Chapter 496

Section 12 was experiencing what I had come to call data overload. Data was in from everywhere. Dissecting it and sending to the right person was a monumental task.

Progress was being made in the search for the new suicide vests. Two more had been found in Rochester. So far none of the mobile IEDs had been found, nor any trace of Balthazar Khamini or Raed Jabbour.

The news was filled with video from the seven centers being razed and loaded into dumpsters as fast as they could be. The equipment was moved in under the cover of darkness and at first light the destruction started.

My federal attorney had a courier hand-delivered letter to each area’s planning and zoning department that it was happening by order of the Federal Court at the request of the terrorism task force with a list of the statutes that applied.

Still, people were not happy. In Baltimore people were demonstrating but it was too late. The contractor had deployed plenty of equipment and put the entire building on the ground before the morning rush hour.

Fencing companies were going to surround the vacant lots with chain link fence as soon as the contractors were finished.

I had just refreshed my mug in time to answer my phone, “This is Mayor Blum of Baltimore, what in the hell do you think you are doing tearing down the learning center and seizing the property?” he asked.

“Missing vests, unexploded ordnance, missing IEDs, rumors from some that some explosives were hidden in the walls settled the case. Our experience with Saif is that he leaves booby traps. I am not risking the lives and bodies of any more personnel,” I replied.

“There was not enough notice; there should have been hearings for public comment. You cannot do this stuff in Baltimore and get away with it! We are going to sue you and the federal government,” the Mayor yelled into the phone.

“You might want to save that money to increase your personal protection detail. There is an alert list coming out in the next few days of high value targets captured from various intercepts. Certain mayors of big cities are on that list and Baltimore is one of them.”

“If you aren’t wearing military grade body armor, I would suggest you get it, today. If you aren’t using an armored SUV I would suggest you get one and quadruple the size of your security detail,” I said just before I hung the phone up, not waiting for a response.

I handled three more calls from the cities with centers getting razed before lunch. I decided on salad for lunch from White House cafeteria. There was no need to hustle a bunch of agents outside to go get lunch anywhere.

At 1400 there was a knock on the door. “I told you so. The press is hammering the spokesman; he sent a note for me to give to you,” Troy said as he handed me the note.

It was short in all caps, “HELP get BJ she started this mess,” Troy was laughing as I read it.

I walked to the podium, “Harry had nothing to do with the news conference I gave this morning so back off. What’s the damn problem?”

Someone in the back weakly yelled, “There are no donuts or coffee.”

“When I have a news conference for you guys there will be coffee and donuts. I establish my own rules for my news conferences and perks,” I replied.

“Why didn’t we get a news conference?” someone else called out, “That’s not fair.”

“You were not standing out in the cold waiting for me. There was too much risk for me to address them out there. I promised the group a statement and I try to keep my promises,” I replied.

“All of this should signal that I march to the beat of different drummer. I do things my way – to hell with what others think,” I said.

“Enough complaining; I have a few minutes for questions and a tight schedule.”

“Melinda.”

“BJ has there been any more information about the bounty they put on you?”

“I’m still breathing, so no one has collected it yet,” I replied to laughs.

“No changes that I know of,” I added.

“Marley;”

“How are all the bodyguards going to work out with your holiday shopping?”

“I admit it may be tough shopping at Victoria’s Secrets with 20 armed bodyguards, as thorough as they are. I can just imagine them checking out the panties for pins and poisons and checking out the dressing rooms,” I said to a room full of laughs.

“It might be a good thing that I do not wear panties. I don’t think Victoria’s could stand such a commotion,” I replied.

“So you are still planning on shopping even with the threats?” Marley asked.

“Marley, you have known me for a long time, have you ever seen me back away from a threat?” I responded.

“No Ma-am. You usually meet them head on and then call the ambulances to carry them away,” Marley replied.

“This is no different; you cannot cower in the corner afraid. I will meet the challenge and move on,” I replied.

“I have a beautiful set of replica single shot dueling pistols. If I had my way we would meet their top man on Main Street at noon, count off twenty paces and see who is still standing to end this foolishness,” I said.

“Instead we are dealing with cowards who force women and children to blow themselves up so they can have something to brag about when they pass around the hashish pipe in their ‘manly’ sessions,” I said.

My mind wandered a moment after the last question. The girls and I were spending a four days after Christmas at one of the Florida rental houses by the nude beach. It was a get-away and relax, also to work on our tans making them natural, covering the tanning booth look.

We were coming back in time to attend a New Years ball at the German Embassy. The invitations had come directly from the German ambassador himself.

The girls and I had been planning to go ever since we had returned from the last food delivery to the refugee camp. Vicky, Robin and Rachael had talked up the Ambassador’s ball and the dancing so much that all my mates had been taking lessons every chance they could.

Vicky, Ching Lee, Lorrie, Marcy and Jenny found out they were going to have to make all the embassy visits required by contract due to my 6 month White House job. They worked with Andy to find someone to accompany them to the fancy parties and be a bodyguard at the same time.

Now with the death threats that could be extended to all of us, it would now be multiple bodyguards for most things.

To find single men in Andy’s group who were fluent in various languages ball room dance was a challenge. We decided on single because we did not want to cause marital problems at home for them. The girls would be gone weeks at a time and have to attend numerous parties and embassy shindigs.

All women have a jealous bone in them that will come out sooner or later. Just ask any married man. The ‘in the line of duty’ would only work so long before there were issues.

In the end Lorrie, Marcy and Jenny ended up with married men. Jenny was still not sure she wanted to do the embassy visits. I had a feeling that Jason and Lisa would end up doing her visits.

This New Year’s ball was going to be a test run of the dancing lessons and dry run on the extra diplomatic training the girls and their partners were given by the State Department. We were not going to miss this ball for anything.

The following week there was another ball at the German Embassy for Ambassador Schmitt and the group coming from Uganda. The girls and I had already taken Rachel for a new fancy dress. She was growing by leaps and bounds in all directions; she was a beautiful young lady. If Aric was smitten by her intelligence before, the beauty should catch his eye now.

Shopping for her dress was the cover story allowed the girls and I to shop, adding to our own wardrobe. The very expensive dress was going to be a Christmas gift from us to keep her parents at bay.

We were not changing our schedule because of the threats. I had made that clear in the meeting last night.

Harry had tired of standing and someone behind the divider had brought him a chair to sit on.

I answered questions for another hour to the group. Then the reporters wanted short one on one interviews. Before each one started, there was a still picture session. I guess every reporter had a scrap book of all the VIPs they had had interviews with over their career. In my book I would never be a VIP, but if it made them happy so be it.

When I was finished we were all like old friends and promised to come speak to them again, when I had things that were newsworthy that I could talk about.

Harry and I walked the hall to the Oval Office, “When they get feisty again, I know who to call,” Harry replied as he made his turn.

