Book 2 Chapter 46

We left Morton at 0200 Monday morning. At one point I thought Lorrie and Ching Lee were going to back out of going. Saying goodbye to Sara and Takeo was hard on them and us. This was the first time they would be away this long.

Over the last few weeks they had both pumped enough breast milk ahead for ten days. Lisa, Jason, Mom and Dad were staying at our house to care for RJ, JJ, Sara and Takeo. Mindy was going to stop by to keep them company with her twins.

Saying goodbye to JJ and RJ was tough on all of us; we were going to miss them as well. But they had other things on their mind.

JJ and RJ were excited they were going to spend their days with Grandpa and Pop-Pop. Fishing and crabbing trips were planned along with exploring. Then they were going to look at some new farm machinery at the county fair and also there was the new boat Jason wanted to buy. The list went on and on to keep the little boys busy.

I wondered who was going to give out first – the old fogies or the young guns. I was betting on the old fogies as those two boys were solid balls of energy.

Dad and Jason quickly accepted that they would be accompanied by security when the boys were away from the house with them.

It was 1300 when we stepped out of customs without problems this time. The changes had already been made in the Portugal system. All we had to do was show our US passport and JBG ID badge and we went straight through.

There were plenty of Suburbans for us to get around in. The last two flights to Turkey had dropped off sixteen of them along with tons of other freight for the new training center. The early deliveries had been stored in the hangar at Lisbon International.

Most of it had made the move to the new complex. A lot of it was electronics for the command and communications centers that we had to build at the Pact countries. Two of Roberts’s men had been here almost from the beginning making sure the right cables were pulled to the right places.

It had taken two days to get the big satellite dishes updated and operating. The control linkages were frozen and the motors stuck but persistence had paid off. I was told the command center was close to being fully operational.

That was good news; I was getting leery of using the embassy for so much JBG business. No one had said anything yet but with all the rumored subpoenas I did not want to give Congress anything else to go looking at.

We had to buy space off one of the big communications satellites owned by a telecom giant for the time being. But that was soon going to end – there was a sixty day limit on the contract.

The DOD – in partnership with the CIA and DHS – was launching a new satellite to be stationed over the central mid-Atlantic. It was to aid DOD and other communications between Europe, Africa and the US.

It took some doing but I had bought a communications POD on the satellite for JBG use. I could never find out why they called it a pod. The satellite was one of those that stayed over the same location. It promised instantaneous communication with little or no ping time.

A twenty foot dish was being installed behind the 1001 Summers Lane corporate office to complete the loop. We would still use the CIA dish at Morton and the local cable at office until then.

The local cable was getting unreliable and slow. Robert had done some checking on them. The cable company had far more customers in the area than their equipment and cable was capable of handling with all the new demands place on the internet. To make matters worse, there were no plans to upgrade the local cable.

What they weren’t saying was that they were expecting the new 5G wireless systems to have a big impact on the cable business and were no longer willing to commit the money to rural and small market areas.

With those three we should never lose our ability to communicate anywhere anytime.

We rode from Lisbon International to Loures. It was twelve miles and twenty five minutes from the international airport. When we turned off the road into the drive we had to wait in line to go through the security gate.
Biff was using all the contractors to get all the security people up to speed looking at the people and vehicle checks – more of the OJT ‘on the job training’ so to speak. There were cameras mounted on the archway to look down into the back of dump trucks. There were two more to look at each side of the trucks.

I don’t know if I would have started this level of security at such an early stage in the process, but I was not going to criticize at this point.

Biff met us in the parking area by the command center. “Great to see you again. I am surprised to see all of you. You are just in time to watch the final test on the VCATS and MTAC systems. Rich and Horace say they have all the bugs worked out and are ready to go.”

“The cafeteria is up and running, hot coffee – the way you like it – is in the pot,” Biff said.

I should have known food and coffee were the first order of business for working men and that the cafeteria would be at the top of the list.

With hot cups of coffee we made our way to the command center. It was the original command center used by the Portuguese military with new equipment. Updating it to new equipment that was only beginning to make an appearance when the building was last in use must have been a daunting task for Rich and Horace.

The contractors had done an excellent job. There was big screen similar to the one at the office. The theater seating had been built on a very solid wooden platform and had top of the line executive seating with work space if needed.

Like the home office the big screen was surrounded by smaller flat screens. These were labeled for the Pact countries and would be active as control centers were established in those countries. There was a lot of negotiating left to do before all this could be active.

We took our seats and I instructed Rich to page Robert. Only seconds passed when the screen went live to the office. I asked Robert about the security of the transmission. I wondered if the link could be intercepted with another dish nearby.

“Very unlikely, unless they steal the code that is used in the first millisecond of the transmission. The feed is encrypted and then scrambled. A new encryption and code is used each time a call is opened on the senders end. The receiving end has to search through the originating coded sequence to determine the right codes to complete the conversation and it uses that until the call is terminated. That is the system that will be used in the Pact countries,” Robert said.

“What about other sites such as embassies, the State Department and the White House?” I asked.
“If it does not receive a code in the reply ping the system drops to the standard system. The system here will be upgraded as soon as the new dish is operational,” Robert replied.

I spent a few minutes getting updates from Robert including that General Kedar had confirmed his schedule for the first of next week.

Then Cindy joined the conversation, “There was a folder delivered here by courier for you from General Ingram.”

“Scan it and attach it to an email, use my JBG email,” I replied.

With that conversation over I entered the numbers to page Ben for an update on the evidence collected at Harrisburg. When he and I went through it last week there were a couple of items I wanted to know more about.

