We were airborne with Marine 1 in sight a couple miles ahead of us. We were flying at a slower speed to allow the media to catch up and land first at the White House.
We had been airborne 15 minutes when my phone went crazy with text tones. Robert was blasting them.
“We got the break this morning.”
“You need to see and this means NOW! It is going to be bad.”
“This could be worse than 9-11 for causalities.”
“My federal team will be there in a few minutes; we are coming up on the island now. You can run all this in the command center, correct?” I sent.
“Yes. Of course,” Robert replied.
I tapped pilot Kale Hopper on the shoulder, “Divert course, land in the grass field behind the gym.”
The next was a call, “Mr. President, I have had my JBG intelligence team working on Diya’s telephone information. They made a breakthrough this morning. Robert is telling me it could be worse than 9-11 in causalities. He has the data. We are diverting to my main office. There is room for your chopper to land there if you and your staff want the briefing first hand,” I said.
The chopper had made the turn towards the gym when Troy called to hear what I had told the President for him self. I heard Troy tell the President, “I agree, let’s go hear it.”
I called Marcy to have her send all the Suburban’s to the choppers after the rotors stopped turning. The next call was to the State Police barracks to send officers to guard the choppers while we were out of sight of them, with a word of advice, “Do not broadcast what their assignment is or who they are protecting. Just send them here quickly and no sirens.”
Five minutes later we were on the ground; ten minutes later Marine 1 was in sight setting up to touch down.
The engine from the Island Fire Company was standing by just in case there was a problem. I had called the Chief direct with the request and the no sirens and no public broadcast of the assignment. The four state police officers were there as well as 4 sheriff’s cars.
Marcy, Jenny, Ching Lee, and Jason all drove Suburban’s up to the choppers.
“BJ, you may want to go through the house entrance. There are a lot of customers in the gym today; it has really been busy,” Marcy said.
“Frank and Eric and a couple more are coming; they were at a meeting at the agency hangar. They should be here in 10 to 15 minutes. Bring them down when they get here, please. I told them to ask for you,” I said.
With everyone in the 4 car garage, I keyed the code to open the steel roll-up overhead door that hid the elevator and the stairs to the tunnel. A swipe of my card and a retina scan opened the elevator door, and the same procedure opened the door to the stairs.
Down in the tunnel, the next door closed the new tunnel at the 8×8 box – a swipe and a scan opened that one. Then there was the one on that closed off the original tunnel at the box. Those were the two doors that Marcy wanted – for security reasons – to lock out portions of the tunnel.
When we walked out into the brightly lit basement, the talking changed to complete silence as the group followed me to the command center. I held the door, “Take a seat gentlemen.”
I walked in behind them staring at the front wall. Robert and his group of spooks built it just like I had envisioned the command center should be.
In the center of the wall was one big flat screen; judging by the 10 foot high ceiling it was six feet high and was at least 10 feet wide. To the right of it were 16 smaller flat screens in a crescent for easy viewing from the theater seating. One each for each the colleges, Morton Field and the gym above; all were flipping through the cameras at the sites.
To the left of the big screen were 20 more small flat screens for the embassy sites; each of them were flipping through the cameras, then all 20 would switch to 20 more embassies. It took four series to get through all 80 embassies.
“I guess the government is not the only one that has secrets,” Ben said.
“Looks like the NSA might be falling into second place. All this and you knew nothing about it,” the CIA guy said trying to get a dig in at Ben.
“I would not be saying that too loud, you were in the dark as much as they were.” Frank, Eric and Marcy, Ching Lee and Vicky had walked in and were standing behind the pair, and then they made their way to me.
“You know there are more surprises with you than a case of Cracker Jacks and more secrets than a soap opera plot,” Frank replied.
“A girl always has a few secrets! It is the nature of the gender and everybody loves a surprise; I’m glad you approve,” I replied.
Robert called me off to the side, “They made four different groups of calls today. There is one number that was called; it was an international call to an active satellite phone belonging to Crown Prince Sultan al-Zahab. It was not from the phone that we though was Saif’s. There was a 7th phone today”
“The money man; can you black out the Prince’s number?”
“I can put a black box on it. Do you want anything in the box?” Robert asked.
