in uniforms that were out of place. They reminded me of pictures I had seen of foreign advisers to various factions, Russians to the Afghanistan’s, Chinese to the Viet Cong and North Korea, the US to South Viet Nam.

Back with my men we dragged the injured further away behind rocks and formulated a plan. We left the dead lying where they were for decoys. We had an M16 for each of us that were able.

I had seven of my men including Ed – Bill was one of the dead, five IDF and their commander were in the first vehicle among the dead – plus Vicky and me. The IDF – all of private or corporal rank – quickly decided they were going to follow my orders.

I left four of my men to protect the wounded, that left ten to carry on the fight until reinforcements arrived. I sent two to each end of the remains of the convoy to make sure that no one slipped around the end to pick us off.

The six of us worked the embankment until we could be hidden by the large wheels of the vehicles and play dead. When the insurgents were close enough we would roll left and right and shoot around the tires.

“Do not kill the two uniformed ones unless you have to; take their legs out,” I ordered.

It was a waiting game that I detested so much; if I was going to die, bring it on.

They were moving closer, yelling for us to come out and surrender. They were occasionally putting rounds into the burning vehicles.

“Go ahead, waste your ammunition,” I thought, “It will be that much less to shoot at me.”

Off in the distance I could hear helicopters and other heavy equipment coming. If they were going to come and get us they better do it soon so they can get back across no man’s land.

They heard the helicopters and threw caution to the wind. They decided to storm the vehicles looking for survivors and possible prisoners and ran towards us.

They were fifty feet away when I yelled, “NOW,” all of us rolled and started firing.

We had caught them by surprise; they must have thought we were all dead or injured by our silence. A minute later they were all on the ground, many of them dead or dying.

The two in uniforms were on the ground trying to crawl back in the direction they had come from; their legs would no longer hold them.

“Let’s go make sure they are dead,” I yelled.

There was no need. All of them were dead, my men and I had vented our anger on them. As it was I had used two clips on them, shooting some while they were on the ground; if they moved I put a three shot burst in their body.

I stepped on the hand of the first uniform and removed a sidearm from his hand; it was a nice one with lots of gold inlay and ivory grips. I removed the clip and the round from the chamber and put the items into a pocket on my gear.

I tied both hands behind his back and then he was screaming and yelling as I rolled him over, bleeding from both legs. I put tourniquets on both legs and pulled them tight. All those straps and cords on the combat vest of the IDF came in handy.

I finally had a chance to take a good look at him; there was Iranian IRG patches on the uniform and he had full set of General stars on the collar; he was a Major General.

“You’re an American, what are you doing here?” he asked in Persian.

“I was on vacation but I guess I am working now. What the hell are you doing here besides getting ready to fill a coffin?” I asked in Persian.

Ed had done the same thing to the other one; he was a Colonel.

Ed went to check the area they had come from to see if there any vehicles or other men waiting; he arrived at the top of the hill in time to see a cloud of dust. The drivers had abandoned their officers.

By now there were helicopters landing and IDF trucks coming. When they arrived I had time to finally sit down and get my thoughts together.

I called the girls and paged Andy to the call when they were all on line.

“We were attacked again, Bill, Brad, Sandy, Chaffee, Manfred and Harold are dead. Tom, Alan and Walter are critical; I doubt they will make it. Six more are seriously wounded. Vicky and I – well, the rest of us have all have some injuries.”

“Send a jet capable of getting us and the caskets home. Have it land at Tel Aviv; put a rush on it,” I said.

Just as I was about to say more the arriving IDF forces raked the hillside with heavy machine gunfire.

“Call you later when I know more,” as I hung up.

There was a line of helicopters picking up the wounded and dead. I had lost men before but this hurt.

We had dragged the two Iranians closer so there would be no mistake in them getting killed accidentally. It was going to be a slow painful death for them.

A General had arrived and Director Dorian of the Mossad, “Stop the bleeding on the Iranians, don’t bother to do a whole lot else. I want them to go back to America with me; they are my prisoners. Ben-David can help with the interrogation there. I will get more out of them in day there than you can in a month here,” I said.

“We have notified your government that you were attacked, they want you to call,” he replied.
My satellite phone had been constantly ringing. I finally turned it off a while ago.

I called Troy, “Six dead, three critical and won’t make it, the rest of us are wounded or injured.” The IDF was raking the hills again at things they saw moving – or not – as I hung up the phone without saying anything else.

I took pictures of the burning and damaged vehicles; I knew there would be questions. I also walked around to take pictures of the dead insurgents. The IDF was doing the same thing.

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Proof read by Bob W.

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UPDATE

Book 2 starts tomorrow hopefully.

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Chapter 560 The end or Not

The flight to Tel Aviv was four hours long; it was dark when we arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport. I had called Ben-David before we left Madrid so he could inform his friends that I would be seeing them tomorrow morning.

I wanted another night of rest. The ribs were better as long as I was careful.

We landed on the main runway and were headed for the general aviation terminal when we were diverted to park in front of what was obviously an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) hanger. As the plane engines shut down and the APU fired up the place was flooded in light; I wondered what was going on.

