Chapter 515

Friday afternoon we had a long meeting. There were progress reports on everything that had happened in the last few weeks.
Vicky and Jake were pleased with the construction progress at the dorm for the security team at South Korea. If they were satisfied, then I was too.

The State Department and the CIA had approved the list of new hires that were going there.

All of them were to be here in two weeks for training. The first week would be used for administrative training and mandatory State Department protocol training. The next week the African safari would be over and the OPS team could help in the advanced training on the mats, at Camp Smith and the gun range.

The subpoenas had been received last week for us to give depositions to the legal team for the Malcolm Wicks discrimination law suit. His legal team wanted thousands of pages of records delivered to their offices.

Our corporate attorney Curtis Warren and Howard, Howard and Fine argued and won to have them come to our offices in four weeks. Sometime before then I needed to review what the job posting was that he applied for, what his resume said and how close the two were.

HR handled all of that; I generally stayed out of it. When I needed someone with specific qualifications for the security division, I told them what I was looking for and let them do the rest.

Lorrie gave an update on the aviation division; the Blackhawk helicopter inspections were finished. One of them would meet the time requirement for a major overhaul before next year’s inspection.

The Air Force was evaluating operation readiness of our C5s in preparation for decisions on the next one. I guess I was not listening or hadn’t read the details of the Air Force contract. I was under the impression that they were to be a year apart, not a few months. They were holding up their end of the contract with paying flights almost weekly so I guess I should not complain. It was just more of the reams of paper and meetings anytime one had contracts with the government.

The final meeting was with Andy and Bill and the four Mossad ladies. We were part of the last group going to Polokwane. We spent an hour going over various plans for the Prince and the disguises we would need. The final plan would depend on all the pieces coming together and had to be made with just hours to spare. Any pieces coming up short or failing would spell disaster.

The girls and I spent two hours in the gym and I needed it. Then I spent family time with the boys, finally giving them baths and bed. After they were asleep it was family time in the living room holding, touching and talking.

We could have gone to the play room in the basement and any other time would have, but those were not the needs tonight. Being close and talking filled the needs. We all knew we were at a serious place in our lives with the threats against me and the rest of us. We also knew they were coming to a head in the next few weeks.

I knew they all wanted to be a part of it. They wanted to exact revenge as badly as I did. We talked about that for a while; in the end they understood why they could not go. For the sake of two little boys sleeping in the other room; the two babies Lorrie and Ching Lee were carrying and the thousands of employees we had and for family, it was not possible. It was just too risky.

Saturday morning I did a MTAC with special agents Croft and Doyle. Colonel Faaz Mohammad had decided he needed to talk once he knew his cover was blown. What he was saying was nothing that we could not get from the Iranian news channel and of course the Iranian propaganda line. His body was getting sore but he was still resisting.

I called the Doc to find out what kind of shape he needed to be in to get the most out of him when he was on the table at Camp Smith. I did not want the agents to work him over so badly that he died quickly under the drugs. They were good to go with the instructions I had given them.

I scheduled one of our C130s to pick the group up Monday afternoon and the Doc for the first round Monday night and each night after until either he was dead or I killed him.

The Doc wanted to experiment; one hard session a night to see what the body of someone in shape could stand. The Colonel was in great shape and kept it hidden under layers of baggy clothes.

Would the body eventually shut down under the repeated massive pain or would the mind go insane first? The Colonel had plenty of questions to be asked when he got here. The Doc has a very sadistic streak.

At 1400 the McBride ladies showed up, the hair dresser shortly thereafter. We had a great conversation and I found out that Bob Jackson and his wife Emily had also been invited to the gala and had accepted.

At 1700 hours the group of us was convoyed to the German embassy retreat just on the outskirts of DC. It was a large compound the German embassy used for conferences, meetings and rest and relaxation. It had an Olympic size covered heated pool. It had large stables and a horse riding area.

The large conference room had tables with silk tablecloths and chairs for a traditional German meal. Instead of a buffet line the waiters first brought out appetizers on carts. The waiters and waitress spoke in German then switched to English if you did not respond to the German as they asked what you wanted on the plate and the dressing.

We girls had them on as all of us could speak German and had a good time with them ordering our food.

For drink there was warm beer of several varieties. I hated warm beer and was relieved when they offered cold beer.
The main course was sauerbraten, roast goose, labskaus and hasenpfeffer. The desert was baumkuchen, a kind of chocolate cake.

The social hour after the meal was entertaining and educational. Every Ambassador there made sure to speak to me in a social way. More than one invited me to their country to speak on terrorism.

Everyone was having a good time and the dancing was getting ready to start.

The covered arena had been cleared and cleaned and the band was warming up.

The music was a mix of everything, fast, slow, polka; we danced to it all. It felt good to dance with Gordon again; it had been a while.

During the social hour I asked the band conductor to play five slow close dancing songs and signal me when they started.

Then I broke all the rules and danced a dance close and tight with Jenny, Lorrie, Marcy, Vicky, and Ching Lee, whispering sweet things and undying love to them. My mates took the hint and did the same with their partner and then swapped off.

The lights were down and if anyone noticed, they did not say anything. There were a few smiles of those who were dancing close to us.

Saturday night soon became Monday morning and back to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

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Chapter 514

It was a quiet ride home; I gave a sigh of relief as I stepped out of the Suburban into the garage. Tonight was Thursday night and I intended it to be a busy one.

First stop was Roberts’s group; Robert had sent a text wanting me to stop by as soon as I could.

“I got my foot in the door a little today; I found a back door access into the Prince’s email accounts, he has several. One he is using strictly to communicate with terrorists. Another is used for banking transactions; Burt is following that one,” Robert said.

“It looks like the Prince is playing a shell game with the funds. Billions are moved from one account to another in different countries, only to come back full circle in a day or two.”

“When deposits are made to the account from the Royal Treasury, part of the funds stay in an account that is used to sponsor terrorists. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been sent around the world in the last few months. I have a list of account numbers in the US that suspicious deposits have been made to,” Burt said.