In Section 12 the press room interviews were playing on ZNN while I was packing up to leave. Ed and Bill were to be 30 minutes early today, another change to keep everyone looking off guard.

Greg Archer came in while I was finishing packing up, “We like the gun, that thing is just plain wicked on full auto. I have no doubt that it will do as you say. We checked about ordering some, but there is a six months backlog.”

“How many do you want?” I asked.

“We would like to have at least 10 for right now to put on the detail and more to train with. Do you have a source?” he replied.

“I will check to see how many we have; I know I can bring you some. How many belt clips do you want? I assume you have plenty of 9mm ammo,” I replied.

“Whatever you think,” Greg replied.

“Five hundred to a bag, five thousand to a case; I will bring a case,” I replied.

Ed and Bill with the four Suburban’s were on time. The media was staked out at the gate. I gave them a wave as I rode by.

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Chapter 495

Robert played the calls several times for me. There was no doubt they were serious about killing me; they were down to details and had information that only the terrorists would have known. The calls were not a random spur of the moment threat by someone who was upset for the day.

We had ordered supper from the gym refreshment center. Cindy brought it down with an entourage. Ben, Frank and Eric along with a half dozen men from the secret service; they were here to pick up the phone information.

I listened as they were played again. Robert already had all the data and phone recordings on DVD for them.

“Robert, you know what I want as soon as you get caught up on things?” I replied.

“Yes I know; we will start tracking them tomorrow. I hired five friends from the MSP unit we used to work with; Jason and Jenny know them well. They will fit right in. They are all former military; understand things we do, the confidentially we need and know they may have to look the other way at times,” Robert replied.

“MSP is not happy with us taking their best people but they will get over it,” Robert said.

The EIT would have 15 people plus clerks after the new hires. They had been the best of the best and I hoped that more expansion would not interfere with that.

Robert handed me back my smarter than smart phone, it had passed the scan and tests he had run on it. Just as he did, a text from officer Ben-David lit up.

“Given the current situation, there is a special freight delivery from Tel Aviv arriving tomorrow morning at Morton Field. Mechanics say it will only take a day to install. Hardware will be included in a false bottom of shipping containers; handle gently,” he suggested.

I wondered what the hell that was all about.

“OK; you have my interest piqued, will be looking forward to the surprise; thanks, BJ.”

I forwarded the text to Robbie so he would know it was coming, after I took the gibberish off.

As the Secret Service left for Washington Frank, Eric, Ben, Vicky and Ching Lee left for Morton Field to meet the Doc with an escort. Tamerl El-Hassan was going to answer questions for Eric and then join his fellow terrorists. Vicky and Ching Lee took my bag tools I had used on Saif. I wonder if I had created two monsters.

With Marcy, Jenny, Lorrie, Jason, Ed and Bill we planned out tomorrow’s trip to Washington and back. Each day was going to be planned out the night before. We talked for two hours before coming up with a plan we all agreed on.

Later tonight we girls were going to have another talk, the kind most people put off until it was too late; the what-if for the worst case scenarios. We girls already had wills; they all said the same thing. If one died their stock and wealth were divided 7 ways; the other 5 girls and now the 2 boys. Now we needed to plan in case all 6 of us perished at one time; unthinkable before, but now a possibility.

It was 2200 when Vicky and Ching Lee came back. Eric, Frank and Ben had been gone 45 minutes they said. Tamerl El-Hassan was being turned into ashes.

“We put him into the furnace alive so he will know what hell will be like when he gets there,” Vicky said.

“We have a mason jar to add to your collection,” Ching Lee added.

We had the meeting that no one wanted, when we finished Jenny had a page of notes that would be turned into legal documents tomorrow. In the event we were all killed Dad, Jason, Jake and Jeanna De Stone – Marcy’s mother – would assume control of the company. Robert Alderman – our in-house IRS specialist – would work tomorrow with the girls, figuring out how things should be done from a tax prospective.

We were departmentalized and with our system of administrative assistants and clerks, there should be minimal interference in operations. Everybody knew their job and what needed to be done. We had planned it that way from the beginning.

Dad, Jake, Jeanna and Jason would all need to attend the next few meetings to get how we did things in their head. A trip to the armory at Morton to explain the two huge gun safes full of cash; the how, the why and the what-nots of it was in order.

Our private time tonight was more than special, the hugging, the tenderness, the love and the reality of what could happen drew us closer together. Our bond to each other only grew stronger. Make no mistake; if they killed one of us they better make sure they killed all of us. Revenge never leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

At 0600 the four Suburban’s headed west to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Today I was in the second one. Rule number one: do not start a routine in security, change will save your life. Last night I was third in the procession.

As we turned onto the highway two MSP and a Transit authority police cars was waiting.

“They are going to take us all the way to 1600. You cannot see it but the Black Hawk is overhead. Both of the mini Gatling guns were mounted last night with 25000 rounds in the rack. If they try anything, they are in for a world of hurt,” Ed said.

The media was not in front of the White House this morning; as cold as it was, they were camped out at the parking gate. The four Suburban’s drove up to the gate and stopped.

“Ed, I need to get out here and at least make a short statement,” I said.

“Good morning, it’s to damn cold to talk out here, meet me at 0900 in the press room. I will make a statement for you,” I said.

All the men and ladies assumed a barrier around me as we walked to the White House entrance. There 10 Secret Service agents met us. I took off the heavy body armor and helmet and handed it to Ziva Soyfer – the former Mossad officer – who was always at my side now.

Ziva and Abra Lehrer – another one of the former Mossad – seemed to take a special interest in me. When I was around, they were at my side or close by.

Ed handed the keys to my Suburban to one of the agents, “I trust you will park it in a very secure area,” he said.

“You can be sure of that after yesterday’s show of force and snatch, there is a new security protocol this morning. No-one wants an ass chewing like that anymore,” the agent replied.

Greg Archer – the first Secret Service agent I had dealings with on the first day – was looking over the guns many of the team were carrying.

“What the heck is that thing,” he asked.

“FM-9 conversion mini machine gun; 9mm belt fed with 500 rounds in the bag. It is a street sweeper on steroids. Our tests show that it is the best small weapon to stop the mobile IED if you see it in time. On full auto it shoots fast enough and hits hard enough with no reloading so you stay on target to stop one in its tracks,” I replied.

“OK, looks better than anything we have for the size. We need to try one out, have you got an extra one we can test today?” he asked.

“Get BJ in the building,” Ed replied as the agents walked me inside.

“I’ll get you one and a spare belt; recover the belt clips and you can reuse them several times. It is semi or full auto and has a selector like an M16,” Ed said as he showed Greg how to load, where things were and wrote down the serial number.

Section 12 was full as soon as the coffee smell made its rounds. I was going to start coffee and then head to the Oval Office with a full thermos; I did not get the chance. The President and all his staff came in.

There was a lively conversation that lasted an hour.

I asked Troy if the press room was available to give the folks that had stood outside in the cold this morning the press conference I had promised.

