With the funerals finally behind us, only thing left to do was to put this horrible situation to bed was the paper work. At breakfast I pulled Jenny and Marcy aside and asked them to crank it up on the insurance company. I wanted to personally hand deliver the 275,000 dollar insurance check to Linda Koons.
The JBG employees came through in a big way for me; they donated to the Koons college fund that we set up. They raised a whopping One hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the cause. Before Marcy set up the CDs she made it an even two hundred thousand.
This way, one hundred thousand would be set aside for each of the girls; I think that was a good start for them. I just hoped they chose a good career path. I was going to deliver the CDs – the paperwork for the fund at the same time I gave Linda Koons the insurance check. The funds for the CDs were held by Mid-West Bank at a good rate.
When we woke up, we had a big family breakfast as if it was a normal Sunday – it was the first in over a week and I loved it. Not to put a damper in the gathering, but Vicky and I had to go.
Vicky and I said our good byes and then drove across the bay to the Landover Metro stop. We took the metro into DC so I would not have to drive in the madhouse Friday traffic. The metro stop was right at the Capitol.
At 9, Victor Edmonson and Amy Lockerman met us on the capitol steps. There were a lot of people going into the senate office building. There were reporters from dozens of stations. They each had their own spot picked out. We walked by without anyone recognizing me, and I was glad of it!
We were in our seats by 9:45 after going by security. The ID cards that we had allowed entry without going through the security process. Vicky and I had split my computers into separate cases so Vicky and I were each carrying one as we went in.
Protocol dictated that everyone be seated before the senators came in and took their seats. When they came in I knew several of them from their time on TV. Two of them from the meeting at the gym office they were Senator Malcolm Fordes and Senator Colin Harrison.
The first questions went to Victor.
Senator Harrison asked, “Have host countries placed additional restrictions on the security at US embassies?”
“Any restrictions are part of the negotiation process before the embassy was agreed upon and constructed. There are annual meetings between the parties to tweak those agreements,” Victor replied.
“The administration has taken a dim view on intelligence that doesn’t serve their political agenda. Has this affected security at embassies?” Senator Fordes asked.
“We collect intelligence as we see fit and share within our security umbrella,” Victor replied. Then he added. “We also access DHS, CIA, FBI and NSA bulletins.”
“What? You place reduced value on the traditional services,” Senator Harrison exclaimed.
“No, but you have to understand that DHS and FBI are primarily tasked with protecting the homeland and are handicapped on the international front.” Victor replied.
“The CIA spends as much time trying to influence the world arena as it does Intel gathering. The NSA is tasked with analyzing all the Intel and issuing timely alerts. That was fine in the past but not any more,” Victor said.
“Why do you say that? Isn’t that a slap in the face of those services?” Senator Harrison responded.
“Those services are doing all they can do. The technology carried them to the forefront but now it’s leaving them behind. Drone use has taught the terrorist to shun the ways of Bin Laden. As to ISIS who used the internet and social media to grow their cause. Now they are returning to the old school ways they used in the past,” Victor said.
“They have learned that cell phones, Facebook and Twitter will deliver a missile in the middle of the night sooner or later,” Victor added.
“Is that why no one knew the Morocco attack was coming?” Senator Harrison asked.
“As part of our intelligence gathering there were 32 terrorist that were killed in that attack, and only one of them had a cell phone. He was the leader and it was turned off. There were no computers or cell phones found in their dwellings. The investigators found a few hand written notes with a day and time of the attack,” Victor said.
Then he added: “Only by interviewing the wounded did we find out that the group traveled to Libya for training and weapons two months ago.”
“What actions have been taken to improve security of our embassies and how is JBG supporting this improvement?” Senator Harrison asked.
“I ordered a security audit of the eighteen embassies that are in the hot spots the day after the Morocco incident. Those audits produced a series of request from those embassies to enhance security,” Victor replied.
“The department is going to improve local intelligence gathering along with working aggressively with each country’s anti-terror agencies. We are going to expand our work together with our sister agencies,” then Victor added.
“We have expanded our contract with JBG for additional embassy protection at those 18 sites. Roberta Jones – President of JBG – has also been doing audits and can give you an update of her findings.”
“Senators, ladies and gentleman, it is a pleasure to be here in the lion’s den for the first time.”
“As you know, JBG took over the contract a month early for reasons that were beyond anyone’s control. Since that time I have personally been to 9 embassies in South America and the Middle East. Our aviation division has delivered replacement helicopters to three other embassies.”
“I was in Riyadh last week during the attacks there and when the Moroccan embassy was attacked. I saw first hand the damage from the attack in Riyadh.”
“First, in responding to the audit items, JBG will add one additional armored SUV at each of the 18 sites. Each site will get 5 additional security employees. The rest of the choppers will be exchanged as soon as the logistics can be arranged. According to the records and contact with the pilots, they have had no real maintenance in two years. They are in rough shape.”
“With all that said, none of the employees at those embassies meet JBG employee standards. There will be retraining for all former Black Water employees. According to the documentation available to us, none of them have been recertified in firearms, first aid, CPR or defensive hand skills in the last two years. This does not meet our requirements for field personnel,” I said.
“What exactly are defensive hand skills?” Senator Fordes asked.
“That is where I teach you to defend yourself and kill with your bare hands. In that kind of fight, living or dying is usually decided in the first two minutes. After two minutes, the odds of you being the one living are not in your favor,” I replied.
There was a lot of throat clearing and shifting when I finished that statement.
“One more asset that JBG is developing at the moment is a Rapid Response Team. It will be made of highly trained, equipped personnel and they will be able to be at any of the 80 embassies that JBG has contracts with within 24 hours notice,” I added.
There were a few more questions directed at Victor then Vicky and I went with him to the press conference. We stood in the back row with his support group and listened while the press peppered him with questions.
While standing there Jason sent me a text, “I hope you have an interest in corn and soybeans – you are now renting the 1400 acre farm that backs up to the airport for whatever you are going to do with it. It is a ten year rental as you asked for.”
The next text I sent was to Bob of Bob’s Construction, “If you need work, be at our meeting tonight.”
While I was standing in the back waiting for the press conference to end, I saw Marley Kendall in the reporter pool. She had finally gotten the promotion she wanted, – the Washington beat.
When the news conference was over we walked over to where Marley was giving a live feed to her news desk. I walked up from behind her, cut right in on it and gave her a hug, “Hello Marley, congratulations on the new job,” then Vicky and I kept on walking, leaving her momentarily flustered on camera.
“Hey, you owe me an interview for that!” she yelled.
“You know where to find me,” I said as I gave her thumbs up and walked away.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.