Police and Mossad agents were assembling outside as Ed and my security detail exited the plane first to set up positions – as was now the new order of the day. Ed located the agent in charge for discussions and then the VIPS began to appear.

While that was going on I called the office on VCATS to talk with the girls. Marcy was first, “I just got off the phone with Ben-David, and he booked rooms for me, for all of your team at ‘The Norman Tel Aviv’ on the top floor. I approved payment,” Marcy replied.

I asked Jenny how the boys were doing and was glad to see them recognize me on the VCATS. It was amusing to see them trying to tell me the things they had done today in little boy gibberish. One day soon they were going to connect thoughts to words and make real sentences and then we would be in trouble.

I got to see Takeo and Sara napping in Ching Lee and Lorrie’s arms after just nursing.

“Robert said he wants to talk to you if you call in. I just paged him,” Marcy said.

“BJ, can you talk for a minute?” Robert asked.

“A quick minute, yes,” I replied.

“You were right, the sex site is coming productive. The initial part of the planning was made today. We have figured out the part of the sequencing patterns they are using.”

“Some of the travel plans for the women were arranged today. They are going to be interviewed in Paris France for poise and charm in two weeks. They have a training facility in the Muslim only section of the city. The best ones will be kept there for enhanced training,” Robert said.

“They made mention that the other sites would be announced soon,” Robert added.

“OK, that keeps things moving forward. Keep up the good work!” I replied as I closed the window.

Adriyel Dorin, who was deputy director of Mossad and Ben David’s boss, was one of the people. Eli Distel was director of the secret police was the other and they were the first to come into the plane. Both of them treated me like I was a long lost friend, lightly shaking my hand for the longest time and a gentle hug.

“Ambassador Dansky, Ben and others speak highly of your cunning, determination, skills and no fear attitude. Also, there were the rumors of the exploits of your organization. I’m looking forward to spending time talking with you,” Director Dorin said.

“That conversation can go both ways; it will be a pleasure,” I replied with a smile.

Another was US Ambassador to Israel, Mitchell Brown; after talking with Ed he came into the plane.

“We will have a security convoy take you to your hotel; I expect that you still need some rest after your ordeal yesterday. I was told your office has made the necessary arrangements,” Eli said.

“Yes, they have and I appreciate the escort,” I said.

“I still expect to follow the schedule that agent David and I worked out for my stay,” I said.

“I will see you at the embassy tomorrow Ambassador Brown,” I added.

The cars had pulled up to the plane to take us to the hotel. Vicky and I rode in a limo with Adriyel and Eli. Ed had worked out the schedule for his men to guard the plane while we were here.

“Never trust your enemies but watch friends with an open eye just as closely,” was a saying a distinguished diplomat once told me.

The Norman Tel Aviv was another five star hotel. The service was impeccable. As soon as I walked in the door and confirmed who I was there was a rush of busboys to carry our bags; one for each of us.

In the room they demonstrated how the TV, internet and everything else worked. Then they went over how to order from room service and an explanation of the menu items.

A very long hot shower and Vicky and I were out to meet the men in the restaurant for a late supper. I just did not want room service tonight. I guess that I was feeling a lot better. I was looking forward to doing things at the Mossad training center.

In that light I had the doctors in Portugal send the electronic scans to Doc Burns, so I called him.

“BJ, what they indicated was a crack is a healed crack from a previous fight you have been in. It is in x-rays from four years ago. There is calcification that indicated that had it has healed. I don’t know why he thought it was a fresh crack. Let’s see how sore you are from the bruising and let that determine what you can do,” Doc Burns said.

“One other thing BJ, I have used your Fort Smith first aid center to assist in an interrogation for the task force. Marcy approved it. We are to finish tonight. They want to pay me directly; I would rather you pay me and have you bill them. I do not want payments from the government intelligence services to show up on my books. I work for you only with this kind of project and want to keep it that way,” Doc Burns added.

“No problem, I will take care of it. We need you to continue working with us,” I replied.

Dinner was fabulous! Vicky and I both slept soundly. At 0500 we were in the restaurant having breakfast with a group of VIP’s from the Mossad, the US embassy and my men.

After breakfast we were carried to a secret facility in a closed meeting on terrorism. The meetings lasted all day and into the evening. I was careful what I shared and I know they were. We both had levels of classification restrictions we did not cross.

‘Trends’ was a repeated word in the talks; it was the new focal point everywhere. We all faced them because the terrorists were sharing the design of the things they were making and communications that also worked.

They were using social media, Twitter, Face book, YouTube, x tube, adult video sites – anywhere they could post and get away with it even for a short time before the agencies shut them down. Complete instruction on homemade explosives and how to build bombs were online on multiple sites.

When one site was taken down the information was posted elsewhere in a matter of hours. The task force had been lobbying for laws to allow sites to be taken down faster but Congress and the courts were stonewalling.

As soon as a new tactic appeared, in days or weeks multiple countries faced them. There were stabbings, shootings, attacks on groups of people by cars, the motorcycle bombs and a number of others that were kept from the media until they could be properly researched and evaluated.