“His accounts are not very secure; just a simple passwords that he keeps in a file on the computer,” Robert added.

“Keep all the information you find on the Prince and his connections close; don’t send any more to the Task Force. If they go checking the numbers and get careless, we could lose it all again. It’s too close to the Africa safari for that,” I said.

After the normal office meeting and supper the girls, their dance partners and I met in the gym. Marcy carried a DVD player with her for the music. We were going to practice the dances that we were likely to do at the embassy party on Saturday night.

I wanted to know if I had recovered enough to be able to dance. Tonight I would find out and have Friday to recuperate.

It was the final embassy party and get together for Ambassador Schmitt and family before they went back to Uganda next Wednesday. They had done everything on their wish list, all the museums, monuments, the Washington zoo, several universities; they even spent two days in New York City.

There was a long list of officials who were invited; a who’s who in the Washington State Department circle and there where were plenty of officials in town. The State Department was having an official meeting after the Baines affair.

New rules and protocol were going to be explained and there was training for them. Every ambassador and director was in town. Even I was to be in attendance for the morning and afternoon meetings.

We practiced the various dances for two hours. At the end I was sore but relieved. I could handle Saturday night without a problem.

Our dancing partners were leaving next week; they were part of the two teams leaving for Africa.

The Friday morning commute was quiet. Things at Section 12 were not. Iran was trying desperately to find out where Balthazar had disappeared to. The Egyptian Ambassador had called Troy again, then tried the State Department route.

We had the phone and had disabled its GPS features and were just letting it ring, collecting the calling numbers. The more they pushed the more apparent we had someone important to the Iranians; but why? Just who was Gazi Asfour aka Balthazar?

After a MTAC conference to the Gitmo command center I ordered the agents to begin questioning Balthazar and record the sessions for me. I would use them to develop the questions list when the doc and I took our turn with him.

At 1000 I was carried to the State Department building for the Ambassador’s conference. It took until noon for them to explain the new policies and procedures.

My place for the five-star lunch was at the table with the Secretary of State Richard James, Amy Lockerman and Victor Edmondson, Eric Roberson, Frank Love and Marty Coeburn. I no longer felt terribly out of place in settings like this.

Besides, Dick James was a comedian; he kept us entertained throughout the meal. He told several off color jokes that I had heard before, cleaning them up as he told them because of my presence – I was sure.

“You know you don’t have to clean them up; I was a Marine. There is not much I haven’t heard or repeated. I am fine with the raw version,” I replied with a laugh. I knew Amy could handle off color jokes. She had forwarded me some rough ones.

It broke the ice; the rest of the lunch was relaxed and hilarious. Secretary James asked if I would give an overview of the Task Force fight on terror. I was surprised it had not come up sooner. I had a mental speech that I could give.

“You have an hour block,” James said.

“Crap,” I thought, fifteen minutes would have been enough.

I spoke for thirty minutes, took questions and then gave closing arguments.

Back at Section 12 I had answers to some of the questions. Robert had sent me two files; one that he had found and another that Officer Ben-David had a courier deliver to the office.

Balthazar Khamini aka Gazi Asfour had another name, Guardian Colonel Faaz Fayeez Mohammad, IRGC Intelligence division. Colonel Faaz had been the chief interrogator and torturer of the six US Navy personnel who had strayed into Iranian waters several years ago.

No wonder Iran was worried about his whereabouts; if he turned, he could reveal a lot of information and a major disaster on everything Iran. If we caught him as a terrorist it would be a major political setback in their attempts to fool the liberal politicians and sympathizers.

It was standard procedure that any visits by that class of individuals had to be approved by State Department, DHS and CIA months in advance and they were limited in their travels. None of that had been done.

Frank and Eric had been in a meeting with the President’s intelligence team. They walked in the door just as I finished reading the files and after I had asked Ben to come to my office.

I printed off the pages and passed the reports to them. After they finished reading, there was a heated debate about what to do with him. Then I fed the reports into the shredder.

“If Iran finds out we have him, they will arrest every American business-man and those of our allies there under fake charges to use as pawns to get him back,” I said.

I sent an emergency page to Mike Doyle and William Croft, the senior FBI and DHS agents in the group that had gone to Gitmo with the prisoner.

“MTAC NOW,” I sent.

Less than five minutes later they were on line.

“Hey Boss, what’s up? Must be important,” Mike said.

“Have you made any progress with the questioning?” I asked.

“No, not a bit,” Mike replied.

“That’s because you are dealing with a professional interrogator,” I said.

I filled them on who we actually had and all the consequences.

“You have two days to interrogate him; take the gloves off, get rough. Work in shifts, do not let him sleep. The only restriction is you cannot kill him or break any bones. At the end of the two days, he will be brought back to a secret facility here for a final and extremely advanced interrogation,” I said.

“I know your men did not disobey orders but if any of you have accidentally taken any video or pictures, totally destroy the equipment including the SIM cards. There is an industrial shredder that feeds an incinerator at the base maintenance area; use it for everything,” I added then closed the window.

Ben, Frank and Eric were staring intensely at me.

“Do you have a better idea?” I asked.

“No, not really. What are you going to tell the President? You know he or Troy will ask?” Frank asked.

“I guess I will have to think of something,” I replied as I picked up my jacket to leave.

“Do want to go with me when I have that meeting?” I asked.

Three heads shook no, “Not on your life,” was the reply.

“Are you going to tell us where you got that information from?” Frank asked.

“No! Well, maybe in a month I will be able to,” I replied.

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Chapter 513

The first big break came the next morning in stopped traffic. Apparently the terrorists were going to try to do a cycle biker bombing every day. Only on this morning, the biker ran into a redneck.

