We used the tunnel to the command center, “Jay, what do you have?”
Jay played the recorded phone conversations.
“Damn, play that again,” I said.
“How can anyone be that stupid; this has to be a setup? They had to have found out we are watching,” I said.
Then I had another thought, “Are they really that confident, or over confident?”
“I’m going back to Washington. Vicky, call Ed and Bill, tell them to suit up and be ready to carry out the plan by 2100; monitor and report but wait for command. I will call you,” I said. Then I added, “Find out if there is some way Robert can connect to their net broadcast from NJ.”
It was a good thing I filled the Suburban with fuel on the way home; it was going to be run hard.
I called the task force members to get to Section 12 immediately, before I left the yard.
I called Marty Coeburn, “Have your team watching the new cameras at the learning centers report activity to me every 10 minutes.”
“What’s going on?” he asked.
“Not sure yet, but something,” I replied as I floored the gas on the Suburban and turned on the light package.
I called the State Police, “This is Ambassador Jones of the President’s task force; I need a high speed escort to the White House. I will be coming off the Bay bridge headed west in five minutes,” I said.
“Yes Ma-am just a moment; there are two troopers at the toll booth. Pull off by the admin building; they will be waiting for you. Is this line hands free, can you leave it open?” the voice replied.
“Yes I can,” I replied.
I had called on my personal JBG phone that was linked in the Suburban. The State Department phone was in the console getting fully charged. It was hands free, if I need it while it was in the rack.
I pulled up behind the two trooper cars with the lights on. The trooper from the last car walked back to the Suburban and asked, “Jones, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?”
“Yes, that is correct,” I replied.
“Follow me, the other car will come in behind you,” he replied.
Using the State Department phone I called Eric.
“Eric; pull your surveillance team away from the New Jersey site NOW.”
“OK, I take it something is up,” he replied.
“I’m on my way to Section 12 now; I called in everyone. I have already advised Marty to be watching the center videos. Put your SWAT teams on high alert. Call FBI Johnson for me, have him put his teams on high alert also. As soon as we get it sorted out I will call you. They are either on to us or have committed the dumbest move in world history,” I said.
I concentrated on driving. The normal traffic ran eighty on this stretch of the road, but when I looked at the speedometer it was at 120. We had picked up two transit authority police; they were moving people over as well.
At the main gate I stopped and went to the two State Police cars that had made the whole trip with me, thanked them for their assistance and got a card from each of them.
Agent Tull met me at the gate when I walked back, “Grab your gear, most of your team is already here. I will park it for you,” he said.
In Section 12, members of the team were already looking at live surveillance of the six centers.
The FBI had done an excellent job with the installation. They had chosen new very bright LED street light heads to put the cameras in. They were all wireless and the micro cameras angles were perfect.
“Pull still shots from the video, run it against the known terrorist list and Interpol,” I said.
It was 1930 when I rapped on the table and played the video of the initial call from the phones that Jay had recorded.
The first call was from the Prince to Rafi Quastri and lasted 15 minutes; there was a second person on with the Prince. It was the Prince’s personal spiritual advisor.
The pair ordered Rafi Quastri to conduct a special prayer vigil seeking Allah’s blessings over the terrorists and their weapons for a successful attack against the infidels.
The second call was from Rafi Quastri to the leaders, instructing them of the prayer vigil and to bring all the weapons and all participants to the six learning centers.
Rafi Quastri was going to use their internet system to do the prayers to all six learning centers at 2100 hours. That was timed to match the first call to prayer in Mecca of the day.
They were to spend the night at the centers and he would do another in the morning before they departed for the games. They were too fast and spend all time in prayer.
Saif was livid during the call but the other leaders were so enthused that the kingdom had ordered special prayers to guarantee success that Saif reluctantly gave in.
The thing now was to see if the terrorists actually showed up at the centers or was this a diversion to draw us out, if they suspected they had been compromised.
Either way, there was no way we could not be ready to act. The true giveaway would be to see Saif enter the center in Columbia, SC.
Again it was another waiting game. Many more of these and I was going to need hair color for sure.
At 2000, activity picked up on the cameras, people were going in the centers. Some of the men were wrapping things up in blankets that look to all of us like rifles.
That thought was confirmed a few minutes later when an AK47 fell out of one of the blankets.
Others were carrying in boxes that looked all the same, about a size large enough to hold an explosive belt; ten boxes to be exact. And that was ten at each of the six locations.
At 2130 Saif was spotted at Columbia giving orders. A few minutes later Saif called Rafi Quastri.
Saif wanted all the belts to be worn tonight by the volunteers for Allah so they would be comfortable when in public tomorrow. Nervous individuals always drew the attention of authorities.
“Ya big dummy, haven’t you ever heard of accidents?” I thought sleeping in the belts was another stupid idea unless they were going to disconnect the batteries. I doubted that Saif the perfectionist wanted anyone messing with his design.
Then I remembered that he soldered all the terminals so the belts had to be live.
At 2145 there was a call from Saif to the other leaders. As a precaution he wanted cars parked in a way to block the entrances to the centers. A few minutes after, those cars were indeed moved into a defensive position.
It would not matter what they did, all the SWAT teams had been put together expecting the worst. With the combined teams there were at least three MRAPS at each location.
The PD MRAPS at Baltimore and West Lafayette were replaced with four from the local National Guard units.
I called the President’s phone to find out he was at the Kennedy center for an event. I sent a text instead, “They have changed their plans we have changed ours. I am ordering the centers to be raided in fifteen minutes.” It went to the chief of staff.
The broadcast started at 2100, I guess terrorists were into hi-tech as well. Robert’s team had sent the video feed to my computer that I connected to one of the smaller flat screens.
The video from the communications drone from NJ went live. The guys were checking out equipment. I sent it to another screen; I shouldn’t have but I wanted to watch.
There appeared to be no more people going into the centers. At ten after I called the six in charge of the SWAT teams, “Remind your teams they are armed, have explosives and suicidal; take no chances. You are authorized to begin the raids, GO, GO, GO.”
Many things were going to happen in a short few minutes; most of the staging sites were less than thirty minutes from the centers. DHS, FBI and state police not involved in the raid would be closing roads to allow the SWAT teams faster transit time to the centers.
I was receiving updates on the team’s progress to the sites; as soon as the first announced they were on the grounds, I called Vicky, “You are authorized to raid the complex. Go, Go, Go.”
All hell was breaking out and all I could do was watch.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.