“There are two different press groups; the primary one has the press passes for all the presidential briefings and use of the press room. The secondary groups hover outside to catch a few news stories and alert their counter parts in the press room of VIPs coming into the White House in the front entrance,” he said then added.

“If you bring the outside group in and give them a press conference in the elite’s space you are going to start a turf war,” he said.

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing. Run the elites out and bring the outside group in. I try to keep my promises. Have you got an agent that you can send to the Donut Hut down the street for a dozen assorted boxes and 6 gallons of coffee in time?” I said then I added.

“If I going to start war I want it to be a big one,” I said as I was counting out 200 dollars from my pocket clip.

“I don’t need that; they deliver and put it on an expense account. It will be a big war. I’m going to enjoy watching this; call it payback time that I had nothing to do with. I’ll send an aide to move them out at 0815 and have the outside group in by 0845.”

I stood in the wings with Troy watching as the kitchen staff put out the donuts and coffee at 0845 for the outside group who were now inside with their camera people.

The elite group were on the other side of the glass in the overflow room with an agent with a donut and cup of hot java at the door. Of course he went out of his way to demonstrate how good the donut and coffee was. The overflow room had a speaker so that everything said in the press room could be heard.

At 0900 I walked out and poured myself a cup and sat on the platform that the podium was on. No power play image, I was the same level as they were. The elite group was livid and let it be known as the agent shut the door.

“It’s a lot warmer in here. Who wants to go with the first question? I ask that you identify yourself and the network or news organization you work for,” I said..

The inexperience of the outside group was evident. They started outside in the cold rain and snow and if they made the right moves over years, they moved to the inside.

The questions were good. “Jill Smock WWDS channel 44; the death threats against you: what are your thoughts about them?”

“It tells me we have them by the gonads, right where it hurts and they are willing to do anything to take the pressure off their terrorist organization. We are doing the right things; we are hurting them,” I replied.

“Shree Odell WITV Richmond; Ambassador, these threats are serious; are you afraid? I would be scared to death.”

“Afraid no, cautious yes – I have been shot several times. I don’t run; it is not in my nature. We are all going to die someday. You are not going to get out of this world alive and we are not going to get to choose the time or the place. When it does happen, I just want to go quick, no suffering.”

“Becky Griffin Universal News wire; just how serious were the threats? The White House spokesman detailed the locations by where they came from – which were bad – but not the threats themselves.”

“Serious enough that they put a million dollar gold and silver bounty on my head,” I replied. The overflow room went crazy with that tidbit.

That was news that had not been shared publically before. The elites were upset and noisy again; their fancy communication devices and shortcuts to their bosses were in this room, off to the side. The best they could do was cell phone. This group was live.

“Scott Ortel Metropolitan Media; a lot of people have died and a lot have been arrested. Do you have an idea in the big picture where the task force is, say 20%, 50%, 75% done in its work?”

“If I had to pick a number 20%; because of the continuous influx of new terrorists and terrorist sympathizers I don’t think we will ever get to 75%. We really don’t have a handle on how many diehards are here. It is going to take major changes in how the public views immigration, border control and a host of other changes. Until there is a successful mass causality terrorist attack, neither Congress nor the public will have the stomach to make those changes,” I said.

“Carol Bree WDMT channel 14; The equipment that the task force demonstrated at KCC and used at the 6 football games – from all appearances – was successful. Are final recommendations coming soon and is there a time line for installation?”

“It is still going through the evaluation process. You know how Washington works; slower than trying to pour cold molasses in the winter time, and it is cold out there. To be honest, the task force and most agencies have been overwhelmed with stopping the terrorist attacks. It is coming in time,” I replied.

The questions went on for another hour, finally “That’s all folks, help yourself to the coffee and donuts before you leave.”

I filled up my mug and made a few minutes of small talk with reporters, then motioned for the staff to remove all the coffee and donuts as everyone was ushered out.

I walked with Troy in the hall, “What time is the one for the main group?” he asked.

“There is no more, I only promised the one,” I replied.

“Oh, you are so going to get roasted. I love it. I can just hear the complaining to the spokesman at the afternoon briefing,” he replied as he walked towards the Oval Office and I turned towards the elevator for Section 12.

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Chapter 494

I started to open the door only to have it pulled open, then a hand on my shoulder almost dragging me out.

“Here, put this on,” it was one of the new body armor vests being held for me.

“Ed, what the hell is going on?” I asked.

“PUT IT ON,” he yelled. Even though I was wearing a different style under my shirt, I did not argue.

As soon as it on and secured, one of the helmets was shoved at me. Then I was hustled by both Ed and Bill to the right side and into the second row seat. Two of the Mossad ladies piled into the rear seat behind me, Ed into the seat beside me and another Mossad in the right front seat.

“Go, Go, Go,” Ed shouted. They were wearing ear wicks. The Suburban lurched as tires were squealing.

“Where are your phones? Turn them off and take the batteries out,” Ed directed.

“Ed, what the hell is going on?” I asked as I was dealing with the phone instructions.

“There were 2 assassination and 2 death threats against you called into the office today. Robert has been working on the numbers. One call was from a satellite phone that was one number different from the Prince’s. Two of the others numbers were in the inactive numbers off Saif’s phone,” Ed replied.

“Why wasn’t I told earlier?” I asked.

“You were as safe as possible as long as you were in the White House, it gave us time to plan and organize. The White House will not supply the kind of security we are going to,” Ed replied.

“But a VIP Charlie response on the White House grounds with FM-9 machine guns?” I replied.

“As John Wayne would say, this audacious display of fire power may cause some less intelligent person to think twice about trying anything,” Ed replied.

A JBG security ‘VIP Charlie’ response protocol required that everyone on the team to exit the vehicle any time the vehicle stopped, shoulder the weapons and scan all directions. It required no less than four JBG security guards at all times and that the individual wear class A body armor.

A ‘Delta’ response was the highest and that response required that any vehicle movements be monitored by one of our choppers.

JBG has been doing two or three personal protection details a month since we had provided the security for the political debate. Since the terrorist attacks escalated and new violent opposition to anything sensible, it was two or three a week.

Under Ching Lee and Vicky’s guidance they had expanded by covering very wealthy clients, foreign dignitaries, Senators and Representatives. I no longer knew some of the people working in security other than they were all ex-military and very muscular.

I hit the control to turn on the little 10 x 10 flat screen TV – they were used to pacify kids on long trips by playing DVDs – this one also had satellite connection. I turned on ZNN; the media was always watching who came and went into the White House parking area.

“BREAKING NEWS; Now to Melinda Schaffer at the White House; Melinda what happened?”

“Ambassador Jones was hustled from the White House parking exit by a heavily armed group. Was she kidnapped or arrested? No one seems to know. A shaken Secret Service is scrambling to find answers of an event that happened before their eyes in just 90 seconds. The assistant Chief of Staff is to address the media in minutes.”