“Classified top secret; JBG/BJ,” I replied.
“Only take a moment then we can start. It will still show as a Saudi Arabia call,” Robert replied.
“You have the floor; just the facts, don’t give away any of your secrets,” I replied.
A few minutes later with Burt, Jay Rudd, and Christina Peete operating the control consoles, Robert began.
“When the numbers were removed from Diya’s phone, BJ tasked our department with breaking down those numbers, the same as the task force. We chose to concentrate on the inactive numbers and let the task force experts concentrate on whatever.”
“It has been our experience in law enforcement that serious criminals, pedophiles, and terrorist use burn phones exclusively for their activities. In our opinion tracking active numbers is a waste of time.”
“That said we began tracking those numbers two weeks ago. Ten days ago six of those phones went active within one minute and 4 minutes later went back inactive; the batteries were pulled to make them go that way. Four minutes was not long enough to establish location tracking but the computers saved all the data they collected.”
“Three days later they went active again and in the same fashion dead after 4 minutes. The computers and programs were within 30 seconds of completing the location process. We added a new piece to the program that would possibly record the conversations.”
“Today they made a four minute call again; we have the locations and voice recordings. To our surprise they waited ten minutes and called again a total of four times.”
Burt started with the 1st call; they were speaking in Pashto with a mix of Arabic. Then he played the next three.
When the four calls were over the plan was somewhat clear. They were going to do terror strikes on six Thanksgiving Day college football games. Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana, South Carolina were to be attacked simultaneously. The games over-lapped and all would be playing at the same time on national TV.
The fifth call was the call that the number was blacked out. It was between Saif, Rafi Quastri and the Prince. It reveled more of the plan. The Prince was questioning his investment and the call lasted 10 minutes, even with prodding from Saif to end it.
They were going to send ten suicide bombers into each game to detonate at the same time. When the crowd fled the stadium they were going to be mowed down by gunfire. Saif made the entire vest while he was in Minnesota. The group leaders already had them.
The call also confirmed that the farm was indeed heavily booby trapped.
The heavy automatic weapons had made the trip from Venezuela and were crossing the border from Mexico this week in six different SUV.
Rafi Quastri was the US mastermind, organizer and spiritual leader for the groups and reported directly to the Prince. Rafi Quastri had a compound in New Jersey.
There were now four on my list.
At the end the questions started – with the technical ones first – from both the CIA and NSA guys almost at the same time.
“Just how in the hell did you manage to do this? We want that program. Every bit of it,” they directed at Robert and his team.
I answered for him, “That’s classified and no you will not get that program. Not one bit of it.”
“What was in the black classified box?”
“Classified speaks for itself,” I replied.
“We have the highest classified clearance,” the assistant Director of the CIA responded getting louder with every word.
“That is a US government classification you have and holds no water in this building or command center; it is not worth squat,” I replied.
“Just why not?” he shot back.
It did not help his cause that Eric, Frank and Ben did not say a word in his defense, they just did eye rolls and slowly shaking their heads. They knew when I made a decision, it was set in stone.
“Let’s see; first there was Snowden, then WIKI leaks, then hacks of the IRS, NSA and the Defense department. If we give you access, we just as well publish it on the front page of the New York Post and the Moscow daily news,” I replied.
“Point well made,” the President replied.
“If any piece of this leaks out and they radically change plans, you will have 60 suicide vests walking the malls on Black Friday; that is not a very enticing picture.”
“It seems Washington is a leaky bucket. The only ones that know anything about this are standing in this room. If there are leaks, my team will find you and I will personally have a bullet put in the back of your head along with everyone else connected to the leak,” I replied.
“Mr. President, you promised me unrestricted authority and resources to find and get Saif. Are there any changes that we need to discuss?” I asked.
“None what-so-ever! I want him and his associates in body bags more than ever,” the President replied.
“I may need some Presidential pardons,” I replied.
“Just say the word,” he replied.
“Christina, open a VCATS, Ambassador Reddick please.”
“Vicky, how many of the people from Namibia are ready to return?” I asked.
“Fifteen of the twenty,” she replied.
“Tell them to pack their bags; they will be leaving today,” I said.