The motorcycle bombs had been improved with help from a chemist somewhere; before they were a nuisance, now they were extremely powerful. They had not shown up in the US yet but France and Germany had seen six in the last two weeks.

I was surprised at the number of attacks that were not making the media. I was even more surprised at the growing list of materials that were easily available in the supermarket and hardware stores that were being made into bombs and chemical weapons.

The days of chlorine and battery acid were long past even though they were still being used.
It wasn’t just the homemade explosive components; there were also methods of getting them into high traffic areas where there would be high numbers of casualties.

Backpacks and pressure cooker bombs were losing out to more sophisticated methods in the coming attacks in developed countries.

Another advance the terrorists were taking advantage of was the big step in electronics for timing and triggering devices. The wind up dryer timer with limited set time had lost out to miniature programmable triggers the size of a thimble that allowed devices to be put in place days in advance without large batteries and bulky wiring and were easily concealed.

Super explosives were being supplied by China, Russia, Iran and North Korea that made even very small devices even more deadly.

Then there was the big advance in wireless technology that was transferable from TV remotes and other domestic appliances. The garage door remote and cell phone were no longer alone. Components were being taken from remote control toys or even being bought as kits from hobby shops, Amazon, eBay and others to trigger bombs. They were small, reliable, effective and cheap.

The world was led to believe that with the downfall of ISIS that the labs had been destroyed and their scientist and weapons experts killed or captured. That was clearly not so; somewhere there was an extensive lab providing research for the terrorists.

I was sure I knew where it was originating, it was the same organization that was building the dark web sites and partnering with the remnants of Al Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah and others.

I had boxes of samples, pictures, and instructions to take back to Maryland with me. The JBG training programs were going to require massive updates as well as finding suitable countermeasures for the embassy security groups.

Some of the information would be shared in an appropriate time and manner with the federal agencies. The issues and problems were doing it in a fashion so that the hackers couldn’t determine the source of the information. I knew the federal agencies would be hacked.

Wednesday evening there was bad news from Ben. In Chicago there had been a large house explosion in the slums. At first it was thought to be a meth lab explosion. The investigation revealed some chemicals not used in meth production.

When he read me the list I knew they were making bombs. The chemicals were the new combinations I had learned about today. The meth lab was used to generate money to build bombs. I suspected the interactions of either disposing waste in the same container or vapor interactions caused the explosion.

Either way, we would never know; everyone in the house was dead, either burned to death or killed by the explosion. The rooms where the office was had burned up completely. The investigation would take months that we didn’t have; if there was one there, how many was any one’s guess.

Thursday we spent the day at the Mossad training center; I had recovered enough to actively participate. I learned a lot and so did my men; the trainers had new things to teach in the retraining and recertification at Fort Smith. It was a productive and rewarding day. Tired and sore, I had a state dinner and an hour on VCATS with the girls ending the day.

Friday was sightseeing. We started early; there were dozens of places Vicky and I wanted to see, the Western wall, the Temple Mount, the historic ruins, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and the many old cities. We spent all day on the road under the watchful eye of the Mossad.

To see those places and to walk the paths of prophets, I could feel the history. To see the places in the bible stories from when I was little was moving. So many people had died over such a small piece of ground and would continue to until the earth burned to a crisp. Wars and the rumors of wars till the end of time.
It was well after dark when we called it a night at the motel.

Friday morning we started again going first to the US embassy and then to IDF facility to meet our escorts for the day who were from the IDF and Mossad. Today’s equipment was Israeli modified Humvees and a couple of recent additions to the IDF fast response unit.

They looked like a cross between the newer American wheeled armor vehicle and the German version but with a lot more fire power. They were to lead and be the last vehicle in the convoy with me and my men in the middle.

First we went south to the Gaza strip for a tour of the checkpoints and the tunnels that were always in the news. After several hours inspecting Gaza we headed north along the coast to Haifa and Acre to meet some people they thought I should meet and to have lunch.

Then we went across the northern border with Lebanon where Hezbollah was launching rocket attacks against Israeli cities and had cross border excursions. Then we went on to the DMZ with Syria and on to the Golan heights.

It was here that things went bad. We were traveling on a built up road with a slight ravine to the right that was used for patrols, when an anti-tank rocket took out the lead vehicle. By the time everything had stopped we were all bunched together when another anti tank rocket took out the rear heavily armored vehicle. It was the classic tactics used against most military convoys in Afghanistan and Iraq when I was there.

The sides of the Humvees were now being riddled with small arms fire. The drivers were trying their best to break us out of the jam.

I looked out the side window to see six terrorists standing with RPGs several hundred meters away. These armored HumVees could handle small arms but not RPGs. I watched and I saw the puffs of smoke indicating they were being fired and the projectile on its path towards us.

Seconds to live and that was all.

“GET OUT, GET OUT!” I screamed as I pushed Vicky out the door; we weren’t going to make it out in time.

Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

This is the end of book one. I would like to thank Alfmeister and Bob W. for their great work making my story into a great story that people wanted to read.

I would also like to thank Joe H. for his critique of many of the early chapters and continued encouragement and comments.

I want to say thanks to all the readers that sent emails – some 4000 over the length of the story, some critical, a few outright abusive. The majority were supportive, encouraging and helpful.

