One thing I had failed to take into consideration was that all the other five leaders were as dedicated to the cause as Saif was. In fact, they were more dedicated and determined to further the cause and dying.
Baltimore was the first to be hit. The SWAT team assembly point was the closest to the learning center. Ramming the cars out the way only served to give them the warning they were wanting.
The first SWAT team members through the door were met with a hail of gunfire, many of them going down while returning fire. Stun grenades were thrown by the team that came in the rear doors creating enough confusion that more SWAT teams got in.
Moments later several suicide vests were detonated obliterating most of the terrorists. In the process more SWAT members went down. Those that didn’t vented their rage on any terrorists that were alive with bullets.
The process was repeated at West Lafayette, Gainesville, Lexington and Raleigh. The suicide vests killed and injured both the SWAT teams and terrorist. The SWAT teams administered cold hard revenge.
Columbia was a different story. Saif lived up to my expectations; I had said he was not the suicidal type. At the first sound of the cars being moved by the MRAPS he gave orders then ran for the back of the building.
He was met in the hall by the FBI team that recognized him and hesitated putting a bullet in him, allowing him to surrender.
With automatic weapons and explosions going off in the front of the building, it was a miracle they let him surrender at all.
I had been too busy listening to all the radio reports and video from the teams and had not watched the events at NJ. When I did, I saw my men carrying out computers and searching the place while walking among the bodies.
I did not know if Rafi Quastri was dead or alive. I saw Howie placing charges and incendiaries around the building, one by a mass of pipes and also in the electrical room. I realized that he was going to disable the sprinkler system and alarm system to allow the incendiaries to do their thing.
I killed the screen. I had recorded the film and could look at it later. Howie was going to make sure terrorists would never again use the building.
By midnight things had started to settle down enough that I started receiving numbers.
At Baltimore there were six agents dead, ten in critical condition another ten with various injuries. Terrorist dead numbered twenty-four.
At Lexington there were four agents dead, fifteen in critical condition with another nine with various injuries, terrorists dead numbered twenty-six with two critical.
Apparently agents there needed to spend more time on the target range.
At West Lafayette there were five agents dead, twelve in critical and another twelve with lesser injuries. Terrorists dead was twenty-four.
At Gainesville there were six agents dead, eleven in critical and another ten with lesser injuries. Terrorists dead were twenty-six.
At Raleigh there were five agents dead, nine in critical and another fourteen with lesser injuries. Terrorists dead was twenty-two.
At Columbia there were four agents dead, two more from the Columbia PD SWAT team, eight in critical and twelve more with lesser injuries. The terrorists dead were twenty-six. I included Saif in the dead count because he was soon going to join the dead after questioning.
Saif was on his way to the jail at Camp Smith. The agent in charge had followed my instruction when they captured him alive. They had bagged him, cuffed him and gotten him away from there. Only two people knew he was captured. Lorrie had a King Air standing by at the airport just in case.
Rafi Quastri, his number one assistant and most of the OPS team were on the way back from NJ in another plane. Those left there were going to clean up the houses and drive back tomorrow with the rest of the equipment.
Shortly after midnight the President and Troy came in; we went over the numbers. We had a very long talk and then we talked about a press conference.
“Mr. President, I have ordered a complete news blackout until I get a total handle on the sites and see the condition of injured tomorrow morning,” I said.
“I still want all the security for the games to remain in effect just to be sure,” I added.
“Shouldn’t this put an end to the threat to the games?” the President asked.
“Yes, but there is always a chance until we know for sure that all of the vest are accounted for and that could take days. We have spent a lot of money and time to get everything set up; let’s use it and then campfire what the weaknesses are and the changes to be made,” I replied.
“This is not the end of it, there were at least 200 individuals who we believe came in through the tanker connection. We do not know how many have come across the border with the drug connection. Was that a new operation? I think not!” I said.
We settled on 1000 for a news conference.
I sent the rest of the team home; they all lived in the area, most of them would be home in thirty minutes.
“Are you going home?” the President asked.
“No, by time I got into bed I would have come back. I will just sleep in the chair or on the floor,” I replied.
“There is no one in the Lincoln bedroom, you can sleep there. The laundry can clean your clothes overnight,” the President said.
“That sounds OK,” I replied.
I sent a text to the girls. I figured they were still up, and called the command center for one last time. Just the duty person was working now.
Then I followed the President into the residential portion of the White House. I was going out to the Suburban to get my go bag. I was stopped by an agent who asked where I was going.
“Give me your keys and I will get it for you,” he said.
I followed a maid to the kitchen where I refilled my mug and helped myself to a couple pastries. I filled out the breakfast sheet before following her to the Lincoln Bedroom.
“Put your dirty clothes in the bag and put it outside the door. In the morning they will be on a cart by the door,” she said.
The agent handed me my go bag before I closed the door to shower and call it a night, but not before taking a few pictures with my phone and sending them to the girls.
