Vicky and I were in the House National Security Committee meeting room at 10 on Wednesday. The room was filled with the House security members; the same eight that were in the joint Senate room on Monday plus Eric, Frank and Victor accompanied by Amy.
After I was sworn in they reviewed the questions that were asked behind the closed door Senate meeting. They repeatedly asked more questions about the EIT group and the weapons that were used. Some of them I refused to answer.
` Some I answered with that the topic was outside the scope of the subpoena because JBG was not the subject of the investigation and the subpoena as issued did not mention JBG; it was the same as I had answered that type of question in the Senate hearing.
At noon the committee accepted that the investigation was thorough and complete and accepted the findings of the House and Senate joint national security committee.
A reworded statement that said the same thing as the Senate statement was released to the press. The committee recommended to the chairman of the National Security Agency that all records be sealed and the investigation be closed on the Kampala Embassy attack.
The assistant secretary of state was to be dispatched to Uganda with a condensed version of the events. He was to let the chips fall where they may on the intelligence failures from the Ugandan government and the African anti-terror network.
After the meeting I was informed that my term as Ambassador would end the last day of September by Victor. KCC would be in full swing the last week of August and Ching Lee and the college security group would be out west working to set up the two new colleges.
When I went back to KCC on Monday, I was going to inform Bob Jackson that I was not going to seek renewal and would turn down a contract extension as director of security. December 31 would be my last day at KCC. JBG now required my full attention.
I was going to inform the girls of my decision tonight. I knew Jenny was having second thoughts about continuing on as chairperson of the Governor’s criminal task force. I wondered if my decision would influence her to do the same. On top of that, JBG had taken six of the task force’s best hackers and research people.
There are times in life when it is time to move on and that’s the way I had come to look at my involvement with KCC. If they asked for an opinion on my replacement it would be Patti.
Patti was moving on as well. She and Purnell had picked a wedding date, October 31; a wedding on Halloween of all the days to pick. To each his own I guess.
Midwest was financing a new house for them in Hill Church Farms, a development about 10 miles from KCC. It was to be completed in time for them to move in before the wedding.
I turned my phone on as we walked back to the Suburban, and found I had a dozen messages to deal with. I let Vicky drive so I could deal with them.
The first on the list was General McJames; it simply said, “Call me ASAP.”
“Ambassador Jones; I saw that you were in Washington today. I assume you have finished your business with the House, do you have time to stop by the Pentagon? I need to discuss things with you face to face. I have answers to some of your questions and my superiors have questions they want to hear answered directly by you,” he asked.
“Yes, we are finished here. Give me an address and where can I park?” I replied.
“South Washington Blvd. Park in the south parking lot, there are shuttles that will bring you to the main entrance; have them page me,” he replied.
I punched the address into the smarter than smart phone and it steered Vicky right to the south parking lot entrance. We had just stepped out of the Suburban and I was unloading my portable office when one of the shuttles stopped and waited for us to step in.
At the security station there were many terminals, but at this time of day only a few were manned. I used my Ambassador’s ID; it was still good for another five weeks.
“General McJames wants to be notified of my arrival,” I said to the security guard.
“There are several Generals to be notified of your arrival Ambassador Jones; General McJames will be here in a minute,” he replied.
General McJames and Lt. General DeMarcus stepped out of a hallway that was sealed off with a heavy door.
“Good to see you again; your little trip to Kampala was a resounding success, from all reports,” General DeMarcus said as he shook my and then Vicky’s hand and then introduced General McJames.
“It was touch and go for a few minutes, but superior training, better weapons and a better plan paid off,” I replied.
“After our many conversations it is good to finally get to meet you General McJames. This is Vicky Snow; Vicky is now in charge of the embassy security division,” I said.
Vicky and I followed the Generals down several halls to a plush meeting room. The first place I headed was the big old fashion percolator coffee pot that looked like a holdover from the last big war. The smell said the coffee was going to be good stuff.
We sat in the fancy chairs and waited until the rest of the officials arrived. That was one very popular coffee pot. There was a continuous stream of high officials from all the services getting coffee.
They all knew the Generals and stopped to talk; I finally gave up sitting and just stood with my cup to shake hands after my introductions. One by one, other chairs at the table were taken.
General McJames opened the conversation, “Ambassador Jones came forward with an unusual request that normally would not even be discussed.
JBG has 80 US embassies under their security umbrella and has been involved with three attacks against US interests. The outcome of the most recent attack on the Kampala Embassy has given the DOD a new respect for the level of operations at JBG.”
“According to shared intelligence, JBG is also working in several other intelligence areas with other high level government agencies.”
“It has also come to our attention that JBG has a lot of former DOD equipment – C130s and Blackhawks as well as former members of the armed services.”
“We cannot sell you what you ask for or even do lend-lease without an extensive time consuming process. Nor can we act as a contractor for you.”
“You indicated in the initial conversation that you had former Air Force pilots with command hours in the aircraft?”
“Yes, we have 10 who have substantial hours; some of them as recent as six months ago,” I replied.
I answered questions for an hour from the others at the table about my request before the questions ventured off to the Kampala attack and to the locations of the embassies JBG was acquiring.
Vicky was taking notes and her head was on a swivel trying to make heads and tails out of what was happening. I had not told any of the girls what I was trying to do.
“The top ranking Air Force officer at the table – General George Walton – called the questions to a halt, “The four pilots and copilots will have to do a refresher on the simulator at Dover, that could go slow or fast, but expect a week for all that. Have them there at 0800 Monday; they should also be able to serve as the flight engineers and load masters as you need them.”
“You also have mechanics that are qualified to work on that aircraft, I am told. They will have to accompany the pilots to Travis AFB to pick up the aircraft where they will have to demonstrate their skill level to the head maintenance officer there. If all that goes well, you will fly the aircraft back to Morton Field. After 90 days, you are to deliver the aircraft to the Arizona storage site where it will be placed out of service or destroyed as international treaties dictate.”
“In the mean time the aircraft will undergo inspection and maintenance to get it ready for you to use.”
“If the State Department can call working with JBG on what happened at Kampala cross training so can we. We will call this a 90 day pilot program to evaluate civilian contractors for war time air freight operations in US owned aircraft. If it works out as positively as I think it will we may want to authorize some contract talks,” he said then added.
“Make sure you have insurance on the aircraft before you pick it up; JBG will be responsible for all damages should there be any. There will be an evaluation officer assigned to accompany the flights.”
He passed a stack of papers around the table with the other Generals signing and finally to me, “Sign on the line.”
With that the Generals walked out, General McJames made a call then said, “Major Radcliff from the Marine Recruiting Office is on his way; he has a couple questions for you.”
“I am not signing back up if that is what he is after,” all three of them broke out with a laugh.
The Major slid two 12 x 8 across the table; one was of me in my dress blues taken at the Navy Ball by the Navy’s professional photographer, the other was the one Andy had taken of me on the roof of the Kampala Embassy.
“We are always looking for new faces to use on recruiting, we would like to use these immediately while Kampala is still in the news cycle,” he said.
“Both of them have been in the public eye, so if you can use them go ahead. There is really not much need of me objecting,” I replied.
“I just need you to sign the release then; I will send you the ads in your email before they hit the air and print media with the dates and places,” the major replied.
We left the Pentagon in time to fight rush hour traffic to get home.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof Read by Bob W.