Book two will be a continuation of plot and characters and will answer some of the email questions. It will tie some loose ends together and bring the story to a close.

Thanks again to all.
Jack

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Chapter 559

There was real security on the steps now. I counted thirty five of the forty JBG embassy security force lining the steps in full JBG issue gear that was used for hostage rescue. It was complete body armor with helmets. They were carrying MP5s or M16s.

If I didn’t hurt so badly, I would have been doubled over laughing although I shouldn’t. Ambassador Taylor was standing outside the door in gear, vest and a helmet that was at least two sizes too big for him. He was about as out of place as a donkey at a cattle auction.

“My god BJ, are you all right? They did not tell me you were shot twice; they just said to get over here,” Taylor said.

“I’ll live,” I replied as Calvin and James picked me up and started down the steps.

At the bottom of the steps there was an ambulance with a stretcher behind it waiting with my six uninjured bodyguards. In front of the ambulance were three of the embassy cars; the Suburbans and another car were behind.

All of this and my bloodied jacket were captured by the media pool that had grown tremendously. By the time I was down to the stretcher I was surrounded by my security as they moved down with me, nearly cutting off visual access to me.

There was a quick convoy trip to the hospital with police escort. Then there was a quick trip to x-ray. While I and all the guards who would fit were waiting on the results, I watched my exit from the Presidential Palace on the lobby TV in Portuguese.

No broken ribs, just bruised and one partial crack. A surgeon came in and looked at the two puncture wounds. He stitched them up and then covered them with a large Band-Aid. He gave me a tube of ointment then sent me on my way.

Thirty minutes later we were back at the embassy, just in time to watch Ching Lee give the news conference.

I called into the office and dictated an update to be given to Ching Lee so she could finish out the news conference.

An MTEC call to the White House was on order and lasted an hour before I finally ended it. Dick James was going to notify the Spanish Secretary of State that I would be in his country in a couple of hours and stay overnight for a visit to the US embassy tomorrow.

The US Vice President was rerouted to attend the funeral of the Vice Prime Minister.

Dick booked the entire floor for me and my security – including those on the way – at a Madrid five star hotel the diplomats used.

I should have rested for a day in Lisbon but given the events and the escalating rhetoric in the local media, I thought it best if I left ASAP.

The local media was pressing for an interview. Then there were others demanding to know how this could happen in their diverse city. Then there was other group demanding that I be held responsible for agitating the extreme factions of the populace under obscure laws that had been put into place.

My plane was being readied for takeoff and the flight plans were getting filed. The plane Andy sent with the additional men would be landing before we took off to make the man-power swap. The four injured men were going back home and the extra men with me.

Once the swap was made the flight to Madrid was an hour with another hour to get through customs. This time there were no surprises; thirty of the JBG employees of the US embassy Madrid were on hand plus the sixteen with me and Vicky.

Media appeared while we were waiting; the only thing they got were pictures at a distance. Ambassador Martin Mills arrived with several Spanish officials who were with him.

In Spanish they asked, “Is there anything you need? We have been assigned to assist your security and fill any request they or you have.”

In fluent Spanish I replied, “Neither I nor they have any special needs at the time. I am tired and sore; I intend to order a meal and retire for the evening. I do not want to be disturbed unless there is an emergency. I will begin to fulfill the needs of my trip here tomorrow and try to answer any questions or concerns your government has if they get them to me by 1400 hrs. I will be at the US embassy.”

The embassy motorcade – along with a police escort – delivered us to the ‘Hotel Unico Madrid’; it was the most expensive hotel in Madrid and I was paying for the whole penthouse floor.

The cheap rooms here were a five hundred a night; I could only imagine what the top floor was costing.
Spanish police were in the lobby, standing guard at the elevator, in the elevator and on the penthouse floor when the elevator stopped and we stepped off. My men picked rooms; there were enough for them to each have a room if they wanted it.

Vicky and I took the honeymoon suite; Ed and Bill took the rooms on each side. Ed and Bill worked out a duty schedule to patrol the hall. Even with the Spanish police there, they were taking no chances.

I had a hot bath in a huge heart shaped tub with Vicky; she was joining me to wash the parts that I could not wash because of the pain. I sat in a huge easy chair and rested.

Vicky brought me the menu from room service. I ordered a fancy named salad, a steak and seafood combo with hot apple pie that included vanilla ice cream, wine and a beer; three hundred and ninety dollars. This was a once in a lifetime stay here for me and my men. They were told to order anything they wanted off the menu.

I called home and talked with the girls; it was good to hear their voices. Ching Lee and I talked at length about the press conference and the question and answer series after. I thought she had done an excellent job and said so repeatedly.

We talked at length about how Takeo was doing and I spent an equal time talking with Lorrie about Sara and Lorrie’s day.

Marcy, Jenny, Jason, Dad and Jake were gone to the Commissioners meeting; tonight was the final comment period and the vote to approve the truck stop and dealership.

As expected the retirement community had threatened to fight the project but reasonable arguments won out. Of course, there was money to pay for more noise abatement on their property and they were now happy.