“Melinda, you witnessed the event, we are going to run the clip for you. What stands out?” the news desk asked.

“The speed in which it was done in and the aggressiveness was troubling. It looks like they dragged the Ambassador out of the driver’s seat and almost threw her into a back seat and took off. They had a lot of people there.”

Ed handed me a phone, “Robert transferred your contact list to a new phone. He wants to check out the one you have before it is used again.”

“I need to call Troy before he goes on the air.”

“Snyder.”

“Troy, BJ I’m OK,” I said.

“I’m with the President. Let me put you on speaker; what the hell is going on?”

I explained what I had been told.

“You should have told us, we could have provided security,” the President said.

“They didn’t even tell me until I was in the back seat of the Suburban. I plan on being there in the morning; I will know more and we can discuss the options then,” I replied.

Troy made the address to overflowing media room; short and sweet.

“There were 2 assassination threats and two death threats phoned into the JBG home office of Ambassador Jones today. Two of the calls came from the inactive call list on Saif Alawai al-Jawfi’s phone and one was from a satellite phone. Given the connections, her security division is taking them very seriously as you saw. ”

“The Ambassador tells me the activity you saw today was one of the JBG security team’s advanced levels of VIP protection. The Secret Service, FBI and DHS are on the way to the JBG offices to review the data of the calls,” Troy said. Then he added, “I have 5 minutes for questions.”

“Marley, you get to go first today.”

“Thank you Troy, given the distance BJ has to travel and exposure levels, has any consideration been given to allowing her work from her JBG offices in light of today’s developments?”

“I’m sure that topic will come up in discussions tomorrow. I do know that JBG has a state of the art command center with elaborate communications systems for their security division,” Troy replied.

“Melinda.”

“Will there be a review of procedures and policies by the Secret Service after Ambassador Jones was whisked away off White House grounds so quickly, before the service could respond?”

“Things will be looked at, you can count on that. You have to remember, those were professionals and they train continuously to do that sort of thing. Maybe they should train the service on how to respond; I’m sure they have a response plan to prevent the very thing they did,” Troy replied.

The news conference was over. I flipped the screen up and out of the way and began questioning Ed.

“Being we haven’t been surrounded by a hundred cop cars, I am assuming that there must have been some kind of contact with the police agencies?”

“Jenny and Jason made the calls, there were 2 DC cops further back that you didn’t see and we are picking up the MSP at the line. Shortly thereafter the transit authority is to escort us over the bridge. One of the Blackhawks with the mini gun is flying cover as soon as we get out of Reagan’s air space,” Ed replied.

“Damn, those calls must have really said something to kick everything up to this,” I replied.

“Very precise and detailed, you and your teams have killed and arrested too many of their fighters. You are now the number one target! They even put a bounty on you; one million dollars in gold and silver,” Ed said.

“There is to be a video tonight on the site they are using for news releases, they even gave the time as 1900,” Ed said.

“The girls must be fit to be tied,” I replied.

“Determined and mad as hell is more like it; East Coast is coming tomorrow to install more of everything. The road to Morton will now have a manned guard shack – and for a while – guards at your house. All travel will be in convoy. You are not facing this alone,” Ed said.

I watched though the window as the DC police cruisers dropped off and the MSP took their place. A few minutes later a couple from Transportation Authority were alongside.

I didn’t consider myself to be worth all this fuss and was afraid it was just beginning.

I called Troy back and filled him with the little more I knew.

The driver drove the Suburban into the garage where the girls were waiting. I wondered if I should be ready to duck and run as I stepped out of the Suburban.

“How does it feel to be snatched?” Vicky asked before they all broke out laughing in a no laughing matter.

“Like I was snatched; you’re all going to get the wet noodle treatment tonight. Scare me half to death,” I replied as I was taking off the heavy vest.

“I want to hear those calls, then get something to eat. We have a lot of people coming.”

“Ed, please pass on a well done and thank you to all your people; we need the same thing both ways tomorrow,” I said.

“Vicky, are the Doc and the questioners still coming to the camp tonight?” I asked.

“Yes, everything is still on,” she replied.

“Ed, have a couple of your people follow Vicky and Ching Lee to the camp then do perimeter security duty. It is a classified operation they are doing; need to know only,” I said as we stepped into the elevator.

“Yes Ma-am.”

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Chapter 493

With the folders on the rear seat I made the drive to Washington. Traffic was always heavy and was getting heavier as the date moved closer to Christmas.

I guess the word was out to the transit authority who I was or what kind of vehicle I drove, or else someone in the office had flagged my easy pass. Almost every morning and evening one of their officers pulled up beside me, hit the light package then waved or gave me thumbs up and then drove on.

I started coffee and then sat at the big meeting table with the copy of the files, a hi-lighter and a pack of small sticky notes to mark pages.

I was doing that when the rest of the force came in. I started checking off the things that looked interesting and marking the pages.

“What are you working on?” Emmett asked.

“The data off of the computers we brought back from West Virginia; hasn’t the DHS tech department sent you their break-out yet?” I asked.

“I don’t have anything in my mail box. I’ll call them,” he replied.

I worked another hour on what I had, then found several interesting things.

One was interesting enough that I emailed Special Agent Patrick Pine of the DHS Charleston office; ‘Have you interviewed or arrested, or searched the property of Balthazar Khamini?”

The second name in was noted as coming from New York so I had Emmett call the DHS assistant director there for an update on Raed Jabbour.

“He is not on any watch list,” Emmett replied.

“I found a note that indicated that he and Balthazar Khamini each picked up 4 of the new suicide belts on the Monday before the raid,” I said.

“The Balthazar Khamini entry has Washington DC written off to the side. We need to find him,”

Kathy Shellman responded, “I will issue search and seizure warrants for them and put out a national all points bulletin to pick them up.” Kathy was the special prosecutor assigned from the Justice Department to the task force.

Finally Emmett replied, “DHS IT says they have not broken through the codes yet on the computers.”

“Well we can’t afford to waste time. What’s on those computers is on these thumbs. Do not send the files outside of this office. I want to compare what your IT finds to my group, each of you take one and run it on a flat screen if you see something interesting yell so we can all look at it.” I said as I slid the thumbs out on the table.

“Eric, where are the computers you collected from the New York raid?” I asked as soon as he answered the phone.

“The IT department has them; I haven’t seen any reports about what was on them,” Eric replied.

“Eric run an investigation on your IT group; something’s not right,” I replied.

“Why do you say that?” Eric replied.

“Because my people broke the encryption and did translations yesterday on the ones we had. Why are your experts so slow? Is someone intentionally delaying or are they scrubbing as they go?” I replied.

“Both camps were communicating with each other; the encryption should have been the same for that to happen. It may be complicated but apparently it’s not that complicated,” I said.

I wondered just how far into our government and how high into the intelligence areas ISIS, Al-Qaida and the other terrorist groups had made it?