“Looks like you have remodeled the command center,” Ben said.

“A new command center – we are in our Portugal headquarters checking on the progress of the renovations. Have you made progress on the book yet?” I asked.

One was an unusual looking book written in Persian and English. What caught my eye was the layout of the print. I was willing to bet it was a code book to decipher code phrases used by most US forces on radio dispatches. Of course it could have been for their own conversations if they thought they were being monitored. Ben was having it translated and unencrypted if necessary. As usual they still were not done.

A few minutes later I opened my email on the big screen. The file General Ingram had sent was a list of military surplus equipment that was going on the restricted access online auction site. JBG could buy it before the sale but had to pay the average price that like equipment sold for plus ten percent and all the standard auction fees.

We girls went through the list picking out what we thought we needed for South Africa and Portugal.

Biff then walked us through the buildings. There were six individual homes there were intended to be for the senior officers and their families as living quarters.

We would use two of them for the same thing and then reserve the other four for visiting VIPs.

The helicopter hangars were still in good shape and dry. The exposed concrete landing pads were being replaced. Exposure to the elements had resulted cracking, chipping and flaking – a big no- no with aviation, especially helicopters. The contractor was finishing the demolition process today.

We deliberated on the best fuel policy and decided to upgrade the fuel tanks to stainless and a new filtering system IF we could find a jet A fuel supplier. If not, we would have to buy a fuel truck and run it back and forth to the airport to pick up a load of fuel.

It would not make sense to fly the helicopters to the airport for fuel and have to deal with air traffic control and delays all the time.

The last things we looked at had been the general living areas for enlisted men. I expected to see big rooms full of bunk beds US style. Instead there were three story brick and stone dormitory style housing.

Each room was set up with two beds, a small living area with mini kitchen with a sink and small refrigerator and a small bathroom with a flush and a sink. There were two large general showers and large bathrooms on each floor plus a laundry room.

Each floor had ten rooms for a total of twenty men to the floor and sixty men to the building with a total of seven barracks.

With so many different contractors on site I asked Biff why.

“They have crazy construction rules here worse than unionized contractors at home. There is no such thing as a general contractor that has people who can do it all. Demolition men do nothing but tear out, remove or tear down.

“Window installers do nothing but install windows. If the frame needs work a carpenter has to do it. Window installers or carpenters cannot repair drywall after the window installation. The drywall guys have to finish it then the trim guys have to finish it. If a plumber needs a hole drilled the carpenter has to drill the hole and sign off on it, same with an electrician – he cannot drill a hole in lumber.”

“A brick layer cannot remove old brick; the demo guys have to do it, a plumber cannot remove a sink to install new pipes; the demo guys have to remove it. The plumber can reinstall it. It goes on and on. But we are getting there.

“I have an inspector looking at every building and every room making lists and scheduling the contractors in the order they are needed. They might think they were generating a bunch of free time but he has ended that,” Biff said.

“I knew you could handle the job. We are going to be bouncing in and out for the next ten days. We have to visit all the Pact countries then Marcy, Vicky and I are going to South Africa,” I said.

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Book 2 Chapter 45

I spent Monday and Tuesday in my office working with the girls and time with Jacob and Robert. They went with me to Fort Smith Tuesday afternoon to watch the training of the new men who had arrived on Monday.

What was left of the special operations team and the training group were putting them through the paces. I only hoped that the rush in the training wouldn’t come back to haunt me.

The boys looked at the Fort as a new playground with all the buildings; each had something new that needed investigating. They went home with pockets filled with empty shell casings. Yes they had pockets now, diapers had given way to training pants and then to normal underwear so they were in little boy jeans and camo. They just had to show Mommy all the different kinds they had found.

If I could just convince them to pick all of them up and put them in buckets. There were companies that bought empties to reload. In fact we could have bought the mass production equipment to do that ourselves but I didn’t think it was worth the hassle to save a few pennies a round.

I listened as they told the rest of the girls where they had found them and all the things they seen at the fort. They never missed a thing, not even a minor thing.

Then the questions started. “When can we go back and look for more? What were all those wrecked cars, how did they get wrecked? Why are there bullet holes in them? What were all those big bangs we heard?

“What were all those men doing back there? What were those rooms with the pipes for walls? Why did you have to use your ID card to get the big gate to open? Will my card open the gate?”

Yes they each had their own JBG ID card. We insisted that to be big boys they needed to carry it all the time. We wanted carrying the card to become a habit; the card had the normal tracking chip in it.

“Can Pop-Pop take us back there tomorrow? Maybe Aunt Vicky can go with us, she is good at finding things. You do want to go back don’t you JJ?” little Robert asked.

They had settled the name thing themselves after listening to us talk trying to be secretive. When discussing things about them or what needed to be done for them we abbreviated their names to RJ for little Robert Jones and JJ for Jacob Jones; they soon put two and two together. Secrets only last so long. They were smart and caught on quickly.

Now when we talked about them and we did not want them to know we used one of the languages we spoke. But that would only going to last so long before they caught on to that. We were still doing a language a week around the house so we would stay fluent in each. Being inquisitive they were picking up things quickly.

It was Tuesday afternoon that I had another ‘Oh crap’ call come into the office. The call was forwarded to my office where I answered it. It was the lead investigator for one of the major TV news networks investigative shows. He called into the office and tried to schedule an on camera interview. Then he had the audacity to ask if they could follow me around for a couple of days to develop program material.

“I’m sorry but I don’t do interviews unless directed by the White House for official government purposes. At JBG we have a public relations department that handles whatever press releases that are necessary.