I took some Tylenol and then Vicky and I went to bed.

Fortunately I rested better than I expected and my natural clock didn’t make the time zone change very well. I was up at 0500 Eastern Standard Time but it was 1000 here. Room service still delivered breakfast; I didn’t bother to look at the check.

At 1030 the motorcade carried us to the embassy and the routine questions began again. This time I had some help; Ed had sat in on some of the interviews at Lisbon and quickly brought Bill up to speed on what I was after. They were recording the interviews so I could watch them later if I needed to.

The interviews proved that nearly the same identical scenario was being played out with the US Spanish embassy. Ambassador Conley was a long time public servant with decades of service but the deputy Ambassador was again appointed by a previous administration. Deputy Ambassador Faisal Hamad conducted the interviews under the same pretense as had been done in Lisbon.

Jesse Hibbs had conversations with Thad and followed his lead on placing our own secret camera in the interview room. I had more videos to get facial recognition to work with.

Now I decided that I needed to search the State Department database and determine just how many deputy Ambassadors had been appointed by that administration and find where they were working and what duties were assigned to them.

I was willing to bet the problems in Egypt and Morocco were of the same making. Heck with it; I sent Robert a text to have someone do it for me and send me the report.

Just before my 1400 deadline it was announced that there were a group of individuals from the Spanish government in the embassy lobby to see me.

The six of them were cleared so they were led to the meeting room off the lobby.

Spain is ruled by a Constitutional Monarchy with a King, the actual government is run by the council of ministers.

Six of those ministers who dealt with security, immigration and travel were seated around the fancy table. We talked for two hours about the new trends in tactics the terrorists were using and new communication methods they were employing. I based my responses and statements on how free they were being with equal information.

When I asked if there were any evidence with the terrorists they had captured of involvement with the dark web, there were glances around the table. The man in charge responded they had found no evidence. I knew they were lying and I closed that line of discussion.

Spain was faced with similar problems as the US. The King wanted the country to greet thousands of immigrants with open arms while the majority of the public were left to deal with increasing crime and expected intolerance, the disrespect, crowding and to pay the Bill. The immigrants expected and demanded that their wants and special needs be provided for.

My G5 was ready when I got to the airport for the flight to Tel Aviv. Vicky and I were going to spend three days there.

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Proof read by Bob W.

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Chapter 558

People were scrambling everywhere trying to get out of the line of fire. I pushed Vicky to the marble steps just as two rounds hit me in the chest. I had turned to face the gunfire pulling my Glock. I hoped the vest had stopped them from penetrating; it was hard to tell, I was hurting so much.

Abra and Farah had attempted to shield Vicky with their bodies. Vicky was having none of it. She had pulled her Glock and was responding. Ed was starting to do the same to me until he realized I was shooting at the people with the AK’s. I picked one and put four rounds into his body before he fell.

The AK fire was responded to by handgun fire that I recognized as more 40 cal from my bodyguards. There were other smaller caliber weapons being fired but very few.

The AK fire ceased after a few seconds that seemed like an hour. Ed and the others who had been shielding us picked me up and hustled us inside the building, but not before I took a quick glance around.

There was blood everywhere, splattered over the front of the palace and on the marble steps. The Vice Prime Minister and several others who I had just shaken hands with were dead.

Inside a quick count and we were all still alive. Several of my men had taken rounds in the vest. The security detail was wearing the heaver vest. Four of my men had flesh wounds in the legs from near misses. Vicky was unscathed. She had emptied a full clip at two of the shooters as had everyone in my security detail.

I was sitting on a table with my blood seeping through my jacket. Ziva and Vicky helped me take the jacket, blouse and vest off to look at me. When they pulled the vest off I screamed, it hurt so bad.

Prime Minister Cordeiro had made it without getting hit and was standing there watching. He was yelling for his staff to find his doctor.

The light vest had both rounds imbedded in it. The bullets had gone through far enough that the points and force of the impact had deeply punctured my flesh and I was bleeding. If I had been twenty feet closer I would have been dead.

I had Vicky taking pictures of my wounds and the blood running down my breast, and the attempts to stop the bleeding. I was sure there would be plenty of people wanting damage assessment.

After ice packs and dressing to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, I listened as my men described what they had seen and done.

I sent Ziva and Ed – along with a couple other men – to check the shooters; I wanted all the information they could get before the Portuguese police closed down everything.

William returned with the portable fingerprint scanner; it was one of the staples that were packed with the bag of security tools wherever we went any more.

Ed took pictures of them and everything in their pockets and all their tattoos while Ziva took fingerprints. Robert would have all of it in just a few minutes.

All of our phones were ringing; my State Department phone was indicating it was the President calling. I answered the call.

“What the hell is going on there?” he asked.

“You sent me into a trap,” I replied.

I knew he knew nothing, I doubted anyone other than the four individuals involved knew anything. I suspected this was a thrown together plot against the Portuguese Prime Minister and me being there was the icing on the cake. They couldn’t have known I was going to be there unless there was a spy in Prime Minister Cordeiro’s inner staff. That was always a possibility.

There was a long silence. “I had no idea anything was going to happen. Are you OK?”