At ten Troy called to tell me I was needed for a meeting in the Oval Office.

When I walked into the Oval Office Troy, AG Dunne, Eric’s counter part that had direct responsibility for the border patrol, Nelson Lewis and General Garcia were sitting around the President’s fancy desk. There was one empty chair for me.

For two hours the discussion centered on terrorism, illegal immigration, the illegal drug trade and cooperation between the two border control groups. There was a long discussion about direct communications and we finalized an agreement to form joint patrols on both sided of the border in sixty days. There was also an agreement for a direct line between the two border departments.

We worked until lunch was announced. I was going back to Section 12 but was stopped by the President. “BJ, please join us; we can continue informal discussions.”

Well I guess I would find out if my table etiquette was up to this level. The appetizer was crab soup. The real meal was blackened flounder, with apple pie a la mode for desert.

An extra hour in the gym tonight to offset that meal was going to be required, maybe more.

When I returned to Section 12 there was news, they had found an entry in the accounting page from the Moorefield training center for an ongoing rental unit payment.

DHS Pine from Charleston was sending two agents to the rental company with a warrant. Agent Pine called as soon as the agents reported in.

Ten of the twenty new vests were in boxes and the ten unaccounted for 155mm artillery shells were in there. It was a little bit of relief.

There were also some horrifying upsetting items in the locker. There were ten still sealed canisters marked IRG (Islamic Revolutionary Guard) Sarin with the skull and crossbones in black. There were another ten marked VX; both were very deadly warfare agents, along with five more marked Ricin.

This was a major escalation in the terror war. The fear for a long time was for terrorists to acquire nuclear materials to make a dirty bomb. There was so much nuclear material at power plants, hospitals and research facilities – with poor security and record keeping – that it was a concern.

That was one of the features of the Yucca Flats storage site; get it in one very secure location. Politics had ended that and now it was just everywhere. Many of the sites were easily located on Google.

With the discovery of those chemical weapons I made the walk back to the Oval Office. It was best that kind of news was delivered personally to the President.

He was in a meeting, Troy met at the door and I explained the information and then explained it to the President. The discussion turned to if the White House press corps needed to be called.

“Mr. President, wait until we have confirmation; better to be a little late than to be wrong with this and have to retract. I do have pictures you can use,” I said as I showed them to him.

The chemical warfare disposal group from Aberdeen Proving Grounds was already on the way by helicopter. They were the zombie guys in the white sealed suits. Once they determined for sure what it was and that it was stabilized and transportable, it would be placed in special sealed containers that were on the way by truck. The area was closed off until they got there.

Just when I thought we were making progress it seemed to take three steps back and this was a big step back.

My group stayed at the files the rest of the afternoon. We found no more information in today’s search; there was always tomorrow. I called the DHS office at Rochester

I explained what had been found. “Cross check all rental storage units against the names of all the dead and ones in custody. Also check to see if there was any storage available to them at the apartment complex,” I said to the assistant Director.

It was time to leave for home. I could use some time in the tub and gym to relax.

I had just come through the security gate to the highway from the White House parking lot. The agent had barely closed it behind me and was watching, when three Suburban’s blocked me in; men in gear and machine guns jumped out, “Get out of the truck now!”

What the hell is going on?

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Chapter 492

At 1245 legislators were coming in for the briefing and going through the display area. I was sitting at table beside the podium working the laptop. Robert was hitting me with email after email with attachments; some of them were distressing.

In a big video file it showed Saif and his two helpers working on a new deadlier suicide vest. It was a ‘How to build an improved suicide vest’ video professionally edited. The 200 pipes were on the work bench.

They had been to a machine shop somewhere and had shallow scores cut both vertically and horizontally. It showed them screwing and tightening one cap then a paper sleeve was centered. They alternated putting small pieces of steel, bolts nuts small washers cut into ¼ sections around the outside of the tube and carefully filling the tube with TNT.

When the pipe was filled to the brim a detonator was installed. To me, the detonator looked like a model rocket igniter. The wires were fished through a hole in the cap and then the cap securely tightened. They did all 200 pipes the same way the video showed then stacked them on the work bench.

Then they fastened 10 pipes to a very wide leather belt, three on each side and four on the back. Once fastened in place the wiring was completed. The only thing lacking was the battery.

The shallow cuts turned the pipe into hundreds of pieces of small shrapnel in addition to what they packed inside. Normally when a pipe filled explosive charge is detonated, the pipe splits at its weakest point. The violent expansion of the gases would carry the ingredients out through the split. Usually the pipe was recovered from the blast site in just a few pieces

The new modifications meant more shrapnel for the doctors to remove from survivors and more dead.

The final scenes in the file were the 20 belts being boxed up in cardboard boxes along with the batteries.

The ones we had interrogated had only told us part of their future plans and carried the rest to their grave.

I hoped that Robert’s group could come up with names and locations where the belts went. As meticulous as the record keeping seemed to be I was confident something could be found.

I wondered about such detailed record keeping; was the Prince demanding that kind of accountability for his money?

Searches were being conducted in New York and West Virginia. The houses, cars, electronics, rental storage and places of employment of every individual dead or alive that were at the centers, were getting the most thorough search ever conducted.

On top of that all the family members were going to be interviewed in an interrogation room as possible co-conspirators.

I called Howie and told him that in about an hour we would be ready for him to do his thing.

I saw the President and his staff come in and head for the display area. With him was the head of Mexico’s Federal Police force General Fernando Garcia. I walked over to give the President, his guest and his staff a guided tour of the displays.

No one said a word but the President’s staff stayed at arm’s length. After the tour I did the same program as I did for the law enforcement. I added the new video of the new vest construction and an explanation.

For the next hour I answered questions with the help of several members of the task force, this time.

Some of the questions were out in left field and some were truly serious about our findings.

While I was doing the Q&A I sent 2 Secret Service and two FBI agents out to the Suburban to confirm that it was an armored unit.

Finally I announced we have one live fire demo. I asked the agents if the Suburban was indeed armored; they confirmed that it was. I just wanted it known among this group.

Howie ran the motorized IED towards the Suburban. Then he stopped it to make the final wiring connection after it was away from the building.

Watching the mounted camera image on the computer, Howie ran the thing under the right side and hit the trigger.

I watched an armored Suburban, very similar to the one I drove and every armored Suburban in the GSA motor pool, disintegrate before our eyes. The doors were blown off, windows blown out, the roof opened like a tin can.

“Mr. President; the Beast (the nickname for the presidential limo) has the same armor package that was in that Suburban,” I said.

“Ladies and gentleman, you have just witnessed the next level of terror coming our way and I believe they were designed specifically to target and kill you. Security measures must be revised and enhanced immediately.”

“There are ten and possibly as many as thirty unaccounted for. As of today we believe six of these units are already in Washington DC and four in New York City.”

“This conference is over,” I said as I closed down my equipment. Agents began carting the display items into the secure evidence lock up.