“We are a privately held company and that limits what needs to be said publicly. We have no need to inform or impress any stockholders about any decisions or actions that we as management do,” I said.

“As far as following me around, I handle so many things all day long that are classified and cannot be overheard or reported that it would be simply pointless.”

“Another thing is I value my family’s fleeting moments of private time immensely and certainly don’t want to share them with the world. I will talk to them but I know the answer almost before I ask,” I said.

“The show’s director, programmer and media research team have made the decision that one prime time investigative evening info program is going to be about you.”

“Doing an interview will allow you to answer questions and respond with your vision of events to statements by others that may or may not be factual. The show is planned as the lead-in show for next season,” the caller said.
“So you really don’t have a show outline to work with and want me to give you a place to start looking. For the time being the answer is no to any interview. Do your program and I will review the final product, then possibly do an interview at the end,” I said as I hung up.

I knew they would never go for that, to make their show they had to have the gotcha moment; the more the merrier and early in the show. Then they would expand them and turn the whole show into a hit piece. I had no intention of supplying it for them.

Wednesday morning after an hour with Robert evaluating Tiam’s daily broadcast, I went Washington to get an update in the Harrisburg investigation.

Anne had scheduled the meeting for 10:00. I was there in plenty of time. While I was waiting I read through the stack of interviews that had been completed.

I already had several ideas on what caused and contributed to the fiasco. Reading through the interviews did not change my mind but it would take in depth reading and assessment of all of them to create a final report.

Anne and her team were nearly done with the interviews; another two weeks would finish them up then two more weeks before the three of us would sit down and write the final report.

Anne, Andrew and I went through the progress reports of the interviews. In the process Anne started an outline for the final report.

I explained what I wanted to see and how I thought it should be on paper. I had no trouble convincing them that I wanted a report that answered as many potential questions as possible.

I did not want to be spending days testifying before Congress under oath to answer questions when the report should do most of that up front.

Thursday and Friday were planning days for the next two weeks. Part of the arrangements had been made last week. Hotel rooms had been reserved in each of the Pact countries.

All of us were going for the first part of the trip in two separate planes. We were leaving Monday and spending the first two days in Portugal to inspect the Loure’s command and training center. We wanted to look ourselves to see if we wanted any changes while all the contractors were there.

Marcy was getting so many invoices and bids on the cleanup and renovation that she had assigned a clerk full time to keeping it organized in put into the accounting system.

There was SAP (Standard Accounting Practices) and MAP (Marcy’s Accounting Practices). SAP didn’t hold a candle to it. Marcy could hit a few search keys and tell in a few seconds if I had bought a piece of bubble gum on the company card a year ago.

The second day we were meeting with Prime Minister Cordeiro and his cabinet. It was to be an evaluation of how the first few weeks had worked out and to discuss any changes.

Then there would be discussions about the Pact. I was hoping I could manipulate those involved to come to Portugal for a joint meeting but it was not to be.

Each of the countries wanted us to visit for a state dinner. It was the politics as usual thing. The need for politicians to be seen in a positive light in the local media was critical for survival worldwide it seemed. We were in for seven state dinners, official visits and media events.

All the girls had been shopping they were prepared. We were prepared.

I spent more time researching the letter I was going to use in France, not that I needed to do much research. I finished the research and started writing the letter.

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Book Chapter 44

Wednesday was laid back from the beginning, but we were all up at our normal time. Without the trip to Washington we had an unrushed big homemade breakfast. I was not going to Washington for the rest of the week; I was going to work for JBG.

I worked with Lorrie’s group helping get things ready for Saturday’s air show. Lots of things were arriving including some antique aircraft. I was corrected; they were called vintage aircraft. They were very clean and shined up. I know they were better than the day they left the factory.

At two I needed to leave to meet the shrinks. Doctors Rich and Moore had been working on the profile that I assigned them. Today was report day; I hoped they could tell me what made the man click.

The meeting lasted two hours and gave me what I needed. The next part of the plan required help from the Mossad ladies. They would be back on Monday and be a part of the team that was going with us to the Pact Countries and to Paris in the last week of July.

Thursday was more of the same; moving things around, helping Lorrie and boy sitting. Well, they weren’t sitting; little Robert and Jacob made every step I took. If I picked up something they had to help as best as they could. They worked – played with me all morning.

After lunch they crashed on the sofa in the living room and fell fast asleep. Lisa was shaking her finger at me, “You over worked those poor boys – shame on you!” She was smiling as she said it.

I went by the way of the tunnel to see Robert before going back to Morton.

“The link is still active. General Kedar is still burning about the Harrisburg failure. He is now sending communiqués to someone that we have identified as Sabir Mahmoud in Oklahoma City. I think that is the next target city.

“Looks like more organizing to me, only one communiqué a day but none to any other sites. The number of general broadcasts is up. I think they are checking their communications for leak.”

“On a different note the last of the working girls are leaving France next week. So far all of them have been identified. Ben Smith is sending me all the data for our files. I’m expecting a new method of communication with this group. I would not believe the General would share his communication secrets with ISIS,” Robert said.

“The General is still following his schedule; there was another confirmed entry yesterday,” Robert said.
Back at Morton while Lorrie was breast feeding Sara, the flight was scheduled to the Pact countries with several days in France. We were all going but in two different planes.

Then we were splitting up with Lorrie, Jenny and Ching Lee coming home and Marcy, Vicky and me flying on to Kampala, Polokwane and Windhoek, depending on my meeting with the Angel of Death. I still had not told the girls what was going to happen and was not going to.