“I have been better and worse, I was hit twice in the chest and I am still bleeding as we talk; four of my men were also hit. I have more security on the way within an hour. I will keep you informed,” I said as I ended the call.
The bleeding had stopped and Vicky was applying gauze dressings and tape. The doctor was busy with my four men. Two were going to be transported to the hospital; there were indications that the bullets had hit bone and they needed to check for shrapnel.

Then the doc turned his attention to me and after removing the dressing and pushing and probing, he decided that I needed x-rays to check for broken ribs. The impact of those bullets hitting the light vest was like getting hit with a baseball bat.

While we were waiting for the hospital arrangements I called the office back. The attack was on all the news channels.

An official statement needed to be made. The six of us worded a public statement to be sent to all JBG locations and employees. That statement was to be sent moments before Ching Lee went live at the news conference.

Ching Lee was to send a press release to all media outlets that there would be a news release and press conference at JBG headquarters in two hours. I told her to send the release to Troy, Dick and Ben so they could watch ZNN because I knew they would break all records to get someone there.

Vicky was talking to Jenny, Lorrie, Ching Lee, and Marcy using the computer on a VCATS call on my portable office. She had already sent the pictures to the office while she was talking.

I called Andy and filled him on his injured men. Then I gave specific orders, “Send ten more security in a G5 ASAP; the injured men will return on the plane. Ziva has sent all the evidence collected, have Robert put a rush on it,” I said.
The place had turned into a madhouse outside; the ambulances had carried away the wounded. The dead had been covered with tarps until the bodies could be removed.

The Vice Prime minister, the Economic minister, the Cultural Affairs minister, chief of the palace police, minister of the national police, and two deputy ministers were all killed. There were eight others who had some form of injury; many were going to cause permanent disabilities. With so many of the Portuguese government dead I was sure they were the intended targets.

Ed removed the two bullets from the vest so I could put it back on; he handed me the bullets, “You may want to keep these and count your good fortune.”

There were blood stained holes in my blouse and my jacket. I did not want people to see where I had been shot but I had no other jackets with me.

The media was in a rage; several were dead including the ZNN reporter and several from local news outfits. One of the terrorists at the last seconds of life had turned and sprayed the assembled news persons and crowds with fire in an attempt to kill as many innocents as possible.

There was always the possibility that stray bullets fired by my team and I and the police had gone wild into the crowd. This was going to get ugly.

The Prime Minister and his remaining officials had retreated to a nearby room trying to establish order, a response and continue the job of governing.

Vicky, Ed, and I did the same thing; we decided to return immediately to the embassy after the hospital visit, where we could communicate with Washington and my command center by video.

The Suburbans were brought back to the front of the palace. I was getting ready to walk out when Calvin Masters and James Carson from the night shift – another brute from the embassy security team – came wearing gear. I knew who Calvin’s gym partner was now.

“No, you are not walking out! We are carrying you out in a two man arm lift.” I was not going to argue with either of them as bad as I was hurting. I was worried about who might be outside.

When the door opened and they started to carry me out the door I had my first good look outside, “Holy crap!”

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Chapter 557

When I keyed up the MTAC call, Dick James – the Secretary of State – was already on the split screen with Troy and the President on the other side.

“What are you doing in Portugal?” the President asked.

“I am fulfilling contract obligations in our State Department contract, plus investigating complaints from my security teams. You are not going to like the results of the investigation report; there are serious problems to be addressed connecting embassy personnel to terrorists,” I replied.

“The Portuguese Ambassador is raising hell that you are holding meetings with other foreign dignitaries and that they were not notified or invited. He is on his way over here now demanding answers and to file an official complaint. What kind of meetings did you conduct at the airport?” Dick asked.

“We were all in the customs area waiting to go through the process and they recognized me and wanted to talk and take pictures. I didn’t think it proper to tell them to go to hell; after all they do vote with us some of the time at the UN. It was just general conversations about general topics,” I replied.

“When are you coming back?” Troy asked.

“Not for a week; I have three other embassies in the area with the same style complaints to check out, along with a courtesy visit and sightseeing tour of historic Israel before I head home. I intend to leave here and go to Spain after I interview the evening security team,” I replied.

“I have to step away to take a call from the Prime Minister of Portugal; stay on the line,” the President said.

While he was gone I gave a brief overview to the Secretary of State about what the investigation had reveled. He was as unhappy about the proceedings as I was.

“An operations assessment team just completed their work two months ago of the Portuguese embassy. There were minor problems but nothing reported like this,” Dick said.

“Who did your team interview? My men would have requested guidance from our office if they had been interviewed, especially if they thought they were going on the record. Our procedure is that they report operational concerns to us before they initiate actions there. Issues at one embassy certainly can involve other embassies. I received no request for guidance,” Vicky replied.

“I don’t know! If the directive was viewed as for leadership only, then the ball was dropped and we have horrible gaps in the assessment making it worthless. This assessment was result of the Korean embassy problem your people reported months ago. It was supposed to correct the problems that were brought to light there, yet problems continue it seems,” Dick said.

