We walked back to the security office meeting Eric, Frank and the wimpy triplets at the door.
What the heck are they doing here, I wondered?
“You are running an iron fist on this site; I thought we would never get in. If it had not been for one of your RRT men we would still be out there,” Eric said.
“I have enough problems without hundreds of John Does just wanting to take a closer look,” I replied.
“The media is screaming about the no fly zone over this place; they want all those aerial shots for the news. I am expecting it to be dropped as soon as the president gets involved. He has already put his two cents worth in based on social media,” Eric said.
“I am pulling all my out of town people out as soon as they can get packed. I have other pressing issues to deal with elsewhere,” I said then I added “I told Len to get his structure set up an hour ago.”
“I don’t even want to know what you’ve got pressing,” Frank said.
We still had four days before I was leaving for Uganda but I wanted my people out of here before the shit hit the fan. The investigation and follow up hearings would take months. It would only be a matter of hours before all the questions started, if not sooner.
Once the media was allowed access they would be interviewing everyone that looked important or in a suit, increasing the chance for someone to slip up and say something they should not. That was one reason I allowed the DHS people in so they could take that responsibility.
Another thing that would play into the equation was Randolph. The agency and DHS did not want anyone to know about him or their agreement with JBG, so they would work aggressively to keep things in control.
Ching Lee and I spent the next hour in a meeting with Frank, Eric, the wimpy triplets, Len, Andy and Sherman. The Minneapolis police chief – who was the mayor’s cousin – was in cuffs and was excluded, much to his dismay. Instead he spent the hour in the other meeting room being questioned by four of Eric’s DHS agents.
When that meeting was over, there was another with a dozen more DHS and FBI agents and the state police, Kelvin Ackerman and the College Board.
The Minnesota State Police were going to guard the parking lot for the next few days until all the forensics teams had completed their work. They were also going to control and patrol all access to the college grounds. A mobile State Police command center was on the way and would stay until all that was completed.
The college was closed for the next seven days.
The downside of this was I had to listen to my exchange with the Mayor several times. Eric and Frank both had it loaded on their smarter than smart phones and linked it to the flat screen, with the group laughing at the mayor’s plight. Apparently the state police and local FBI had no use for him.
The first press conference was in 15 minutes in front of the college. The death toll was now 25, with 30 more reportedly unaccounted for. The governor was on his way just to make things interesting.
Ching Lee and I stood behind of all the dignitaries that wanted the free TV time. I always hoped that out of sight, out of mind would prevail and I would escape making a statement. It had not worked yet but I kept hoping.
The governor arrived in time to speak after a ten minute delay so the state police could up bring him up to speed.
It was the normal speech with sympathy for the families and a promise for a complete investigation. Then there was the promise to bring the guilty parties to justice. The governor took no questions, which I thought was odd.
Next up was the State Police Commandant Kent Dalton; he had been in the meetings with all of us. He updated the body count – it was now 30 – but the unaccounted had dropped to 5, and then he gave out more information. To my surprise he took no questions as he handed off to Eric.
Eric was left with little to say except that DHS was going to use all the power of its agency to follow the investigation wherever it took them. No stone will be left unturned; no lead too small to investigate. There had to be answers as to how this act of terrorism was planned, organized and carried out in a complete veil of secrecy. He took no questions but said, “BJ, you’re next.”
“Thanks Eric; you could have forgotten that I was here! I wouldn’t have minded at all. JBG will cooperate fully and assist where possible in the investigation of this dreadful event. I wish to express my sympathy and condolences to the families for the loss of their loved ones.”
“Today’s tragedy clearly illustrates that we are no longer truly safe in our day to day routines. There are those that only live for and are willing die for their ideology.”
“There is no harder task for security than to try to defend against suicide bombers, whether they are wearing an explosive device, driving an explosive laden automobile or sitting on a seat on a plane and triggering an explosive device.”
“Today MSU bore the brunt of not one but 6 suicide attackers. Four were individuals wearing explosive vests and two were SUVs filled with explosives. I believe the intent was to infiltrate the field house by the four wearing vests and at some predetermined point during the game, simultaneously detonate all four.”
“Once that had happened I believe the two car bombers were going to drive into the end of the building to possibly collapse the building onto the spectators, creating a massive body count. The amount of explosives was horrendous, easily into thousands of pounds by looking at the size of the blast area and the craters under the two vehicles.”
“Their plan fell apart when the four with the vests failed to get into the building. The two on the west entrance prematurely detonated their vests and the two on the east were killed before they could detonate their vest. It was after the two on the west side exploded that the SUVs made the run towards the building,” I said and tried to turn away.
“Ambassador – WZZK news – JBG Security has had a major presence on the MSU campus in the last couple weeks; is there a connection?”
“Minnesota University is one of fourteen colleges that are under JBG’s security umbrella. JBG routinely performs audits of our security teams, equipment, policies and procedures.”
“As any of the gentlemen here can tell you, new technology and equipment in the security arena is released almost daily. We decided to put all of the new things through field testing here at MSU while doing the audit and training.”
“Ambassador, was any of the new technology helpful in today’s attack?”
“The fact that all six of the suicide bombers were stopped outside the building should be indicative of that. If the four wearing the vests had been able to get into separate areas and detonate, we would be looking at a high death toll, possibly in the hundreds, by those incidents alone.”
“If the two SUVs had been able to burst through the end of the building, bad doesn’t even come close to describing the outcome,” I replied.
“Ambassador, there are video cameras all over this campus. When will JBG release the video to the public?”
“The video cameras and any images they recorded are the private property of JBG and we do not and will not release any of it to the public,” I replied then I added, “As a privately held company, we are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act so don’t waste your time. However, you may be able to get some video from your fire department with the aftermath in the parking lot.”
“We have some video of you and the Mayor having a difference of opinion earlier today. Would you expand on that?”
“He said jump and I didn’t; if you have video, I think it speaks for itself,” I replied.
“Ambassador, you always seem to be in the middle of any trouble and it raises questions. What can you say about that?”
“Bad luck follows me and I have terribly bad timing,” I replied as I stepped away from the podium.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.