Friday was a blur; all day was spent at Morton. The only break was a VCATS call to Portugal with Biff. Vicky and I assigned Biff the job of manager of the new JBG European Head Quarters renovation.

Every day there were dozens of pictures of the buildings, barracks and housing. The more we looked at the layout and the pictures, the more pleased we were of the purchase.

Biff had several contractors fixing things that needed to be done to stop weather damage to the site. Four full time maintenance people were hired and equipment bought so they could work.

Twenty men in the training group that had excelled were sent yesterday to Portugal to fill security positions at the new site and fill Biff’s manpower shortage. When manpower levels were sufficient their training would be completed at either Loures or Fort Smith.

The security fence and gates had been repaired as was the security post. All windows were to be replaced with triple pane thermal windows. They were thirty years old and many were cracked. Heaters, furnaces and air conditioners were repaired and made operational or replaced. All the buildings were being scrubbed cleaned and fumigated.
Biff had chosen the building for the site command center – it was the same building the Portuguese military had used. It needed freshening up and modernization. This site was going to be used as the central JBG European site connected to all the Pact countries.

There were three very large satellite dishes that we were going to use for telephone, internet and other communication services. They were to be restored and operational before our visit. Communications cables to all the buildings were being replaced with new high-speed capable fiber optic or new copper wire.

Luckily all buildings were connected with buried conduit making the installations easy. Security cameras were being installed in all the nonresidential spaces.

The concrete landing pads were to be replaced with a new slab and markings. As soon as the automated doors on the hangars had been checked out and the cables replaced on the doors, the helicopters were to be moved and the hangar lease at Lisbon International would be canceled.

Saturday morning started with excitement; at 0600 things were hopping at Morton. The final preparations were well under way. All of the vintage aircraft that had registered had arrived and were parked on the tarmac. The north/south runway was used for the arriving aircraft until noon.

There were plenty of vintage aircraft; B24, B17, the only flying B29, several P51s , a Corsair, an F4F Navy , a TBM torpedo bomber, an F6F carrier fighter and a dozen more.

The crew of the B29 had set up a display by the plane with chairs. We walked with Crash out to the plane. Over time we had replaced Crash’s uniform and the flight jacket he lost in the fire that almost killed him and me. I had also replaced the missing medals. Living in Washington circles paid dividends at times.

Crash walked us out giving us an explanation of everything we could see under the plane.

There was a chair for Crash so the war stories began almost immediately. I placed a transmitter that went to a recorder on Crash. I wanted to hear those war stories when I had time.

Crash didn’t know but he was going to do one more flight in the cockpit of FIFI – one of the last two flying B29s. Lorrie would have promised them the world if they had known how badly we wanted it here. As it was she paid for all the 140 octane AV gas to get it here and we had to fill it when it left, plus a donation to their organization that kept historic war birds flying.

At 0900 the gates opened allowing the visitors to view the planes. The vintage war birds, one of our C130s, a C5M, a Huey, a 407, a Blackhawk, G5, Cessna 55, and others were open for display.

People were starting to arrive – a lot of people – many carrying lawn chairs who staying for the long haul. I figured a good crowd but was surprised at the numbers.

At 1100 the other Hueys brought the National Guard guys in for a fire fight with some bad guys with blanks until the bad guys surrendered, then they set up their recruiting station. After that the war birds were fired up to make their fly over then they parked on the tarmac just further back.

At 1200 on the nose the Blue Angels made their high speed appearance and performed their amazing air show.
I knew there was a military coordinator in the tower controlling the military arrivals.

During the show I felt a tap on the shoulder, “Great crowd!” I turned to see General Ingram and the rest of the joint chiefs.

“Yes it is, thanks for all the help,” I said.

One of the General’s aides was monitoring the tower to plane communications.

The next fly over were current military. A pair A10 Warthogs flew over and did some maneuvers and actually landed and parked in front of the crowds on the tarmac. I loved the sound of those twin engines and the comforting sound of its rotary cannon winding up when I was on the battle field in Afghanistan.

The F22, F35, F18 and MV-22 Osprey all made fly-overs. Still the most impressive was a B52 bomber that made several low passes. All the external weapons pods were filled with ordinance of some kind to make it even more impressive. I remembered the sound of those eight engines saving my combat team’s ass more than once.

It was 1600 when the festivities were declared over and the crowd filtered away.

All the vintage planes had left. Crash was happy and so were we and had plenty of pictures. Crash’s flight was recorded and plenty of still pictures were taken. The B29 made several flights for paying enthusiasts – many were JBG pilots who wanted to be able to say they had flown in a B29. It was a once in a lifetime event for them.

Some clean up had to be done today for safety. Paper, hot dog wrappers and the like needed to be cleared away and boxed up securely. The same was anything else that jet engine exhaust could send flying or get sucked into the intakes.

Men from the aviation shop rode the runway several times checking for bolts, nuts and any other hardware that could cause potential problems.

The vendors carried their things away and what they did not want went into the dumpsters and roll-offs. It was 1900 when everyone was satisfied that all was clear.

It was definitely a hot tub wine cooler night that turned into holding, cuddling and intimate affections.

Sunday finished up all the odds and ends that closed this chapter on the JBG air show. Well, all except the ten pages of color pictures and interviews in the QA Gazette. Then there was the twenty second blip on the Washington and Baltimore news channels between the murder stories and the notoriously wrong weather forecast.