My phone alarm woke me at 0600 and as promised my clothes were on a rack outside the door.
At 0615 there was a knock at the door, “Your breakfast with the President will be in the dining room at 0630,” the maid said and then added, “The White House photographer would like to take some official photos of you in the Lincoln Room, if you don’t mind.”
“That’s fine, send him in. I would like to have copies myself,” I replied.
The maid quickly straightened up the bed for the pictures.
The photographer took several pictures as I was finishing up to set the camera. I was just reaching for my shoulder holster when the photographer asked me to stop. I had hung the holster with the Glock and my knife on the back of the chair in front of the replica roll up desk.
“Let me take a couple pictures of that and then I want you to sit in the chair with it there; you can be working on your phone,” he said.
He took a lot of pictures, I thought, finishing up with me in my jacket standing beside the fancy desk.
I met the President and the First Lady for breakfast.
After breakfast I had to sit in on the staff meeting that was attended by several high ranking members of Congress. Then I went to Section 12 to get updates on the raids. I walked into my office at 0730.
No more agents had died over night, but twenty had been upgraded to serious. That was good news. At Lexington the two terrorists who survived had died of their wounds.
I had lost thirty agents in last night’s raids. The terrorist had lost 150. I wondered why the terrorist numbers were so high. I knew there were to be ten suicide bombers at each location, ten shooters and six leaders; that was a total of 126. Where did the rest come from?
Were they drivers or terrorists being trained for the next attacks? More questions to be answered later. Maybe after the identification process was done, there would be some light shed on subject.
I called and talked to the girls for a while and invited them to the news conference. It was then I remembered to call Hanna.
Then I called Robert and asked him to keep watching the phone calls. I was expecting the Prince to go crazy today. If he called other numbers in the US with the same phone, we would know there were more for sure.
I called the Doc, “I have an emergency for you. I need DNA from Saif to confirm he is dead – and he will be Monday after we interrogate him – he is in one of the cells. Rip off a couple of fingers and an ear, pack them in ice and box it very good, get Ed or Bill to assist. Oh, it needs to look like it was caused by an explosion.”
“I have told Marcy to wait for a package from you. She is leaving as soon as she gets the package to come over. Make sure there is nothing on or in the box to identify us,” I said.
I called and talked with each of the SWAT team leaders for last night’s raid and updated the numbers. They were all still under a news blackout. All of them wanted to know when they could hold a news conference; they were under pressure from multiple sources to do so.
I did a joint VCATS conference video call to all of them.
“Have all the families of the dead and injured team members been notified and arrangements made?” I asked.
“Yes,” all of them replied. I was going to be extremely upset if they had not been. That is always the first order of business before the reporters started knocking on their doors.
There is nothing that makes me angrier than a reporter shoving a mike in the face of the grieving and asking, “How do you feel?”
“At 0930 each of you can hold a general news conference. Make sure you have all the agencies that participated at your location on the platform with you. The last thing we need is a turf war,” I said then added.
“State the obvious and give away no details; it was a multi agency multi-location anti-terrorist raid ordered by the Task force and you can only report on the events at your location. You can give a general overview of their plans to attack the football games,” I said.
“Make sure you emphasize that extra security measures will be in effect for the games and that fans should arrive early and expect to be searched, including coolers and bags.”
“You should also add that given the events of last night and the heightened security, all weapons – permitted or not – will be seized and those individuals detained,” I said and added, “I would suggest that you take no questions.”
“At 1000 the President and the task force will have a news conference here and tie the numbers and everything else together,” I added.
I took the call I knew was coming from the Baltimore Mayor, the Police Chief and the city prosecutor. They had assumed they had a day to file an appeal of my ban excluding them. To sum it up: they were livid.
Now they were demanding to take over control of the investigation in accordance with Baltimore criminal laws, because it was in their jurisdiction.
“As far as I am concerned you can go fly a kite; you had the opportunity and chose not to comply with the rules as they were laid out.”
“This was an international terrorist organization and Federal jurisdiction prevails, involving multiple federal agencies. If your people attempt to enter the site or interfere they will be arrested,” I said and then I closed the call.
Baltimore’s mayor Blum was pissed and it was only going to get worse when the news leaked out, and it was already trickling out. Baltimore’s TV stations were as liberal as they could get but they had city pride.
There was none of the normal bragging coming from the PD public relations department. The media who were asking questions were used to having a line into the department. The anonymous source sort of thing they used all the time was no help.
Marcy and the girls arrived at the White House at 0915. Doc Burns had been efficient and fast.
Marcy handed me a bag with the box that I handed to the FBI representative.
“Take this to the forensics lab for DNA comparison, we need the results now. I think it may be Saif. Put a rush on it,” I said.
The girls saw Hanna in the press section and went to talk with her.
I had less than forty minutes to verify facts and make an outline for a speech. In Section 12 the six press conferences were playing and being recorded as I made notes.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.