Daryl Ragberry met the classic country definition of a redneck. Big dirty diesel pickup truck that had a frame lift kit installed for big knobby tires that one could hear coming a mile away that stuck out past the pickup body. The exhaust had been modified with two big chrome stacks sticking up behind the cab. There was a gun rack in the back window with NRA and Love it or Leave decals on the window.

He was a big country redneck with an attitude and a patriot who apparently listened to the news as he was passing through. He heard the dirt bike coming and saw it in the mirror. He watched the biker place the package and then race in his direction between the rows of stopped cars to make his escape.

When the biker was just feet away and too close to take evasive action, Daryl opened the driver’s door into his path. The bike stopped four cars past, jammed under a minivan.

The biker was on the blacktop under the opened door trying to get up when Daryl slid off the seat and landed with both feet on him. From there it was downhill for the biker and he was no match for a six foot four 250 pound pissed off redneck who began beating the crap out of him with both big fists.

When the cops finally got there the biker’s hands and feet were restrained with barbed wire.
“That’s all I had and was good enough for him,” Daryl replied when asked why the barbed wire. There were six new rolls – one of them minus several feet – in the back of the truck.

We had a dirt bike but witnesses’ reports indicated it was a different one than either of yesterdays attacks; not good news. That meant there were at least three in the group.

There was a debate while the terrorist was being taken to the hospital to be checked out as to which police department was going to charge him; Metro police, Transportation Authority or Maryland State police.

It was an argument that I ended by sending four DHS and four FBI agents assigned to the Task Force to meet the ambulance at Mercy Hospital with strict orders that no one other than the doctor was to be allowed to talk to or see the terrorist.

To complicate any attempts for anyone trying to see him, I instructed that he be admitted by one of the Gitmo prisoner ID’s I had. I sent the eight agents an order that he was to have NO visitors without my approval and there was an information blackout. Tamim Bashara became prisoner 20172.

I finally had time to look at the breakout of the numbers from the two I-phones that Robert had unlocked last night.

There was a copy of the printouts, the new pass-codes and the phones I handed to the FBI agent across the table to be tagged for evidence.

A quick look and search of the numbers quickly told me how the Iranian and Egyptian embassy knew so quickly. Both their numbers were in the contact list on Balthazar’s phone and the last number called was the Egyptian Embassy. There were several calls to the satellite phones we thought belonged to the Prince.

There were several calls that originated within Iran by the country ID. With the evidence in the call logs, it left no doubt there was collusion between the Iran and the Prince and the continuing terror in the US. The question was, where did Balthazar fit into the plan? A couple more days in an orange jump suit in the tropical sun and a convenient meeting with the doc and I would know.

The agents at the hospital took possession of Tamim’s clothes and another phone; this one was a burn phone with only Balthazar’s number in it. The contents of the pockets was a different story.

Tamim had his mail in his pocket, complete with apartment address. The apartment search proved to be a bonanza.

The agents assigned to the task force finally were getting the idea of the way we wanted things done. Moments after finding the evidence we had cell phone pictures of it to look at and analyze.

There were detailed plans for daily attacks, including boxes of the small explosive devices, enough for five days worth of attacks.

The apartment walls were covered with all kinds of ISIS and Hezbollah posters and other propaganda. There was even a partial box of handout materials and flyers. It would take days for the tech people to make sense out of it.

To me it was simple; all this was a recruiting tool. Everyday there was a successful attack, their status grew and the flyers – I was sure – would end up in the Virginia and DC learning centers. It was one more new tactic for us to stay ahead of.

Tomorrow agents would make the rounds to all the centers and mosques with a sample and to look at all the bulletin boards. There would indeed be questions to their leaders.

After lunch a lawyer showed up at the hospital and demanded to see his client. Special Agent John North called on the task force priority phone just as Troy and the President walked in and just seconds after I had put the call on speaker.

“Who is your client?” I responded.

“The motorcycle driver,” the lawyer responded.

“We have no one in custody or detained by that name. You will have to do better than that,” I replied.

“He is my client and I demand to see him. If you refuse, I will go to court,” he replied.

“Be my guest, as far as I am concerned if you don’t have a name, you don’t have a client,” I replied.

“The lawyer just stormed out,” Agent North said.

“Play hardball with anyone else who shows up and get me his condition, injuries and how soon he can be moved out of there. You do know he is not to be left alone at any time, even during treatment and even if the doctors request it,” I said.

“If anyone shows up with his name, arrest them under suspicion of conspiring with terrorists,” I said.
“Understood completely, Boss,” Agent north replied.

“Well Boss, I see you are back to form and have everything under control; being attacked did not make you any nicer,” Troy replied as he was trying not to smile or laugh.

“You haven’t seen anything yet, just wait a few weeks,” I replied.

More breaks came throughout the day in small doses. A key to a rental unit was found taped under a dresser in Tamim’s apartment. It still had the rental unit’s key tag attached to it.

My prosecutor was sending a continuous stream of search warrants to the judge for his signature. Agents were kicking down doors at multiple locations.

The other two dirt bikes were in the rental unit along with a crate of the small IEDs. Better yet, the crate still had all kinds of shippers’ addresses on it. The bill of lading was on a tool tray. They made no attempt to keep any secret related to the crate.

By peeling off layers of stickers and running what seemed like dozens of bar codes, the crate originated at the Iranian Republican Guard arsenal and then was shipped to Jiwani Pakistan labeled as spare machine parts.

It was shipped from Pakistan to Turkey where the description was changed to Lebond Lathe modernization kit and was given a pre-customs inspection, approved and sent to Jiddah Saudi Arabia to a company that was owned by the Prince. One more turn on the rope around the Prince’s neck. From there it was shipped to HMW Import Export Machine Supply Baltimore.

A check of HMW found an address on the south side of Baltimore that turned out to be an empty warehouse. The warehouse was leased to Ebin Wadi. Ebin Wadi was one of the ones killed in the Baltimore Learning center. He had made the lease three months before his death. The lease was prepaid for 12 months.