I did not tell Dick that I had with – the exception of a few – the videos of the interviews that Deputy Ambassador Barakat had done and green lighted their trip to America. I wanted Robert and the task force to run all of that through the systems. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of the names already on the watch list.

We were still discussing the problem and how to deal with it when the President came back on the line, only to be interrupted.

Ambassador Taylor came busting through the door slamming it against the door stops, rattling the pictures on the wall into the MTAC center, “WHERE IN THE HELL IS THAT STUPID ASS BOSS OF YOURS AT?”

He came to a stop in front of the MTAC camera and screen; horrified when he realized who was on the screens.

“Just which boss do you want to talk to since you interrupted a classified private conversation?” I asked.

“Karl does the in-use light work on the outside of the door?” I asked.

“Yes Ma-am, checked at the beginning of each shift,” he replied.

I started to stand up.

Troy was yelling from behind the President, “BJ, don’t hurt him! He did not use any of the four letter words, just rough him up a little.”

“Taylor, sit down and shut up,” Dick ordered him.

“BJ – as you probably know – the Portuguese media has taken their total lack of information and blown it out the roof to damage the government; a little damage control is needed. Prime Minister Aleixo Cordeiro and I have discussed the situation and believe that a state visit to the presidential palace by you and Vicky is the best way to defuse the issue and smooth ruffled feathers.”

I hate to ask you to change your plans but can you make a visit to the palace for a discussion on terrorism with all the right individuals and a state dinner after? Prime Minister Cordeiro suggested 1700 hrs. I know it is an inconvenience; but please?” the President asked.

“Well, we will be there to smooth ruffled feathers, but you will owe me. I will send someone to get better clothes from the plane than what we are wearing. We did not expect to be doing state diners today,” I said with a smile.

“Dick – you and I need to have a face to face meeting when I get back; there are other issues you need to address ASAP and I’m not going into the details right now,” I said.

“I understand BJ; meeting at your office at the White House. BJ, will you excuse us while the President and I issue corrective verbal discipline, better known in lay circles as an ass chewing session with Taylor,” Dick said.

“Talk with you tomorrow,” I replied.

I sent part of the security team, two of the Mossad ladies and two men who would be our escorts for the evening back to the plane to get clothes suitable for Vicky and me to be at a state dinner. I was glad I asked all on this trip to bring at least two sets of upper crust clothing, just in case. You know that ‘Always be prepared’ scout motto comes in handy sometimes.

A text from Troy instructed that we were to go without Taylor. When he came out of MTAC he looked like a whipped puppy. Someone took the wind out of his sails.

“I’m sorry for barging in on your MTAC call. I have been recalled to Washington the end of next week for consultation meetings, one of which I was told that you are going to conduct. Troy instructed that I should stay at least out of arms reach of you for the time being,” Taylor said and then quickly left.

There were several more calls from the White House setting up the fine touches on my first state visit as guest of honor- or the pig in the barrel – depending on the point of view.

At 1630, the designated time arrival our convoy consisting of our two Suburbans and six Portuguese federal police and other cars stopped at the elaborate steps to the Presidential Palace.

The steps were filled with all kinds of reporters and dozens of TV cameras I even saw ZNN’s European unit. There were so many reporters that I was glad I was wearing the thin heavy duty vest that I liked so well.

A flash from my memory reminded me that not long ago an assassin had infiltrated the press pool at an affair similar to this one to kill a politician and was successful. Pig in the barrel may have been an appropriate thought after all.

There were dozens of palace police and I saw no weapons on any of them, other than the ceremonial sword. They were lined up on the steps, some facing the crowds and some facing us, giving us a clear path to the top of the steps where we were to meet and do the public greeting for the media.

My security exited the vehicles first and walked with us to the top steps to greet Prime Minister Cordeiro and a dozen assembled officials; all of them wanting to make the best of the free PR.

Vicky and I shook hands and were having a ‘how are you conversation’ with Prime Minister Cordeiro and the Vice Prime Minister when the distinctive automatic gunfire of several AK 47s erupted from down at the street level behind us. Bullets were ricocheting off the wall all around us.
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Chapter 556

With the hugs and kisses that went on all day Saturday, we said our final goodbyes and then departed for Morton Field. We were airborne by 2110 headed east for Portugal. The flight was to be five to six hours, depending on winds.

I made the call to the Portuguese customs office at the Lisbon international airport that a state department delegation would be arriving with armed bodyguards as was protocol; the delegation would go direct to the US embassy.

Then we did as we always did, reclined in the fancy chairs and slept for most of the flight.
Max Grover and Toby Nash were the pilot and copilot for this trip. I asked Max to quietly wake me an hour before landing. It was a smooth flight with little turbulence.

At 0100 Toby shook my shoulder and mouthed that we were an hour out.

I sent an email to Thad Jennings who – according to the duty schedule – should have been the night duty supervisor, “Send both Suburbans to the general aviation customs desk at Lisbon International to pick up two VIP and nine security personnel. Be there at 0200.”

“Ten four” was replied in a couple minutes.

We landed on time and customs was a mess, apparently we were not the only VIP passing through the terminal this early. There were several United Nations delegations ahead of us. One delegation was from Albania and the other from Bulgaria. I did not know any of them but they sure knew me.