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Book 2 Chapter 43

When I left, Harry was in the middle of his normal daily news conference. I walked to the door, stood out of sight and listened to the questions. He was holding his own so I left. There were no media people at the gate as we drove away.

I was home in time so the meeting could start early. We used a world renowned mining survey and geological minerals and assessment company. A company representative was going to explain the report page by page for us.

Joel Moss had just arrived so one of my security team brought him to the meeting room. Joel was a senior analyst for International Minerals and Resources Consulting (IMRC). He had seven copies of the final report along with copies of a previous report.

“The IMRC survey of the Polokwane central mine was completed quickly as you asked. One thing that made it go faster was IMRC did a detailed survey of this mine just three years ago for a Crown Prince of the Saudi family.”

“The first twenty pages are general geologic studies for the area with emphasis on mineral composition. The studies for oil and natural gas came up negative in the first studies so there was no need to repeat them as there was no need to do the geologic ones as well.”

“Page twenty one in the old survey shows the recommended direction the mining operation was to take and for the best results. The mining operation ignored those suggestions in every instance, as you can see when you compare the maps. Compare pages twenty two and twenty three to the maps respectively.”

“Page twenty four and twenty five give anticipated mineral recovery prospects. There were and still are substantial mineral deposits located in the identified multiple untouched areas of the mine.”

“We expect those veins to continue for several miles based on the scans and seismic test. The mineral of abundance is gold in nugget form. I say nugget because soil tests show little recoverable gold particle in the spoils.”

“The Polokwane East mine – referred to by some as the diamond mine – is a different story. There are still minerals there at the marked locations – enough to be a profitable venture. Set up costs will be high for conversion to modern mining techniques but very profitable, offsetting the cost.”

“The Polokwane West mine on the adjacent property was a platinum mine. It was barely profitable in the glory days of the platinum market. The deposits were difficult to reach and so few of them. Testing proved there were no marketable minerals left in the mine or surrounding property.”

“However, the miles of dry massive horizontal tunnels offer many possibilities as the demand for old mines is growing for storage and manufacturing. The better possibility is aggregate production from the previous mining waste. There are millions of tons of rock in easy to handle sizes for crushing mills if a market were to be developed in the area,” Joel said to finish out his presentation.

There was a general discussion before he left; informative but left a lot of questions. There were going to be several long meetings in the next few days.

Marcy suggested we start another division to handle the South African (SA) Properties and associated development. I was inclined to agree with her; let BMM and a manager from the new division start putting things in order.
Marcy did make the statement that there was a hotel manager and an airport manager she was dealing with who were running the show. Altogether there were a total of twenty people involved. They were being paid the SA minimum wage at the time we took over – one dollar and fifty eight cents.

The sales information we signed to conclude the deal included all the information on all employees that the Saudi government was paying on the site, along with their contact information.

I thought it was interesting that the Saudi’s – rumored to be worth trillions – wouldn’t pay a penny more than the required minimum wage that was only a buck fifty eight.

But then there were plenty of accusations from the many foreign women who went to work in the Saudi households as to how they were treated, abused and enslaved.

“In order to build loyalty until we get a management control team there and decisions made, I bumped the pay to two dollars an hour and the managers to two twenty five,” Marcy said.

It made sense for the time being to do that but it also made sense for us to put a rush on getting people there. I was worried about the miles of tunnels in the abandon platinum mine. They could be used to stage and hide a lot of things and with Iran’s interest and Russia’s involvement, only added to the worry.

The discussion turned to the property in Portugal. The Realtor Lorrie had been working with found a suitable twenty acre parcel near Loures, about 20 miles from Lisbon.

It had been a military post that had been closed for several years, but was still owned by the government. Prime Minister Cordeiro was anxious to sell the property to us when he found out that we were interested.

The fenced-in property with a firing range, four helicopter pads and housing for five hundred would require some work. Well what didn’t require work to get it like we wanted?

The sale of the property would be closed tomorrow.

At four thirty the receptionist called up, “A gentleman named Fazel Al-Farsi is here. He says he is the deputy Ambassador to the US from Pakistan and has an appointment with BJ.”

“He called in at noon wanting to discuss the property we bought from the Saudi’s,” Jenny said, “None of us were going to talk to him without you here.”

“Have security search him and bring him up,” I said to the receptionist.

Things had changed for visitors coming to gain access to the executive offices. Various office shootings and pieces of intelligence caused Robert and Andy to join forces in pushing for the change and then demanding it.

I trusted both of them; if they felt it was necessary, it was going to happen even if I didn’t like it. But as usual when they put the evidence on the table, there could be no argument; they both built strong cases for it.

There was now a screening station similar to what government installations and the courthouses were using. People that did not have a JBG ID went through the station. They were emptying their pockets in the tray, had briefcases and bags go through the x-ray and then had to walk through the square and finally, the hand wand if necessary.

“Good afternoon Deputy Ambassador Al-Farsi; you represent Pakistan I believe. There was no need for you to come to the shore, we could have met in Washington on one of my days there,” I said.

“If this were related to official business I would have done so,” he replied.

“OK, what can I do for you then,” I replied.

“Ah right to the point. Pakistan – as I’m sure you know – acts as an intermediary for several countries in the Middle East and elsewhere.”

“Yes I know – every country does to some degree,” I replied.

“Several of the countries we work with were in the process of negotiating a joint purchase of a sizable parcel near Polokwane South Africa. It seems that you had been negotiating for the same piece of property. Then you fast tracked the purchase of the property and closed the deal before they could counter offer.”