The crate had arrived at the Baltimore dock just two weeks ago. That left the question of who picked up the crate and was Balthazar the leader? If he was, the whole terror campaign just went to a new level with bigger players.
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Chapter 512

“Ben, deception time again,” I said as I picked up the phone.

I called the dispatcher at Andrews, “When is the next flight to Gitmo?” I asked.

“What do you need to go? There are no passenger flights this week except by special orders,” the dispatcher replied.

“A top secret flight carrying a terrorist passenger. There is to be no manifest.”

“That will take special orders for sure Ma-am,” the dispatcher replied.

“Special orders from whom?” I asked.

“There is a list. I will have to check with the duty officer. Who is requesting the flight?”

“Ambassador Jones, chairperson of the Terrorist Task Force,” I replied.

“I will need to call you back; number please?” he asked.

“202-555-1600,” I replied.

“Thank you Ma-am, I will call you back as soon as he can check,” he replied.

Less than five minutes later the dispatcher called back.

“Ma-am, Admiral Hawkins added you to the approval list. The additional instructions are that you need to call Rear Admiral Rawlins at JTF-GTMO and make reservations for your victim. His number and other information should be in your inbox. The plane will be ready by the time you get your prisoner here,” he replied.

“Marty, keep Balthazar bagged, have him carried straight to Andrews and send several agents to stay with him for a few days. Your agents do carry GO bags; don’t they?” I asked.

“If they don’t now, they will if they want to get assigned as a primary work team for you. There have been requests within the department to develop a primary anti terrorist team assigned to the task force. The sub-directors are viewing the proposal as an advanced level of on the job training plus being connected to the success of the Task Force as a career booster,” he replied.

“Get everything collected at the site, such as all phones and computers, here ASAP, let’s find out how Iran knew so much so fast. Expedite searches at their homes as quickly as possible,” I added.
“All records are to show this individual as Balthazar Khamini and no one else and scrub all references to Gazi Asfour for the time being,” I said loudly.

I closed the door to my office and called Robert, “Find me everything you can on Gazi Asfour and his connection to Iran.”

Then I called Ben-David and asked him to do the same thing. I knew there should be more information than what was on Interpol and I was equally sure if there was, Israel would have it.

It took twenty minutes to fill out the online authorizations for me to be able to use Gitmo’s facilities from now on. Nowhere was there a place to put a name for the individual, only a number.

A number, a contact person and department. A number would not give hackers any real information. I was issued a block of twenty five active numbers; it was another check to confuse potential hackers.

All twenty five were shown with cell block and cell numbers, dietary requirements, schedules for exercise yard, interrogation and medical appointments. Everything to make it look like I had 25 individuals there.

After I had completed everything, I began to wonder at what point would I know too much and need to look over my shoulder from within?

Administrations in Washington always seemed to leave a body or two of officials in one of the parks who died under mysterious circumstances or so called self inflicted wounds.

By the time I had finished, Balthazar was being loaded onto a plane that was being held because of the FBI agents who had no go-bags. Marty sent them to the mall across from Andrews, giving them thirty minutes to put together a go-bag.

In the middle of all the confusion, Andy sent me a text, “The fifteen man team; one is leaving for Polokwane tonight on general aviation. They are going to take rooms in the hotel of interest. Their first camera hunt is in 10 days which will give them plenty of time to gather area Intel. Real hunt in the preserve the same day the person of interest is expected to arrive. Gun club is supplying necessary hunting weapons.”

“Understood, thanks,” I replied.

Troy and the President walked in and motioned me into my office, “Do you want to explain to me what is going on? I thought we had Balthazar? Who is Gazi Asfour?” the President asked.

“One and the same, apparently an Iranian terrorist trainer on US soil or else a high level spy. We need time to find out the when, how and soon. Whatever you do, don’t acknowledge that we have him; just the two who I named. Balthazar is on his way to Gitmo to cool his heels while we thoroughly investigate him,” I said.

“Balthazar nor Gazi is not on any custody or detainment list in case the Iranians are hacking the system,” I added.
That explanation seemed to satisfy the both of them and they left.

We waited while the collected items were brought to the lab for inspection. It took an hour for the items to show up. Among them were two Apple I-phones that were locked.

Marty Coeburn called with the news about the phones, “I am sending them to you by an agent. Please maintain the chain of custody on them so we can use it in court if needed,” he said.

“No problem,” I replied.

Things had just settled down when a report of a suspicious object had exploded on 495 in stop and go traffic. The device had been left in the stopped traffic by a masked individual who fled on foot and was later seen fleeing on a small motorcycle – possibly a dirt bike – towards the side of DC that had become home to many immigrants. An FBI and ATF team was in route to investigate.

DC was full of small mopeds and small dirt bikes, the mopeds under 50cc were legal. Dirt bikes were not. DC and Baltimore both were having serious problems with dirt bikes in the summer time. Gangs were wreaking havoc on many neighborhood streets on weekends and weekdays after dusk.

The dirt bikes could race between stopped cars and alleys where police cruisers could not go.

I was willing to bet that this event was connected to the arrest this morning. A new strategy was in the works; small explosives randomly placed to create a new level of fear among the public.

The rest of the day was details on the two incidents. There were a thousand questions and few answers. Stopping this new tactic was going to take help from the public. Tips helping us find the locations they were accessing the Interstate from, possibly any bike activity that could lead to where they were building the devices and the people involved were going to be the key.

By the normal 1400 White House press conference I decided it was time to go public with the phone numbers for a new tip line along with a plea for public awareness and requesting reporting of anything that may be helpful.

I walked in behind Harry and stood waiting for him to finish and my opportunity to speak. It came quickly; the next question and the next two dozen were directed to me.

I left at nearly my normal time; more of the keeping them guessing routine. We were on the Bay Bridge when Marty called to tell me another biker bomb had been detonated.

There was little I could do so we continued on to the office. Andy and Robert had updates for me and then of course our regular meeting.