“Good job Howie,” I said as we watched the fire team struggle to extinguish the burning Suburban.

Frank Eric, Marty Coeburn, Troy, the President, General Garcia and as many as ten Senators were coming my way as a group.

“Let’s go to the executive meeting room; it will be a little quieter,” Marty said.

A separate meeting room for executives must be nice I thought; I could see Marcy’s expression at that.

For the next hour people that understood the complicated relationship the US had with Mexico discussed cooperation between our countries against terrorism and a host of other international issues.

Most of the international things I had lightly covered in my research as Ambassador but I listened and learned. I made pages of notes and questions that I could ask the right people later.

We had one more thing to do and that was the news conference. I was coming to dread the word news conference. Maybe the VIPs would hog the spotlight with Garcia here.

It did not happen that way. I spoke for a third of the conference and was called back to the podium twice.

After it was over Troy approached me carefully, “You are invited to the state dinner for Garcia tonight if you want come. For the record I objected to the changes today.”

“Yes, I know you did; we will discuss the issue at length tomorrow. I have too many things to do, you can have my share of the food,” I replied.

My phone never quit dinging all afternoon; there were emails and text coming in. Things were happening at New York and West Virginia.

The most important thing was the forensics people were done at all seven of the centers. I called all seven contractors and gave the approval to demolish the sites Wednesday making them a clear lot. Baltimore was going to be pissed all over again.

Very large contractors had been hired because they guaranteed they had equipment and the man power and could do the job in one day.

I was going to have a memorial stone placed at each site and the lot planted in grass. There would be no gathering place to encourage and motivate would be terrorists.

With Ching Lee and Vicky riding home with me, there was lively conversation that broke the doom and gloom mood I had been in most of the day.

Robert and his team had long gone home; his last text said that he left a hard copy folder on my desk of things he thought important and the complete electronic version on thumb drives taped to the folder. I would take it with me to Washington tomorrow.

Tonight was family, hot tub, beer and boys. Jenny had carried them to the docs for checkups today and had a lot of things to tell me.

It was time for a few days off. The point was driven home today when I realized I was addressing every text as, ‘Now what’ when my smarter than smart phone went ding.

Monday night I spent with Lorrie; warm, cuddly, passionate and slept like a baby. Even the wake up was refreshing and exhilarating.

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Chapter 491

Monday morning Ching Lee, Vicky, Howie and I were at the FBI proving grounds at 0700. I took Ching Lee because of her being over the college security division and Vicky because she was over the embassy security division. They needed to see what they would eventually be up against.

Howie, on the other hand, was going to demonstrate how effective the motorized IED was. The batteries to operate it were fully charged. Another battery was attached to power the wireless camera he had attached to it. Howie could watch the laptop to get perfect positioning. The right side of the rear drive shaft between the front and second seat should have the best effect.

The proving grounds was huge, it had a huge auditorium the FBI and DHS used for enforcement seminars. The outside grounds were also huge; MRAPS and Humvees were off to the side waiting for the President to change the regulations so more police departments could qualify to get them.

I expected that after the last few weeks that change could come any day.

For the next 2 and a half hours, displays were set up by various federal agencies. The CIA was going to be absent; they were not supposed to be involved in anything domestic.

Every item on display was tagged evidence with location found, date and all the other information in case it was needed for a trial.

I took the last half hour to walk down all the tables and made notes so I could give a speech. I also took my tablet and took pictures so I could put together a slide show. The surviving vests from Minnesota were on one table – deactivated of course. Then there were the remnants of vests from the Arizona University attack. Over a hundred people had died in those two attacks.

Stacked on separate tables were all the collected vests, guns and ammunition from the six learning centers. On another set of tables were the heavy machine guns that had come from Mexico.

There was another row of tables from the raids Friday containing all the guns and explosives, artillery shells, including the ones that had been emptied of TNT, and the brass lathe to remove the TNT from the shells.

There were 3 separate tables with different IEDs and the remote control trucks that had been modified to position them under a vehicle.

The DEA had three pallets of drugs on display; the 440 pounds we had brought back from Mexico plus more that had been seized in the raids.

The vehicle was here that Howie was going to demonstrate the device on; Island Towing had brought the Suburban that had been hit in the front end with an RPG at Windhoek. The C5 had brought it back along with other freight.

The passenger compartment was intact and undamaged; the firewall armor had done its job. The front end was another story; the engine was blown apart, it had taken the direct hit. All the sheet metal was blown away, even the front frame was bent and twisted; it was junk and would be even more so in a few hours.

Marcy had a rule she used with things like that; if repairs were going to cost 50% or more of the current value then it was junked.

At 0930 all the invitees started filing in, a lot more than I was expecting. The schedule I had said this was for Congress, the White House staff and senior federal law enforcement. None of these people were from the hill.

What I did not know was that Attorney General Dunne had bowed to political pressure and changed the program Friday after the raids started. From 1000 till 1200 was for national law enforcement. The police departments were screaming they were being left out of the loop with so much terrorism and so many hi-level raids taking place.

State, city police commanders, governors and sheriffs had all been invited. The invites had gone out labeled as an emergency informational meeting concerning terrorism. There were more than a thousand of them coming I was told.

Of all things I was not on the email nor was I informed of the changes and no one else on my committee was either – the way it looked – because there had been no discussion when we talked about the time.

I was pissed; more was going to happen on that when I got certain people alone. Although, I could disappear and let the addressee handle things. I called my task force together to see for sure what they knew. None of them admitted to knowing anything about any changes.

“I did not agree to give two separate presentations today. We are going back to Section 12, we have important work to do work to do there that was going to get done before the Congressional meeting. That won’t get done now, we can come back for the second presentation.”

The Congressional delegations, the President and other federal officials were going to attend from 1300 to 1500; that was the group I was to address.

I found Howie and told him not to arm the motorized IED, that it was not going to be used until 1300. “Go get my Suburban and pack it up until then,” I directed.

My Suburban and the rides for my people were parked in the side parking lot.

Frank, Eric and Marty Coeburn knew me well enough to know something was up and came to find out what was going on.

Explain I did and finished with, “I was told this was to be a controlled group of intelligence rated individuals only. They should have been the first to see this; you know how the pecking order works. There are things that the world need not know about for a few more weeks on the tables and now look at it. What a screwed up mess.”

“The President may very well have my resignation before the end of the day, screw-ups like this are going to get people killed,” I said loud enough that numbers of people turned and looked. Then I added, “Find all the people that screwed this up and let them give the presentations.”

“Wait a minute, let me make some phone calls and see if I can find out what happened. It’s not as bad as you think, if anyone else was running the show they would have released most of this days ago so they would look important. As far as Congress is concerned, you did not make this call; someone else will take the blame,” Eric said.

“Go get a cup of coffee and finish writing your presentation; you know you have to be the one to give this. You are the only one even remotely qualified to be able to tie all this together,” Eric added.