“It’s interesting that you closed so fast – raising questions among the partners – as if you found out they were bidding against you. Did you buy it as an investment to resell? If so, they are still interested and will offer you a profit for your time. You have an unusual business to be buying property there,” he said.

“No, it is not usual for JBG; after tomorrow we will own property on five continents either for our vacation or security division,” I said.

“I assume we are talking about the property at Polokwane. Which parcel are we talking about? We bought a couple there,” I said.

I could tell I had caught him off guard by the expression on his face; it disappeared quickly.
“The property that was owned by the Saudi’s with the town, mines and airport,” he replied.

“Yes that is the one with six thousand acres. We also bought the adjoining property that was over six hundred thousand acres. No, we did not buy them for investment purposes.”

“We are changing and expanding our security business. We are going to use the properties for advance training and we are adding more aviation to the security department. We will have attack helicopters and ground support attack aircraft.”

“American law prevents us from training with that type of equipment in the states.”

“We currently bring all of our employees back to Maryland each year for training. This property will allow all of the African, Middle East and part of South American employees to train there. The airport, town and hotel fit the needs perfectly,” I said.

“What about the mines?” he asked.

“We just had a survey done; they will not be profitable for a decade. All the equipment was looted or destroyed. To replace all the equipment and find a suitable workforce will offset any short term profitability,” I said.

“After the investment it is unlikely the east mine will ever be profitable. It is a good thing mining was not our interest in buying the property,” I said.

“Why are you adding ground support aircraft to your business?” he asked.

“We have customers demanding that we have that capability and are willing to sign contracts,” I replied.

‘Let the guessing game begin’ I thought to myself. They will soon be wondering who and what kind of aircraft and who I am working with. Was I was getting to be a master at misinformation or a good liar? Maybe I had been around Washington too long.

The meeting ended cordially, with the usual, “We will stay in touch.”

It was time to go to the house via the tunnel. I was going to pick up any reports from my box on the way.

The evening was spent with taking turns watching the boys, taking turns so we could each help clean the house and make supper. What used to be simple was not any more. Trying to get the boys to eat when we did and then eat healthy was a challenge.

We were done early and the boys went to sleep early. We spent an hour in hot tub watching baby and boy monitors drinking wine coolers. It was a good evening, the best we had in days.
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Book 2 Chapter 42

After lunch I had a private meeting with four Senators, arranged by the White House, in the White House private dining area. It was a business over lunch meeting.

Two Senators were from the judiciary committee and two from the terrorism subcommittee. We ate with just small talk, mostly about the hot dry weather and a little about the IRS changes.

After the waiter cleared the table and brought weak coffee, the Senators started fishing.

“How long were you following the Harrisburg group?” Senator Casey asked.

Senator Casey was one of the senior members on the Senate’s terrorism committee and an ardent supporter of the task force.

“You do know that this conversation is classified and if there any leaks, there are only four people I have to look for,” I said.

“Yes, we understand and we know you take few prisoners,” the Senator replied.

“That’s true; several previous administrations used to leave bodies in Montrose Park with their hands tied behind their back and self inflicted gunshot wounds to the back of the head. I do a much better job than that,” I said with a straight face.

“Several months is all I can say at the time,” I replied.

“How long did you know about their plans for the water park?” the Senator asked.

“Their detailed plan – about a month,” I replied.

“Why did you wait so long before trying to arrest and stop them?” Senator Smithfield asked.

Smithfield was the newest member of the Senate terrorism committee.

“We had an outline of the plan but not all the members, their sources of materials, supporters of the group and possible connections to other like minded groups. Finding out those things was as important as shutting down the group. We felt we could shut down the group at any time,” I said.

“Did you find any information that was helpful after so much time and manpower was invested?” Smithfield asked.

“Yes. But I will not discuss that information because it has opened at least a dozen more investigations of sleeper cells previously unknown here in the US,” I replied.

“The ACLU has charged and filed suit and is demanding that Congress hold hearings that excessive force was used at Avon Heights. What is your response to that?” Senator Bellows asked.

Senator Bellows was on the Justice Committee that oversaw the AG and Justice department.

“Monday morning quarterbacking. Yes we did use a lot of force there – after the teams were fired upon – after ten agents were killed and over thirty critically wounded – and after over thirty law enforcement vehicles were riddled with bullet holes,” I replied.

“The committee directed the AG to find out who the ten FBI ladies were. We want to subpoena them and clear up questions about their assignment and if anything illegal was done. AG Dunne informed the committee you again refused to identify them. I am directing you to identify them here and now or you will be subpoenaed to bring the information to the committee hearings,” Senator Bellows said.

“I told the AG I could not remember their names nor could I remember what they looked like; that’s my story and I am sticking to it. Outing them could seriously jeopardize those other investigations we just talked about and several others that were started. I will not do that at any cost,” I said.

“The size, scope, the number of bombs and the international connections of Harrisburg indicate that we are in for a mass causality event sometime in the near future. I won’t risk one, not one intelligence source that could prevent that,” I said.

“You don’t have the authority to deny the committee that information,” Senator Bellows replied.

“Then you have not studied the documents for the Task Force, the Oversight Committee and the power it gives me. Also you need to reread the national security directive in the classified CIA operations manual, chapters fourteen through twenty four to be exact. Then read the agreements between the Senate and House in regards to cold war cloak and dagger operations revised after 9-11.”

“After you enjoy all that look at the Patriot Act, section nineteen through twenty one. Then you need to read the orders and instructions from the Federal Judges who make up the secret terrorism court in regards to covert operations with international implications.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot, neither the Senate nor the House members have access to those records from the secret court. If you want access to an individual sheet from those orders and have the document number, you will have to have approval from the Chief Justice, the President and the chairperson of the Terrorism Task force – me.”