Andy and Robert were the first stops I made. Andy had found forty more men and ladies he felt comfortable with temporarily adding to the OPS team. They were all arriving tomorrow with sessions with the doc for whatever shot they needed. Then there were the refreshers needed on the range and gym.

Robert, on the other hand, was excited; his group had broken all of the terrorists’ new codes. There were enough things to make the conversation last over an hour with Andy and me.

The makeup of teams two and three was decided with their objectives and leader. They would leave on Monday in one of our leased jets; this one owned by Capital Steel Corporation.

Teams four and five would leave the following Monday in the Accidental Petroleum jet. Our pilots flew the Accidental jet often to Africa and the Middle East with company executives, engineers and petroleum specialists.

Team six would consist of Andy, Ed, Bill, the four Mossad ladies, possibly Robert to take over control of the hotel computer systems, me and six of the OPS men. We would leave on Wednesday to get ready to greet the Crown Prince and the arms dealer. We now knew they were scheduled to arrive on Saturday and leave on Sunday night.

The next meeting was with Robert and Robert Alderman, our in-house tax man.

“The offshore secret bank account you wanted has been completed,” Alderman said.

“Abra and Ziva pulled it off without a hitch; the fake Saudi passport went through without a problem. I never dreamed that a woman in full burqa would pass all the security measures to get an account,” Alderman said.

“I started an account in all ten foreign banks like you wanted with a million in each and 10 million in the Caribbean bank; then I transferred money among all of the accounts. Here are the passwords and logins with the account numbers; I changed all of them twice to make sure they were clean. There is a Ukrainian email account as the primary contact, and a new laptop registered with the Ukrainian email,” Robert said.

“You keep a copy; you may be the one doing the work. Are your shots up to date?” I asked.
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Chapter 511

I had intended to go to Washington later today so it was no inconvenience when Robert called and said I needed to see him before I left.

“Last night there were a series of emails between the four and a phone call among the three persons of interest. There was a firm date agreed on by all; four weeks from Saturday,” Robert said.

“The Prince has upped his order and added another delivery point. He now wants the CH-4B drones – equal to our Reaper – capable of carrying more missiles a lot further. He wants twenty five sent to the arms dealer in Central America, twenty five sent to South Africa and another twenty five sent to Sudan. He also wants a total of 500 missiles and training for ten people in all three places,” Robert said.

“The Hong Kong dealer answered back a couple hours later; it’s a 425 million dollar deal payable up front, with delivery of the first group of twenty five to central America to begin in thirty days,” Robert said.

“The Prince agreed, provided that they would accept sixty five five-million dollar US treasury bonds and the rest in the previous described currencies; 100 million in gold, diamonds and ivory,” Robert said.

“The dealer replied back accepting the deal in less than twenty minutes,” Robert said.

I failed to understand how the Prince even remotely thought he was going to get away with using those kinds of drones in the Americas. Every country has sophisticated low level capable radars and all the major airports had US made Raytheon Doppler radar to fight small drug planes.

The second big question was how were the operators going to maintain contact and control when they were in use with the range they would have? Those Chinese drones did not have sophisticated satellite communications.

They needed a long range radio communications link. Had these networks been established or are they in the process? Or, was the plan to just use them short range? Just how many operations did the Prince have going on that I did not know about?

It looked like he had upped his game and decided to get actively involved in some of the civil wars in those areas to increase and expand his sphere of influence. If he could do that successfully, it would either greatly improve his standing in the royal family, or just maybe get him executed if he lived that long. The royal family was in the middle of a power struggle; maybe he had a plan to climb to the top.

I immediately called Andy, Bill and Ed from the command center and gave them instructions.

“See Robert ASAP when you return from Washington and expedite the first part of the plan; imperative you keep me informed,” I said.

I was in the middle of the pack as we made the trip to Washington with my phone going crazy with texts from Marty Coeburn.

“We got Balthazar Khamini and an accomplice; they had one of the mobile IEDs in the trunk of the car along with maps and directions. I will be at 1600 when you get there,” the text said.

Twenty minutes later I walked into half a crew at Section Twelve; everyone was taking a cue from me by varying arrival and departure time. Ben and Frank were looking at pictures of Khamini and his car and contents that were being live streamed from the crime unit on the scene. The bomb squad was on the way to the spot.

“Send us some close up pictures of the IED portion, specifically the wires coming out of it. Do NOT touch it or move anything in doing so,” I instructed.

The pictures came in a couple seconds later. The wires were connected.

“It is armed! Get the hell away from there NOW; you need to be 500 yards away. Somewhere there is a remote control and detonator. If you did not find it in the car with him it there must be a second a car carrying it, if you see any other cars stopped within a mile or a car that keeps driving by arrest them and look for a wireless controller,” I said.

We watched as a camera was swinging in the wind as its operator was running. Then engines were running and tires squealing. Then we were picking up the officer talking on the radio through the camera feed that was still on.
“There is a car stopped back there; get him, it’s turning around running. All units on Blackburn Road stop the red Nissan headed north,” was heard. Another waiting game was afoot.

It was thirty minutes before confirmation came back that the Nissan had been apprehended. Not only was the detonator in the car but one of the new design suicide vests.

Ben was now faced with decisions; he had three individuals, one IED and one suicide vest and now dozens of law enforcement officers. He had few answers and was unlikely to get any. The media was all over the event already; apparently they were monitoring all law enforcement channels. Camera trucks were there before the bomb disposal unit.

Unless there was any evidence left on computers or their house, we were unlikely to get any information any time soon.

The phones were ringing; officials on the scene wanted policy and procedures clarified. There were already several agencies involved and a power struggle was in the making. Unofficial calls wanted information confirming the reported events.

Ben was being overwhelmed and I was doing my part to help; with only half the crew here, it was a mess. Years of being a NSA analyst looking at data in closed rooms and pushing a desk had left him with no experience in dealing with what was going on today. Ben had come a long way tutored by Frank, Eric and me but today was one of those days that would try the patience of the Pope.

