By the time I closed up and reached the Capitol steps, the two secret service agents were taking steps two and three at a time to meet me.
One had me by the arm and the other took my portable office as we hurried to the limo, with the news people who were trying to stop us for an interview left standing and up to the White House we went.
Back in Section 12, I put the feed on the big screens even though everyone on the task force could see the action. The explosions were almost continuous from the mortar fire and RPGs.
A mortar is primarily an anti-personnel weapon. They simply hit the ground and throw shrapnel to disable and kill – and they do a good job of it. It will also disable light or unarmored vehicles with a direct hit.
Once a target area was determined and a placement round is fired to determine the adjustment for accuracy, an experienced fire team could grid an area with mortar bombs, as the rounds were frequently called.
A RPG (rocket propelled grenade) developed by the Russians was effective against armored vehicles, even known to disable tanks if the round was placed in a soft spot and the right explosive head was used.
It could be used to penetrate concrete walls if successive rounds were placed in the same spot. I could see on the camera that is what they were trying to do.
An RPG was credited with striking and crashing several helicopters in Afghanistan, including the one carrying Seal team 6 who had killed Ben Laden, killing most of them.
I was looking for Andy or any of the men and ladies. I found many of the staff in the tunnel, armed and waiting. A slower and closer look around the courtyard and I saw Andy has constructed shelters in the corners of the court yard.
There were angled sand bags in each corner, at least 10 feet from each corner. I wondered where the dirt had come from and for that matter, the lumber to support the bags. There was no way it could have been trucked in.
The way defenses were set up, Andy had made a complete covering field of fire around the interior of the yard.
I wondered where the Windhoek police and Namibia military were. There were none seen in any of the sweeps I did with the cameras outside the walls. The streets were crowded with fighters and protesters.
There was no need to keep looking. I could not do anything about the events; now it was in Andy’s hands and I was not going to second guess his decisions.
I played General and now I had to wait to see how many of my men died versus the bad guys, a wait that I was not enjoying.
I stopped by the Oval Office on my way out to give the President an update on Namibia. The Secretary of State and Ambassador Eaton were there. We watched the ZNN broadcast of the events going on there. It was an interesting talk and ran over in time. I was going to be late at the House hearing.
This time four secret service agents walked up the steps to the house with me. It was a good thing – the media was out in force, all of them surrounded the agents trying to get them to stop so they could ask questions.
At the top of the steps the House Sergeant at Arms was waiting, “You’re late; I will escort you to the room.”
There were more Representatives in this hearing than there had been in the Senate hearing this morning. They were all jockeying for TV time.
“Ambassador Jones. Nate Slick, Sweet Home Alabama. What progress is being made in apprehending the terrorist Saif?”
“The task force has only been in business 4 days. It is just getting its feet wet and in those four days we already have had to increase its size; there is so much data coming in to deal with,” I said.
“However, slow progress is being made in answer to your question. I just cannot go into details today,” I added.
“Ambassador Jones, Bridget Harper, Helena Montana. In your acceptance speech the other day you lightly touched on security improvements at all major events; has any work been done on that program yet?”
“Ms. Harper and fellow Representatives; I appreciate very much that you are identifying yourself and home state before your questions. Being new at this part of the Washington process, it really helps me familiarize myself with you and your state,” I said.
“To answer your question, there is only a brief outline of possible changes and suggestions at this time. As the task force moves forward in that area I will ask to address this body for guidance and suggestions before the policy is written in stone,” I said.
Make them feel important and they will think they have your ear, even if they don’t. My political skills were improving.
“The current focus of the task force is to stop Saif and all of our energies are in that direction,” I said.
“Ambassador Jones, Martin Sacks Nevada. On the international front, one of your embassy security teams is in a fire fight as we speak. Can you give us an update on that?”
“At my last update the fight was still going on, the embassy was taking heavy mortar fire from the terrorists with substantial damage being done to the embassy buildings and grounds. At this time that is all that I can say on the matter,” I said.
I answered more questions, reaching for another hour and a half covering domestic terrorism and my opinions on how to deal with the issues and uncertainties associated with it.