“To top it off they are read-only in an 8 x 8 room; no copies, no pictures, no phones or cameras and with an armed guard watching you.”

“The mountain you have to climb makes Everest look like a piss ant hill in the back yard.”

“What countries were involved?” Senator Casey asked.

“I cannot disclose the countries involved without direct orders from the President but this terrorist group was an international effort involving more than one adversarial country and a super power.”

“Those countries are in the process of sending over one hundred spies into this county as we speak. We are lucky that we – so far – are able to identify them as they arrive from one of the intelligence sources I don’t want to lose. I feel the counter intelligence will be productive and possibly lead to exposure of spy networks already here.”

“I guess you want testimony that will ultimately be leaked, destroying that intelligence source and any gains that have been made in the last two years,” I said.

“No, but we need to clear up questions about the raid, the involvement of the FBI and the connection to the former IRS Secretary,” Senator Bellows said.

“I will bet those questions are being pushed by the right to know media every chance they get, behind closed doors, just so they can push the next juicy story with a hint of sexual misconduct on their prime time news show,” I said.
“So the ladies did sexual things with customers,” Senator Bellows said.

“I have no idea, they were told only to report on the terrorists we were watching and nothing else they or anyone else saw or did. That is a need to know thing and I nor anyone else needs to know – so I don’t and did not ask,” I said.

“You run a tight ship – no one seems to know anything about the agents, the strip joints, any couriers, any information you received or how you got it. We sent investigators to every joint; even their security video for the last two months had been cleaned. Their payroll records were complete with no gaps or unusual entries, no one on extended vacations or illnesses,” Senator Bellows said.

I thought it was interesting the joints had cleaned up everything figuring they were going to get a going over. Or maybe they didn’t want to be fingered as being a terrorist hangout.

Getting rid of the security tapes and perfect labor records sounded like they had a professional cleanup team assist them in going over everything.

“Only way to win a war and I hate to lose even one minor skirmish,” I said.

“If that is all you need I must go. I must say this has been an interesting conversation. Keep in mind that the next time I may be the one asking the questions,” I said.

It was time to go home. Marcy had sent a text they wanted me there for tonight’s meeting. The reports were back from the mine surveys and to top it off I was going to have a visitor; the gentleman had made an appointment for five.
I wondered why Jenny had referred to him as “the gentleman.”

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Book 2 Chapter 41

Tuesday morning just three Suburban’s made the trip to Washington. To put it plainly, we were short on people. With the men and ladies moving towards the PAC countries and the OPS team drafted as trainers, there were simply not enough people to go around.

There were two hundred scheduled to be in training before the end of next week. They were coming in stages based on skill level, class size and the number the doc could run through his system in a day with the physical we had chosen. Jason, Mischief and Mayhem and all of HR had been busy.

All that meant that Robert’s group had several members dedicated to doing background investigations. To hell with all the new employment rules telling us we could not look at criminal, court, medical records or social media. I had told Robert to find all of it.

Even the shrinks group was having a chat with the applicants on the couch. There was no way we could tolerate someone who was marginally unstable being assigned to the PAC Countries.

One of the first things they were told is they had to close all social media accounts – period. If we found them accessing social media they would be terminated.

All social media companies lied. Opting out of tracking and other information collecting did nothing. Even though you opted out, the companies turned it all back on with updates. You were still tracked and monitored with apps used to collect data and information and then they sold it to anyone, anywhere.

It would be highly dangerous for our company if a terrorist were able to use social media to get a list of employees and where they were assigned by using social media data.

I met Axle James at the office before I left for Washington; he had been away for a family emergency. Today was his first day back.

“Here are the pictures you asked for from Harrisburg. The three CDs are from my cameras. I was working with Robbie to develop something we could use for training.”

“There was one on each mini-gun and one aimed straight ahead that captured the Stingers. All three became active when the arm weapons switch was turned on. Ah, I’m sorry about the back ground music; I forgot to turn it off. You may want to look at them before you show them to anyone,” he said.

“Did you make copies?” I asked.

“Yes. If you want me to destroy them just tell me,” he said.

“Just hold on to them for a while, I’ll let you know. Thanks, you may have been more help than you know,” I said.

I watched the CDs with the sound turned off. I wanted to be able to hear the company radios and the JBG aviation channel.

At 1600 every reporter with a White House grounds pass was crowding the fence yelling questions. They must have had someone watching the roads. I waved as I went inside, ignoring the questions.

Some things never change and it was a good thing. Both percolators were brewing fresh coffee. I noticed the cans were marked USN, Ben had found himself a source when my supply ran out.

I had only been in my office a few minutes with Anne and Andrew, long enough to give them Axle’s pictures for the investigation, and then we went out to the big table. Shortly after that, the parade started.

The parade was the President, Troy, Art Cummins, Frank Love (who had been too busy to attend most meetings lately) and the AG. It was followed by General Ingram and the Air Force chief of staff.

“Couple more and we could have a trial,” I thought.

The AG started, “I need the names of the FBI ladies you used. Just for the record, of course. The House has said they are going to subpoena all records related to them,” he said.

“I already publicly said that no records were made or kept. I forgot long ago who they were or what they looked like. So you are SOL, don’t bother asking anymore,” I said.

“Is the Intel source still active?” the President asked.

“Yes, I believe so, we just need to verify and double check the data for a while,” I replied.