Andy was on. “Ambassador, are you comfortable with releasing the special ops team and five others? I have fifteen of the regular crew that can go back today,” I said.
“Sure that is fine. I take it that things are progressing. That is good news. Call me when the plane leaves; I will get them packed. Send me a list of any hardware you want back,” he replied.
“Will do,” I replied.
“Vicky; have Mischief and Mayhem made any progress on that list of twenty four?” I asked.
“Yes, all have been confirmed,” Vicky replied.
“Call the ones across the water; find out how soon they can start. I have a special mission for them to participate in. Send tickets or a jet if you have to,” I instructed.
“Ching Lee, call Sherman at Minneapolis, Kelly at Rochester and Patti at KCC; tell them to cross-train all the full time people on the scanners and thermal equipment this week. Tell them to have those people pack go bags and be ready to leave on thirty minutes notice starting Friday morning. Also tell them we may have to borrow the equipment for a few days.”
I called Dad, “Make me two more of the suicide belts for training. Don’t bother with the wiring, battery or phone – just the pipes – as soon as possible please.”
Next was a call to Robert Bradberry of East Coast Security, “Bradberry, I need sixty thermal units and sixty scanners. I need them in seven days.”
“I don’t know if that can happen,” he replied.
“Tell them to work overtime and Saturday and Sunday if they have to. If they need more convincing, I will send someone over with a badge and a baseball bat to work on knee caps and knuckles, this is a national emergency,” I said.
“Knee caps and knuckles with a baseball bat, I feel sorry for them just thinking about that. Surely you would not do that to anyone,” Troy replied.
“The hell she won’t and more!” It was Ben that replied; he had finally come to the conclusion that I was not a kind and gentle person at times.
“Eric, the border patrol has to stop those heavy weapons no matter what it takes. If you need more resources, now is the time to ask.”
“My thinking says they are driving in a convoy of six to ten vehicles, possibly with cartel escorts to avoid the gang and cartel infighting. They will split up just before coming across the border or shortly thereafter,” I said.
“It would be nice to stop them in some little hell hole Mexican town making it look like a gang fight. That would put a chink in the planning and might spur more phone calls. I’m betting they will make the crossing after dark, led by a drug mule through some little Texas border town,” I added.
“Can we get a satellite on station, U2 or drones to look for a convoy or anything suspicious or similar to that?” I asked.
“Make it happen,” the President ordered.
“Robert, have someone from your team stay all night. Wake me if there are any calls,” I said.
“Tomorrow we will brainstorm plans and methods with all of your agencies to stop this. Everyone needs to be in section 12 at 0800 with your A game on; we have a lot to do.”
“We have general locations and that is all; the games are ten days away and we will not waste one of them. It will take a lot of resources on the ground,” I said.
After thanking the all the police, sheriff’s deputies and fire fighters who responded, the President and my group finished the thirty minute flight back to Washington.
The White House press corps were livid and hostile that they were left out of the loop; with the President’s chopper hours late, they began questioning the White House. They began speculating mechanical problems or a crash.
Hanna had video of the President with the police and firefighters and the liftoff to Washington. Somehow she had received a tip with limits attached; it could not be aired until the 5 PM report. Hmm, I wonder who that was.
Then I endured the hour drive back from Washington; I was late. I knew the nightly update was over so I drove to the four car garage. When I pulled up to the house, Frank and Eric drove in behind me.
“I assume the blacked out name was one of the Princes?” Frank asked.
“That is an accurate guess,” I replied.
“Rafi Quastri has been under surveillance for a while,” Eric replied, “We planned to arrest him as soon as enough evidence was collected.”
“Yeah and you will have fifty-seven states – I mean nations – breathing down the State Department’s neck for locking up one of the pillars of their peaceful nonviolent religion. There will be demonstrations in the streets; when that doesn’t work, the lone wolf attacks will start,” I said.
“Besides, you know the Doc and I will learn everything he knows. Who knows, the Prince may be willing to trade billions of petro dollars for Rafi or may be we can use him to lure the Prince to someplace that is fatally dangerous,” I said.
“I will let you know a day ahead of time when to remove the surveillance,” I said then I added, “I would not want any of your people to become collateral damage. You can sit in on the Doc’s work when it comes to that, if you are up to it.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.