I had planned this early arrival time to avoid this kind of meeting and it did not work; the only thing I could do now was to go with it. If I asked them to keep it under wraps that I was here it would start a whisper campaign that would balloon out of control. I certainly did not want that to happen.

Before it turned into a lengthy conversation in public, I moved it to a side waiting room; they were peppering me with questions on working in the White House and my work on terrorism. They wanted to know if I was doing any special terrorism investigations or operations in Europe.

My answer was that with my reduced role, it was time to do more JBG business trips and that seemed to satisfy them.

I introduced Vicky to all of them and her position and responsibilities at JBG. Then they wanted pictures and that did not go over well with the customs people.

A customs supervisor was called. I ended up in a picture shaking his hand for his personal scrapbook.

We had barely cleared customs when the team from the embassy arrived to pick us up.

Burton Walls and Larry Coons walked through the door just as we were picking up our bags. They stopped in their tracks.

“Thad didn’t know who we were picking up, he just said we were picking up two VIPs. That was an understatement; the big bosses and the A team. Now I know someone is in trouble, let’s get you back to the embassy. I want to see Thad’s face when you two walk in,” Burton said.

Twenty minutes later we were in the parking garage behind the embassy. It was a short walk to the back door.

I knew the layout of the Portuguese embassy; I had studied the latest blueprints on file for any changes. In the top secret files I had access to were blueprints for every US embassy in the world.

I had them in case there was any need of an emergency evacuation by rescue teams. That was one item that was part of the JBG training for the embassy personnel. We also used closely aligned plans for training at Fort Smith.

Thad was sitting at the control panel watching video from yesterday’s front door cams and the street cams. I knew what he was doing; looking for individuals who may be doing surveillance on the embassy or looking for soft spots in security. If the same person appeared day after day it raised security flags.

If there were clear face pictures, the images were run through the identification process, Interpol, the State Department’s system and finally they were sent to the EIT group.

“Hello Thad, find anything interesting?” I asked as I was walking up behind him as he jumped up.

“Damn the big bosses, I knew it had to be someone important when I got those instructions. I don’t get orders like that very often,” Thad relied.

“Several things, the same couriers deliver the people requesting asylum or travel visa to the states. Those people are always single males between the ages of eighteen and thirty; never any women, children or family members,” Thad added.

“Who processes the applications once they come in the door?” I asked.

“They have the applications with them when they come; typed all nice and neat, completely filled out, along with a nice rehearsed presentation through with an interpreter,” Thad replied.

“Who did the interviews,” Vicky asked.

“Deputy Ambassador Barakat,” Thad replied.

“That is an Arab name. Why do we have an Arab working at the Portuguese embassy as deputy Ambassador?”I wondered out loud.

“He was sent here by the former Secretary of State,” Thad replied.

“Protocol requires those interviews be recorded and a security person in the room but Barakat disables the official camera when he walks in, he also sends the security person out. We installed a hidden camera and mike in the overhead lighting. We have video of most of the interviews; we have been debating how to get them to you,” Thad added.

“Send them to Robert before you log out, I will tell him what I want done with them,” I replied.

“What time does Ambassador Taylor come into the office?” I asked.

“Anywhere from 0830 to 1100,” he replied.

Vicky and I interviewed Thad and the others on the night shift who had put their concerns on paper. We were finished with the night shift when the day shift came in.

The day shift team leader was Calvin Master and he was half an hour early; nothing unusual for him to be early. Calvin was a brute when we hired him fresh out of the Army Special Forces. He was still a brute; the exercise equipment in the gym at this embassy and he were certainly close friends and spent a lot of time together.

“I wondered if you were here or just passing through,” he said.

Then he placed an issue of “A Voz da Póvoa,” on the table; it was the early edition of today’s paper.

“Oh crap!”

The front page headlines read, “America’s number one terrorist hunter Ambassador Roberta Jones with armed body guards in secret meetings with Albania and Bulgaria delegations at Lisbon International.” It had several color pictures on the front page.

Then he placed an issue of “Diário da República” the other leading paper in Portugal. The Diário da República was aligned with the minority labor party and opposed everything the current government tried to do. Their front page had similar pictures and their headlines were a slap at the government.

“America’s leading terrorist expert is in Portugal meeting with the Albanian and Bulgarian delegations and where are our government’s representatives, not even our police are there? The government continues to ignore the real dangers to the populace. Our friends and neighbors meet with international experts while our government fiddles.”

Make no mistake, this was going to get ugly and fast.

Vicky and I continued to interview the day shift. We were finished by 1000 and it was a good thing. At 1001 my State Department phone rang.

It was Troy, “Where are you, please tell me you are at East Water Cay or South America or somewhere exotic.”

“Nothing exotic about Portugal so far and I’m not going to be here long enough to find out,” I replied.

“You are not there to buy another island or a castle on a hill?” he asked.

“I have no interest on buying a castle on a hill; too cold, dark and gloomy, I hear remodeling is a bitch plus maintenance is a beast,” I replied.

“That’s what I was afraid of. I’m on my way to the Oval Office. Call on MTAC now please?” he said.
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