I cherry picked pages from my folder and handed them to the President; the ones with the orders from the General.

” Pass them around, read only, no copies,” I said.

“This is the one that is the most discouraging. It leads me to believe there are ten more sleeper cells in the country similar to Harrisburg. Here are the replies to Tiam that Robert came up with and found US IP addresses for,” I said as I handed the papers to him.

“Looks like your gamble may bear fruit after all,” Troy said, “Damn you have big brass pair. I never would have the balls to make that kind of decision, let alone execute it so perfectly.”

“Troy, that could be considered a sexist remark,” the President said.

“Hey, I was within arm’s reach and I am still standing and not bleeding, so it must have been OK,” Troy replied.

I gave him a thumbs up.

We beat the communiqués to death for an hour until there was nothing more to say other than the fight goes on.
I handed the three DVD discs to Bobby, “Play the one that says box truck first.”

That disc was from the right side mini gun camera. The cameras were live and recording after Axle flipped on the weapons switch. He had turned that switch on when he observed the SWAT teams entering Avon Heights.

That gun was the one Axle used on the box truck and in the first sweep on the barn. Bobbie had the volume up when it started to play; I recognized Hank Jr’s. ‘All for the Love of Sunshine’. A few seconds later the mike on the camera picked up my order to Firebird 1 to stop the box truck and the men in the back of the truck and then to cover the barn.

The camera showed the box truck cab and engine compartment being decimated by just a few second burst from the mini-gun. Then there were the wild swings as Axle positioned the helicopter to bring the mini-gun to bear on the rear of the truck.

The camera showed the four men raising their guns to fire on the helicopter only to be riddled with another burst from the gun. I was glad I didn’t work with the bomb squad getting the bikes out of the truck.

The camera picked my orders to attack the barn because we were taking heavy fire from it. My order to empty the racks and tubes was clear and plain as day. The camera picked up the swoosh and flash of the Stingers being fired. They did pick up the damage the rockets did to the barn as Axle flew along the side of the barn so the mini-gun could be fired into it.

I noticed the song had changed to Johnny Cash and Folsom Prison Blues. I now knew what kind of music Axle liked to work with and motivate him when he had to do difficult things.

The cameras on the left mini-gun recorded the same action on the other side of the barn; rockets and then gun fire.

The last disc was the camera that was looking out of the front of the helicopter. It did not record anything on the sides but it had first rate shots of the Stinger missiles doing their thing on the barn and Axle’s aggressive flying of the Blackhawk.

“Well that’s that, as if we needed a reminder,” I said as Bobbie handed me the DVD’s back, which I then put into my portable office.

“The pilot certainly follows orders to the letter,” General Ingram said.

“That’s why I hire them, and I believe in the use of overwhelming firepower, especially when we are fired on first,” I replied.

A discussion lasted a few minutes before the General asked “How are you coming on the property thing you were looking at in South Africa?”

“It’s coming along, why do you ask?” I replied.

“We would like to have another land based radar installation that would be able to follow some things down that way. You work with us frequently, I’m hoping we could work out an agreement,” he said.

“I might be able to find you a small spot to place one there,” I replied with a grin.

Troy being nosy, “How much land are you looking at?”

“Just a little under a thousand square miles – six hundred and thirty thousand acres. It has a gold mine, a diamond mine, an abandoned mine and an airport with a terminal and a 200 by 6000 foot concrete runway.”

“The airport has some hangars and a small fuel farm that will have to be upgraded. There is a reliever gravel runway a couple miles away, also a one hundred room hotel and a town with about a thousand houses are part of the property.”

“The sale was completed yesterday. There are issues – a lot of issues – to deal with; water, sewer, electric, roads, keeping enough fuel there and a million other things. Nothing is even close to modern standards,” I said.

I handed the General the communiqué passed among Russia, China and Iran. “This was the reason that a rush was put on the purchase. And this is why we bought the adjoining property. I did not want the IRG as a neighbor.”

“We had been looking at the property for a few weeks. The gold and diamond mine was described as being no longer productive, but I think that was misinformation. Lorrie has a company doing a survey of the mines to see if they would be profitable. The preliminary report has been very encouraging,” I said.

Troy still had not gotten his jaw to close yet.

“That’s bigger than most of the national parks and you’re going to use it for training?” Troy said.

Training was my cover story; I really had no intentions of building a training facility there unless circumstances created the need for it. I wanted the hotel brought up to acceptable standards and then a slow process of upgrading the town.

I wanted enough surplus military equipment there to be able to patrol the property. That would hopefully discourage any of the lowlifes connected to the Prince or Iran from trying anything. This would be important if the mines should prove to be productive.

If they were productive then there would need to be a rush on the town upgrades to house the miners who had drifted away when the mines closed. It would be the best way to get them back and keep them in line.

‘Company town, company store’ came to mind as a necessary evil, I was sure. When the mines closed the miners went back to the villages that were scattered throughout the national forest, surviving by poaching and whatever.

“General, when is the next lot of military equipment going to be available? I need a lot of things like thirty HumVees, a dozen MRAPS, more helicopters, two or three more C130s, along with trucks, trailers and support equipment. If I’m going to have two more training sites to equipment, one in South Africa and one in Portugal, I may need a lot more,” I said.

In for a penny, in for a pound, ask for a lot and see if I got access to anything.

“Get me a list and I will see what is available and when,” the General replied.

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Book 2 Chapter 40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Ten dollars American per hectare,” he said.

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

“How big a parcel is it?” I asked.

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

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

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

Marcy is going to have a fit I thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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