The matter only became worse! Troy and the President came down wanting someone from the task force to join them in a news briefing in the press room.

“Ben, you go with the President and I’ll get things here under control before you return,” I said.

“I figured out the name thing you do with Andy. Boss, you need to go with the President,” Ben replied.

I made it short and sweet, “There were two more terrorists apprehended this morning. One mobile IED and one suicide vest have been captured. That is the only information available at the moment and as usual the investigation is ongoing. As soon as we have details the Task Force will pass it on,” I said.

I was back in Section 12 in thirty minutes. The rest of the team was there.

“What have you got on Balthazar now that you have fingerprints and a good facial to confirm identity?” I asked.

“Balthazar Khamini; he is Iranian and that is not his real name, he is forty four. Interpol has him as Gazi Asfour. His path was from Kashan Iran to Turkey and then to Britain. He stayed in London turning into a violent activist. Then he went from London to Toronto.”

“He applied for a Canadian passport after living there six months as Balthazar. The passport was denied and he was ordered to return to Britain but disappeared. When he showed up next it was on the terrorist list at West Virginia and was the first sign of him here,” Ben said.

“What about the others?” I asked.

“The one riding with Balthazar was here on a student visa that had expired 8 months ago from Turkey Alsham Kassab. There was no other information on him as of yet,” Bob said.

“The other one?” I asked.

“Masih Awad; from Damascus, he was on the watch list for the last six months, he was actively involved in anti-Israel demonstrations and several violent demonstrations against US action in Syria.”

Things got even worse just as we were discussing the three. Troy walked in, “The Egyptian Ambassador is in the Oval Office acting as go between for Iran. Iran is demanding that the Egyptian embassy be the official consul for Gazi Asfour. They are demanding his immediate release to the Egyptian Ambassador,” Troy said.

“Tell them we have no one under arrest by that name. Ask them detailed information on who they are claiming to represent. Inform them we will look at all prisoners and remains once we get that information to see if anyone fits, as time permits,” I said.

“This is not going to go over well,” Troy replied as he walked away.

No should have known who we had in custody, it was standard practice now to bag terror suspects immediately to prevent giving terrorists watching any advantage and their names were to be transmitted only over secure devices, no longer over the radio.

There was a reason Iran wanted Gazi so bad so fast. What was it?

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Chapter 510

Tuesday morning the White House looked like a dealership dedicated to Suburbans, there were so many there. I laughed at the thought that most of them were owned by JBG. I wondered what the watchdogs in Congress would have to say about that, not that anyone cared at the moment.

The Task Force spent the morning looking at evidence from the attack on my convoy. A few cell phones and personal papers had been collected from the bodies. There was enough evidence collected off of two individuals to order another raid in Richmond Virginia for this afternoon.

At 1100 Troy called and asked me to come to the Oval Office. Senators Miller, Johnston, Wakefield and Haden were sitting at the big desk. There was one empty chair for me. I hated meetings when the last chair was for me.

I handed the President and Troy each a mug of coffee before I settled in the chair, “Black and one with cream and sugar, I believe.”

“You were invited to give a classified briefing to the DHS oversight committee but we withdrew the subpoena, given the events last week. There a couple of questions we would like to ask you, if you are up to answering them,” Senator Miller said.

“Go ahead, ask away,” I replied.

“It has come to our attention that you may have worked outside the scope of the Task Force and Judiciary on some terrorist issues, what is your response to that statement?” Senator Johnston asked.

“I will follow every lead to find the terrorists, their financiers, informants and sympathizers within the rules and outside the rules or military rules of engagement. They obey no rules in their quest to kill us. To even hold our own against them, we are going to have to do some distasteful things from time to time,” I replied.

“They have tried to kill me several times and now they threaten the committee members. The gloves are off and when I find them, no rules are going to apply while I extract revenge. Revenge is best served cold.”

“I will pursue them to the ends of the earth. With my last dying breath I will stab at their heart and with my last burst of energy I will shove the knife deep; I will kill them. I have made that quite clear in the past and it is even truer today,” I said.

“How would you feel if you had been a repeated target and now had a bounty on you? That bounty puts anyone and everyone, friends, family, associates and anyone you meet on the street in jeopardy,” I asked.

“Probably about the same as you do,” Senator Wakefield replied.

“The Senate is considering a proposal behind the scenes to make the Task Force a permanent fixture of the Justice Department. What are your thoughts on that?” Senator Miller asked.

“By being under the Justice Department, over time it will become a servant of the department and other needs of the department will be distracting from the war on terrorism,” I said.

“A terrorist task force needs to be independent and made up of members from within the enforcement agencies. It must be able to act on intelligence immediately. They must have the authority to pool all agents together when necessary. You have had various forms of a task force within agencies that were only marginally effective, let’s not go back there,” I added.

“How you do that, I have no idea. A cabinet position, another agency reporting to the President or both?” I asked.
“I agree the Justice Department is already a huge department and at times seems to be unresponsive to immediate needs. Making it bigger with more power is not the answer. Many Senators think a new agency dedicated to terrorism is appropriate,” Senator Miller replied.

He followed up that statement, “We would like to form a working committee with the current Task Force as a model to develop the new agency. The President has suggested that he is open to letting Ben Smith and you participate in those early planning sessions, if you have no objections,” he said.

“I will assist as much as I possibly can and I am sure Ben will also. I haven’t told the President yet so this will be his notice but I am going to be out of the country in about three weeks for a few days. When the dates firm up, I will let you know so we can plan around them,” I said.

I left early again today as did all the committee members at 1400 and was in the command center at 1530. Vicky, Ching Lee, Jake and Jason were waiting to fill me in on the Korean trip.

I listened to an enthusiastic recap of the Korea adventure and shopping spree in Japan. We girls had plenty of souvenir traditional Korean and Japanese clothes to try on tonight.