Frank called while Eric was talking to me, “Troy, somebody from your group kicked the Lioness and she is pissed off as all hell and may be headed your way. Somebody is in for one major ass kicking when she gets there.”

I guess I had a nickname behind closed doors; at least it wasn’t a bad one.

Frank explained to Troy what our conversation had been about and explained my position.

I did as Frank suggested. I got two cups of coffee; found a table to work at and started turning notes into sentences and paragraphs. It was a good thing I had my portable office with me and the DVD of the testing Saif and his group had done. I could review the last couple of them and pick the best of the final product.

Vicky and Ching Lee made a PowerPoint from the pictures on the tablet and put them in a file on a thumb drive.

This could be a disaster with no time to give it a test run.

The rest of the personnel were out watching the tables to make sure no one got antsy and wanted to play with things. I had instructed my people to place signs everywhere stating no cell phone pictures at all and to enforce it.

With five minutes to spare, an FBI agent brought me several papers; they had traced the serial numbers from the artillery shells. They supposedly were sent from the Army weapons storage depot in West Virginia to Aberdeen Proving grounds for life cycle testing.

All explosives, rockets, missiles, bombs – even some types of bullets – have a storage life. Along the way to that end they lose their effectiveness and power. Aberdeen had random numbers based on age sent to them to test and determine when all of certain age or manufacture get removed from storage and destroyed.

Large missiles and bombs get tested at the Nevada proving grounds. Nuclear weapons reliability testing is done by computer through some secret process.

Now the big issue was to figure out how they got into the terrorists hands and why no one realized they were missing. There should have been a paper trail. Was it at the depot, in transit or Aberdeen?

One thing was disturbing on the papers; ten more shells were missing in the shipment than had been recovered at the terrorists shop. The shipment manifest stated two pallets of twenty-five shells, where were they? That was 300 pounds of TNT.

Robert may have supplied a partial answer in an email, “I have found where the Moorefield site purchased 200 1” x 6” pipe nipples and 400 caps four weeks ago and the by delivery receipts they received them.”

A quick check of the evidence list from there found no pipes or caps. That meant that there was possibly another twenty suicide vests unaccounted for and possibly more self propelled IEDs, both waiting in the wings to be used.

At 1000 I rapped on the podium, “Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. It is time to get this show on the road; it’s time to lock and load.”

“Hopefully the information presented here today will clear up a lot of questions in the process; I intend to bore you and make this the one miserable day you will remember for a life time,” I said.

“Take no pictures; make no recordings of this presentation.”

I started with the MU attack with the information we knew and went forward through the attack at Arizona.

Then I went into the six college planned attacks and the raids, the numbers and results. That led into Friday’s raids.

Then I went through the pictures of the evidence collected that were on the tables. The last piece was the DVD of the motorized IED.

Then I made a short statement that I knew would get attention.

“I believe that there are at least thirty suicide vests unaccounted for and there are ten to thirty of the motorized IEDs unaccounted for. I received information this morning that six of the motorized units may have been sent to Washington DC area and 4 to the New York City area.”

“The search goes on for the vests and the IEDs, and the fight against terrorism marches on.”

“We have a few minutes for questions. The food for lunch will be ready in twenty minutes.”

I had intentionally timed it so there would be little time for questions. I answered questions as fast as I could in the 20 minutes left.

The final question was “Ambassador Jones, I am assistant police chief Walter Grimes Baltimore city; the Baltimore city SWAT team was scheduled to participate in the raids and was abruptly canceled. Can you explain that sudden change?”

“Baltimore City; wow, you have my sympathy. I don’t think I can help you there short of dropping a nuclear bomb downtown and I live in the fallout area so that is out.”

“Lunch is served, everyone have a great lunch. I hate to rush you but remember you have to be finished and out of here by 1245. The classified briefing for the next group starts at 1300. Mr. Grimes, find me after you eat and I will answer your question, off the record,” I replied.

Frank and Eric met me as I stepped off the stage to get lunch with Vicky and Ching Lee, “Great job as usual.”

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Chapter 490

Saturday morning I gave Howie the entire set of DVDs, the IED parts and a thumb drive of pictures I had taken of the shop, including everything I had brought back for him to look at.

Robert and Burt were already in their intelligence center working on the computers.

As soon as Robert had copied all the drives from the computers, we loaded them into a waiting DHS SUV to go to their group which was doing the same thing Robert did.

Vicky and I went to feed Tamerl El-Hassan. Tamerl was not happy to be in jail and made it known. He wanted his government lawyer, NOW.

“You are in for a long wait,” I replied as I walked out.

We went to several outlets to start on Christmas shopping, as that was now just a few weeks away. We had been so busy that little had been done. There was a small Christmas tree in the living room for the boys.

We had taken both Suburbans. It was a good thing; the girls had decided that they wanted the offices decorated a little more than last year.

Lisa and Jason had carried the boys to the mall several times since Santa’s booth was in place. The boys were scared to death as most children were at that age; next year would be different.

It was three in the afternoon when Howie called me to meet him at Morton. We had just finished unloading the Suburban at the office.

All of us went to Morton to listen to Howie’s evaluation of the mobile IED. The technical detail was really over my head but I listened and tried to learn. When Howie finished there was no doubt that Saif was a master explosive expert and master bomb maker.

I asked Howie if the unit I had brought back was functional if TNT was added.

“Oh – yes, I have had it running all around,” he replied.

“Do you have any TNT to put in it to achieve the same results if I wanted you to do a live test demonstration on Monday?” I asked.

I wanted to do a little shock and awe for the congressional committees that were getting the closed briefing at the FBI proving grounds on the outskirts of DC. That was where all the evidence that had been collected was being stored. The evidence from the Friday’s raids was being sent there by truck today.

Monday morning my team was reporting to the proving grounds to help set up the displays with the four major groups, ATF, FBI, DHS, DEA and the task force. Show and tell was to start at 1300 with a major news conference at 1600, timed to hit all the early evening news shows.

“TNT is no problem; there is a case or two in the bunker with the C4,” he replied.

When we brought the things that Ben David had for us in Kampala, Lorrie insisted that we remove all the explosive things away from the Morton hangars.

I readily agreed. Howie found blueprints of explosive storage bunkers and Bobs Construction built one past the maintenance building with climate control, a blow off roof and everything.

I called Island Towing, “I have a job that has to be done 1st thing Monday morning.”

“Now, about the complete package, with the empty shell casings, the proficiency in the testing and the visual records they kept. After a review of the photographs, I believe there are ten completed units missing,” Howie said.

“Robert found a sales order where they purchased all the little trucks; that makes the numbers come close. It also makes the TNT amounts come close. Based on estimates there are twenty-two pounds of TNT unaccounted for. All this is based on the evidence you have. If they disposed of several shell casings then all the numbers are wrong.” Howie added.

“I’m hoping Robert can find a trail where they went,” I replied.

We returned to the office, the girls and I were going to decorate and then work out in the gym for a while.