My session was ending when my phone rang. It was the President’s chief of staff, “You have done very well. Use this call as an excuse to end your testimony. Simply say you have been called to the White House. The limo is on its way to pick you up.”
“Ladies and gentleman, I have to say this has been a much different experience than I expected. Hopefully as the days and weeks move on I can make it a regular occurrence to update you on progress and to work at a dialog developing a national policy for security of public events and institutions.”
“I must return to the White House; my ride is on the way,” I said as I stood and closed up my notes.
I had to shake hands and pose for pictures with more Representatives again as I made my way out. The agents were waiting for me on the top step.
I would have gladly walked the two miles from the hill to the White House just to have time to clear my head. But that was not the case today. The driver had us back in 8 minutes. They had one of those controls that made all of the traffic lights green for them.
I went straight to the Oval Office where the President and his staff were watching ZNN news updates of the attack and the video that was still coming from the state department feed.
It was dark there now and there were just sporadic explosions; half of the cameras were destroyed.
I did not like the comments coming from the President’s assistant chief of staff; arrogant, impatient, demanding – a side of him I had not seen before. I quickly became sick of it. It was even worse when I found out the bastard had opposed sending any military resources to the area to be able to help.
Even though the US had military assets in Africa, there were none close enough to help now. With the 2 days notice there would have been, had the asshole not went out of his way to stop it.
I sent Robert a text, “Can you hack the State Department video link and take all the video from Namibia off line? Possibly making it accessible only to your and my ID? Or better yet, have Andy pull the power plugs on all the servers and unplug the cameras and any backup power supplies to kill them so they don’t record anything.”
I would put them in the dark; only my people were there anyhow. I took the elevator to down to the fourth floor where the task force was finishing up for the night.
The big table was covered in big sheets of paper, with family trees drawn all over them from phone number to phone number. They were in groups of three working with different numbers with the Celeste and Mona filling in the tree. Bobbie and Cassy were transferring it to a computer program.
On the charts, numbers were marked inactive or active and had notations about information from that phone. Progress had been made today in my absence.
The verbal motivation this morning had worked. All the alphabet soups had their jackets off and were working together, even sharing their departmental computers.
I estimated that the process was going to take two or three more days to really get a good handle on where the numbers were leading.
I logged into the Namibia video just to see if Robert had been successful, turned off the sound, and put it on the screens. It had only been on a few minutes when the screens went black.
“That’s not a good sign,” Smith commented.
“May not be as bad as you think; just think of all the good things that happen after dark,” I replied.
If Robert was successful at keeping the cameras off, Andy could pull out all the stops with ending the assault without worry of repercussions. It was my intentions to have Robert clean the servers or to have Andy unplug them and destroy them before he left.
I had two more hours that I could spend here, then it was Victor and Joni’s wedding rehearsal.
I answered my phone to hear Kent Dalton say, “The governor and I spoke at length today about the possible raids. We both believe that if the first scenario you described happens, the military should go in first with the State Police backing them up.”
“If it is an activity on the site generated raid, our SWAT teams will go in first and they have been put on alert status for the weekend. As far as your request, we will do our best to keep the media out. They have drones and a chopper so that may be tough,” he said.
“It is imperative to keep the media out of it. The longer Saif thinks he is still undercover, the more likely he won’t go underground. Use whatever means necessary,” I replied.
I worked with the force for another hour and we called it quits until Monday morning.
As soon as I left, I called Andy on the satellite phone, “Howdy boss, how are things?” I asked.
“In turmoil, they have run out of mortars and RPGs without seeing a surrender flag. It did not hurt that the gun drones found where they were firing the mortars from. A couple of sweeps took them out of commission. According to the radio, they are getting ready to storm the gates. I pulled the plugs as Robert wanted; are you sure you want to do that?” Andy replied.
“Yes, make sure everything is unplugged; that way where is no video to dispute what you say happened. Take no prisoners unless you think they are leaders. The doc needs one or two to practice on before Saif,” I replied.
The wedding rehearsal was happiness abound. I treated the after rehearsal dinner at the Inn.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.