After all the stories, we started our normal meeting. I found out that Lorrie, Marcy and the lawyers had finally made it through the maze of the former Hartford Aggregate company to place an option on Pig Iron Point.

It was named Pig Iron Point because in the early days settlers collected iron nodules from the mud banks in the area and sold them to the local blacksmiths.

Pig Iron Point was made into small shipping terminal in the 1700s because of its deep water. When steam ships came to the bay, it was converted into a barge landing terminal.

Cambridge, Salisbury, Betterton and Baltimore became the major passenger steam ship stops.

In the thirties and forties cheap coal and lumber from the Carolinas and Virginia was off loaded from Norfolk, decades before the bridge tunnel was built. In the fifties, sixties and seventies Hartford started unloading crushed rock there for its aggregate business.

The eighties recession had nearly bankrupted the Hartford company; they closed the terminal and others, downsizing the business back to its Hartford county location. The terminal had been left to rot.

The creosote moorings and piling were rotting as was the seawall bulkheads. Piles of old creosote pilings were everywhere. Towards the end, Hartford had used it as a dumping ground to get rid of creosote lumber and other wastes that were difficult to do on the western shore because of the growing environmental movement.

Huge concrete placements to store and keep all the stone types separated were still there and in very good shape. Good enough that they could be used as part of the required containment wall for storage tanks.

Developers had looked into the property only to run after getting estimates to clean up the place before any development could begin. The property was odd shaped and unsuitable to build condos on and have any parking or make a usable marina on. The access road was narrow, only slightly more than a single lane in some spots.

The state had recently changed the rules allowing the creosote to be disposed of in certain landfills after grinding into chips. There was also a new concrete recycling plant that had a portable concrete recycler.

The site was still zoned industrial heavy commercial and that was one of the reasons that developers ran away; to clean it up sufficiently to change the zoning to residential was just too much for them to bear.

From the property to the Morton Field fuel farm was six miles as the crow flies. Marcy wanted to rebuild the docks, place a new fuel tank with pumps there and install a four inch pipeline to the fuel farm.

Marcy had a price that she was willing to pay for the finished project if the couple of farmers across the route would not sell a right of way for a buried pipe or it was a no-go period.

While Jake was away Janet Ashworthy, Jake’s in house EPA engineer and the J&J estimating and engineering crew had done several site evaluations and finished up the report for Marcy. They even drilled holes in the ice to conform the channel depth. The real plus was that the water was still deep enough to accommodate medium draft tugs and a loaded barge. Hartford had dredged it exceptionally deep for rock filled barges.

More things for everyone to do. A lot of cleanup could be done now, just anything to do with water would have to wait until there was a thaw in the bay.

We had been at the meeting for two hours when Duke and Clarence arrived. In my office I explained what I had heard, my position, what I thought needed to be done and how. I helped them develop a position statement and an outline for a news conference tomorrow, taking the bull by the horns.

I also gave them a list of prospective nominees for the committee to write new planning and zoning rules. The list included Jason Coles, Jake Jones, Bob Jackson, Bob’s engineer and several others; all of them well thought of in the county.

“You know your campaigns will be heavily watched by the liberal Baltimore stations; that said, I cannot directly donate where they would be able to trace things back to me. However, there are other things that can be done such as sponsor cookouts and sporting tournaments at the gun club, spaghetti dinners and other fund raisers with donation tubs that I will see gets cash placed in them,” I said.

“Write up an op-ed setting out your position on the zoning issues and more. I will have someone look it over to make sure it makes no political blunders or miscues – if you like – and then you can deliver it to Elmo and pay him to run it as a full page ad in the Gazette,” I said.

“How are the campaign finances, do you have enough money to get started? I haven’t seen any fund raisers,” I asked.
“Normally we collect enough donations and then finance the rest out of our pockets if we have to. We usually wait until March to get very serious about campaigning,” Duke replied.

“Times are changing. This is going to be a much more expensive election and longer campaign season; money buys ads and voters, you just have to push the media to see your point of view and project it while making no blunders. I will make an anonymous donation to get you running,” I said.

I opened my desk drawer and placed ten thousand in one hundreds in front of each of them.

“What are you going to do with Pig Iron Point? Put a development there?” Duke asked.

“No; no developments. We want to return it back to a barge terminal to barge in Jet fuel. When the C5s and all contract flights are flying, we are using twenty tractor loads of jet A every day with a freight charge of one thousand dollars a load. One barge could deliver 500,000 gallons or about the same amount of fuel as 63 tractor trailers for 12000 dollars, a savings of $50000 every four days,” I replied.

“How did you hear about that already? The contracts were signed this morning. The state and federal agencies, along with planning & zoning will have all the permit applications tomorrow. We have been working on the plans a while now.”

“They paid the delinquent property taxes today and their representative made the comment that they had sold the site to you to the records clerk. I was at the side desk,” Duke replied.

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Chapter 509

The lively discussion lasted an hour before the President and Troy joined our group. The group wanted the heavy vests if I could spare them. No problem with that; Vicky had plenty and in assorted sizes. They were going to follow me when I left.

Then the conversation turned to armored SUVs. Troy called the GSA (General Services Administration); they were responsible for all federal automobiles.

“The GSA does not have any extra; all they have are assigned and the few that are not, are reserved for visiting dignitaries,” Troy said as he hung up the phone. Then he was staring at me with a strange look on his face.

“You lost four a few days ago; today you show up in eight. Where did you get them on such short notice?” Troy asked.
“You forgot about the contract JBG has with the State Department? We have to supply two for each of the eighty embassies and replace twenty percent every year with new. The best ones that come in get rehabbed for our own use,” I replied.

“We have twenty four new ones in a hangar awaiting shipment overseas and now six of the rehabbed one awaiting reassignment internally. If you can get the State Department to waive the twenty percent requirement for this year, I am sure Marcy would lease them to the GSA – but only on the standard five year State Department contract terms. We cannot get any more this year,” I said.