We were nearly finished when Robert came into the gym.

“I think six of the missing toy IEDs went to Washington and four to New York. I will know more on Monday. Burt and I are going out of town tomorrow,” he said then added.

“The files are heavily encrypted, sometimes double or triple; the worst of any we have seen so far. This group had a new computer tech working for them; from the method of the encryption looks like DOD trained. You may want to look closely at everyone you captured at the site along with the dead to find out if they had any advanced computer training or connections to the DOD,” Robert said.

“OK, let me know Monday if you find anything. Thanks,” I replied.

Supper, boys, baths, family time and bed, tomorrow was going to be busy. With the boys sound asleep in their cribs we did touch and feel in the living room. We all missed basement play time more than we realized. It was time to clear the schedules and plan to spend next Friday night in the play room.

Mom and Dad were at the house at 0800 to watch the boys for the day. Mom had gotten more into the grandmother mode since the announcement of more grandchildren coming. I guess as my parents were getting older, family was growing more important.

Mom and Lisa always seemed to be together at our house watching the boys.

At 0930 I was setting in the makeup artist chair getting my face put on, as they liked to call it. I hated makeup and never used it; once you started using it became an addiction. The makeup girl was the same one that made me up the last time I was here. The hardware didn’t faze her this time.

One last trip to the bathroom and then the sound man wired me up for audio. The sound man was the one who was shaken when he reached inside my jacket to run the microphone wire and found my Glock.

At 1030 I was standing in the wings waiting for the introduction, listening to the opening music.

“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Sunday Morning Washington with Arthur Kennedy, Candy Brown and David Young.”

“Guests today are former Defense Department international expert on terrorism Cliff Wendell, former CIA terrorism advisor to the President Oliver Conley and Special guest Chairperson of the Presidents Terrorism Task Force Ambassador Roberta Jones.”

“Gentlemen, Ambassador welcome to the show today. Ambassador; do you have any idea how hard it has been going through channels to get you on the show?” Arthur asked.

“I have been quite busy the last few months,” I replied then I added. “It doesn’t look like it is going to slow down in the next couple of months.”

“The scuttlebutt is that there are people in the White House who – shall I say – have gained a kind of respect for your athletic abilities and tread lightly around you,” Candy replied.

“I don’t comment on scuttlebutt; but I think I am on good terms the staff of the President. Initially there were some misunderstandings due to a difference in personalities and philosophy. Those things were quickly corrected,” I replied.

“Mr. Wendell; as a DOD expert, are we getting better at stopping the terrorist threat from other countries?” David asked.

“The DOD is doing everything it can to eliminate the leaders of terrorist groups in the Middle East and Africa. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and the Haqqani Network have all paid a price. Taking out the leaders is helping. The Iranian Quds force in my opinion should be designated a terrorist organization as well.” Mr. Wendell replied.

“Do you agree with that assessment Ambassador?” David asked.

“The DOD is devoting a lot of resources to take out their leaders and other agencies are working hard to stop the terrorist financial support and communications; a lot of resources are being used in every agency,” I said.

“The problem is that as soon as you kill one rat there are others to replace him in a matter of hours. At one time we assumed killing leaders would slow them down; not any more. They have a chain of command that is well planned and organized, backup communications and they keep on planning and killing,” I said.

“Conley, you were advisor to the President and departed immediately after the announcement of the Task Force. Sources are reporting there were severe disagreements in the White House. Can you expand on that?” Candy asked.

“The administration began discussing a task force after the Minnesota attack and it was a heated one, after Arizona, all opposition to one ceased and I decided to leave,” Mr. Conley replied.

“I did not believe the task force was necessary at the time, I thought it was nothing but another layer of bureaucracy to slow things down and bring the things we were doing to a crawl.”

“And let me state for the record that opinion was obviously wrong in regards to the Task Force, under the Ambassador ‘s leadership. It has moved swiftly by taking names and kicking ass in the last few weeks. Ten major raids in the last two weeks and almost 300 arrested on Friday for terrorism or connected to terrorists; not to mention house cleaning in our own back yard. Three months ago people would have been happy with 30,” Mr. Conley said.

“Ambassador, the task force has been busy. What’s ahead? Are the raids and arrests over?” Arthur asked.

“No they are not over; more arrests and more raids, I’m sure, as we go through the information and interrogations,” I replied.

“Word is that there is a briefing Monday,” Candy said.

“There is a classified briefing for Congressional committees involved in law enforcement and terrorism before the public news conference at 1600,” I replied.

“You had hinted in the news conference on Friday that the new weapons the terrorists are developing were bad,” Arthur asked.

“They may be worse than bad; we are testing some of them Monday. The terrorists are one step ahead of us and have been from the very beginning. We are always going to be playing catch up. Just when you think you have seen everything, they come up with something new,” I said.

“Even more alarming now is we are training them. Many of their explosive experts have been to the best European and American colleges or military. The same is true with electronics, computer and communications people. They aren’t taking courses just to slide through for a degree; they are on a mission to learn the best ways to kill you and defeat the world of non- believers,” I said.

The questions and statements by the three of us – guest and the panel – continued for ninety minutes.

“One last thing before we close. Ambassador Jones, the White House released this picture this morning for us to use; would you give the story behind it?” Arthur asked as the picture was put on the cameras.

“Yes; that picture was taken the morning after the six raids. I had spent most of the night at the task force command center. The President suggested I stay in the Lincoln bedroom instead of sleeping for a couple of hours in an office chair.”

“I had finished dressing when the White House photographer wanted to take pictures. I was sitting at the antique roll up desk working on my phone when he came in.”

“My hardware was hanging on the back of the chair as you can see. The photographer thought it would be a great picture after the events of the previous night. I learned later I was the first visitor to have a weapon in the room since Ulysses Grant spent several nights during the Civil War.”

“There is a rumor this morning that a group has put your name out there as a possible candidate to replace retiring Senator Maynard Dill. Do you have a response for that?” Candy asked.

“I’m not a politician and have no desire to be one; I have far too much to do. I am simply not interested and I will not accept a draft,” I replied.

I was more than glad to hear the announcer call out next week’s guest and the panel sign off.

The sound man removed all the mikes while we were all talking – saying our farewells – when Cliff Wendell asked, “You didn’t really punch the Chief of Staff in the face, knocking him over a chair in the oval office, did you?”

“I have one hell of a right hook when I am mad,” I replied to astonished looks.

The girls and I went to a fancy restaurant in Washington – one of those that the President’s staff always talked about – while navigating through the paparazzi getting in. The food was not that spectacular but the price was over the top. The girls loved ordering food from the menu in French and we had a great time.

Senators Harrison and Whitby were there with their families; both came to simply say hello and that I had done a good job on the TV, and that they looked forward to my usual candid testimony before the Senate.

After the lunch we finished the afternoon shopping in the big Washington malls. Over all, it was a good day.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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