“Consider it waived, I will send the Secretary of State an email to that effect. Just replace forty percent next year to get on schedule,” the President said as he stood to leave.

It took another hour before their security teams and drivers were assembled; a mix of DHS, FBI and Secret Service agents made up the security; basically anyone they could find. A much bigger convoy made the trip east.

The media helicopters were so thick it was a miracle there were no midair collisions. They followed the convoy all the way to Morton Field.

The first stop was to Morton so they could get the SUVs. Marcy and three of her administrators along with their clerks met us there. It was cold and they wanted the lease paperwork and temporary tags completed fast so they could get back to the office and heat. It was so cold, they was quickly decided to move the proceedings to the Morton meeting room.

I was going to look out the window when this group was ready to go to the office. It should be a comedy when they went looking for their SUV when all twenty four were exactly the same and parked together.

While that was going on, my security and I went to the airport restaurant, the first time I had been there in days. Since it was in between meal rushes, the crowd should be light.

The customers who were there were mostly farmers who were bored with no farm work to do as their ground was frozen, also some local delivery drivers getting hot coffee and late lunches.

Lorrie joined me and my men who scattered around in different seats to give coverage of the seating. At the table across from me were Duke Justice and Clarence Hallworthy – two of the county commissioners – and several drivers from local oil delivery company. They were flipping a pile of papers and debating.

“You look stressed out, has the cold gotten the best of you?” I asked.

“You mean after you threw us under the bus Sunday or this pile of stuff,” Duke replied.

“I did not throw you under the bus, I gave you a bull to take by the horns to use against the opposition; you haven’t been paying attention to what they are saying. I am surprised you aren’t taking advantage of it already. Do I need to supply a strategist and a speech writer to get you moving?” I said.

Duke looked around and said, “How about we pay you a visit later today or tomorrow and you can explain your line of thinking. I am having trouble finding the positive out of all that. ”

“Do you think I want that bunch of lost sheep to be commissioners? They fit the description of too dumb to pour piss out of their boots with directions on the heel. Stop by the gym; they will know where to find me. What is all this mess?” I asked as I pointed to the pile on the table.

“Energy assistance program; winter has been so cold we have used all the funds for the month and the allotment for the winter. Feds are saying additional funding may come at the end of next month. May and not will does not install confidence in the suppliers.”

“To make matters worse- with most of the bay frozen over – no tankers or barges can get in to the Baltimore terminals. Number two heating oil is in tight supply, most of the companies are limiting deliveries and picking deliveries so you know who is going to be last,” Duke added.

“So we are picking who is going to get a few of the gallons we have left. We are hoping to have enough to keep people from freezing along with their pipes for a couple days while hoping every day that Annapolis or Washington does something in a hurry. We have four trucks and a thousand gallons between them and we need a lot more than that,” Duke said.

“How many request for aid do you have in this mess you have spread out?” I asked.

“There are eighty here, ” Duke replied.

“Jet A is glorified K1, I think we can help with a little of that; it should burn just fine,” I said as I was looking at Lorrie as she was nodding to the affirmative.

“Follow me, I will have the fuel guys meet us back at the fuel farm,” Lorrie replied as she and they stood and left.

I sent Lorrie a text to fill all four trucks to the brim and then continued with Duke.

“Duke; Lorrie is going to fill all four trucks. If I read the numbers right on the side of them that should give you 16000 gallons, 200 gallons for each of your needy. Marcy would like to have copies of the delivery tickets to account for the fuel for our tax man,” I said.

Duke started separating the papers for the drivers when they returned.

I finished my coffee and was carried to the house, then made my way to command center for a planning session with Andy, Ed, Bill and Robert.

I was relieved that Hamas had made the threats public; that would keep hidden the fact that Robert had broken some of the codes they were using.

Ed, Robert and I took turns bringing Andy, Ed and Bill up to speed on what we knew about the Prince’s planned trip.

Using the State Department’s fancy Google Earth, we looked at Polokwane South Africa along with everything we could find on it and the surrounding area.

With all of us searching we determined that there were six different groups of poachers working the area also posing as legitimate hunting guides for big game. All of them were using the same scheduler for the hunting parties. The ads made it pretty clear that the game laws meant nothing.

When Robert cross-checked the Prince’s satellite phone, all six were regular callers. The noose just got a little tighter on the Prince.

“Robert, find out if those two hotels use computers systems for their operations, if so hack them and monitor them. I want to know if and when the Prince sets up his visit. You may also want to notice if they seem to be holding a floor or suite around the time the Prince is supposed to visit,” I instructed.

“Andy, get with James Clown at the gun club; he books all the international hunts. Find out what’s involved, how much lead time, licenses and permits; that kind of thing. Get the process started,” I added.

“What’s the direction with that?” Andy asked.

“Book hunts that take them out into the field when the Prince is there. That reduces the men available to him if things go wrong. Feed them to the wildlife and destroy all their equipment, end their support for terrorism for good. They will always go to the most money, no matter how bad the cause,” I said.

“I want anyone there connected with the Prince dead,” I said.

Things were set in motion; my guys had plenty to do tomorrow. The map of Polokwane was still on the big screen when Cindy brought Ben and the group down. I was still looking at empty streets and dilapidated buildings and wondered why the Prince had picked this place to meet.

Ben walked in, sat in the chair next to me and studied the screen.

“More embassy problems?” he asked.

“More terrorist problems and a good place to die,” I replied and closed the screen.

It took an hour for the group to decide on the heavy vests and proper fitting they wanted. There were thirty DHS, FBI and Secret Service agents with them and they were inquisitive.

It did not help that they could look into the glass door of Vicky’s store room stash of equipment and hardware. There was plenty for them to gawk at.

Finally a couple of the ones I had dealings with at the White House could contain their curiosity no more; “Can we walk through and look if we promise not to touch?”

“Sure, but your bosses will not allow you to have any of your own to play with,” I replied with a grin as I unlocked the door.
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