I made one more call, “General Fillmore, given the events of last night you can proceed with the farm raid any time you want. We are still looking for Saif”s computer to see if he left any diagrams on it. You may want to wait until Monday; hopefully, we should know something by then.”
“Monday would suit the teams better, many are on leave for the holidays and do get back on Monday,” he replied.
“Give me a time Monday when they are going to begin and I will try to be there,” I replied.
With ten minutes to spare I walked into the Oval Office to meet with the rest of the VIPs to establish the pecking order for the press conference speeches.
The only good thing that came to mind as I followed the group of VIPs out to the rose garden was it was an unusually warm day for Thanksgiving.
The President spoke first.
“Thanksgiving Day is traditionally about friends and family, to celebrate and enjoy the bounty of nature in food and friendship.”
“Today we are filled with sorrow and fear from the events of the last few months. As you know there were six massive raids last night. Those raids were ordered by the terrorist task force.”
“There were many agencies involved and there has been one person keeping everyone pointed in the right direction. There is no one better qualified to put the pieces together for you than the chairperson of the task force.”
“Ambassador Jones, you have the podium.”
I was just stepping forward when an agent handed me a sheet of paper that I quickly read and handed to the President, who responded with, “YES” and a fist pump.
“First, I have to give credit where credit is due and that is to all the agencies that have worked 24/7 to put together last night’s raids; the FBI, DHS, CIA, NSA, ATF, DEA, the border Patrol and the JBG intelligence group.”
“Last but in a major role were the Minnesota, Kentucky, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana and Maryland state police SWAT teams. I also want to thank the Gainesville, Raleigh, Lexington, and Columbia city police for the use of their SWAT teams.”
“Sadly, officers from that list paid the ultimate price to protect the public,” I said.
“For a quick overview; the terrorists were going to target six college football games today, with ten suicide bombers and automatic weapons at each stadium.”
“The six college games were the Seminoles / Gators, at Ben-Hill Griffin stadium at Gainesville, Florida.”
“The Cardinals / Wildcats at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky.”
“Penn State/ Maryland at the Capital 1 stadium in Baltimore.”
“Tar Heels / Wolfpack at the Carter Finley stadium in Raleigh, NC.”
“Hoosiers / Purdue Boilermakers at the Ross Ade stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana”
“The Clemson Tigers / SC Gamecocks at William Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina”
“That explains the locations of last night’s raids. Weeks of intelligence and following leads in the search for Saif Alawai al-Jawfi finally paid off, and in the process closed one avenue for entry of the terrorist pipeline into the US.”
“Back to the raids; thirty officers lost their life last night, sixty-five more were listed in critical condition another sixty-seven have less serious injuries. This morning twenty of those on the critical list were upgraded to serious.”
“There were 150 terrorists killed in the raids. At this point in the investigation, we have to assume all the suicide bombers and fighters were killed. It will be days before we know for sure. With a positive DNA result we do know that Saif Alawai al-Jawfi is one of the dead.”
“One last piece of information; the task force rushed advanced surveillance equipment and hundreds of personnel to those games today to prevent as many of those bombers from gaining entry into today’s games as possible.”
“Additionally, if you are going to any of the football games, I would advise everyone NOT to carry any weapons of any kind, even if you have permits for them. Make no mistake, every police officer in the nation is on high alert and will take no chances.”
“If you are approached by a police officer, make no sudden moves, keep your hands in plain sight, be respectful and do what you are asked or told to do. If you feel you have been unjustly targeted, the courts and lawyers can straighten it out. All the lawyers and judges in the world cannot bring you back from the grave.”
“Even with the best case scenario, our estimates were that possibly a thousand or more would have died if they had gained entry to the games. We owe a debt to those officers and their families that lost their lives last night and to the wounded who could take weeks, even months to recover.”
“Again, I want to thank every agency and every individual that helped put this together and stop the attack,” I said, then added, “Mr. President, the podium is yours,” I as I turned away and walked to the rear of the group.
The directors of each agency spoke, followed by the Attorney General. The Vice-President and Speakers of the House and Senate each had their say. I stood at the back and waited for the inevitable.
The President went back to the podium.
“I will take a few questions,” The President said. I knew right then I was in trouble.
“Ambassador Jones; given the number of police causalities, could this have been done a different way?” she asked as I walked back to the podium.
“Of course, however it is illegal to use bombs and missiles against civilians. But I did think about that for a second. Of all the scenarios, the task force with all the partners believed this was the only way to handle the raids and stay within the law,” I replied.
“The raids last night were essentially a target of opportunity. Intelligence in the last 18 hours placed all the players together for a short period of time. It was too good of an opportunity to let go. The other options were not good at all,” I said.
“Ambassador, there was another center in New Jersey that exploded and burned to the ground. Was that center also targeted by the task force?” Hanna asked.
“No, it was not part of this operation. I believe the reports from the area are saying it was caused by a natural gas leak,” I replied.
“Ambassador, Sheryl Walls NCC channel 41; you said that the games were the targets and the raids were target of opportunity. If the suicide bombers had gained entry to the games, what options were left?”
“It was the intention to keep the bombers out of the stadium by whatever means necessary. I believe that there was enough manpower technology to do that,” I replied.
“Brooke Adams USA news red online; Ambassador, are the raids over?”
“Given the current world situation I do not believe the raids will truly ever be over; there may be times of calm but the need for another one will always be there,” I replied.
“Are there any more raids scheduled for today?”
“There are no raids scheduled by the task force for today,” I replied.
“When will the body cam videos be released?”
“Body cams are not a federal requirement, all departments participating in the raids were required to abide by the federal rules and guidelines set down by the task force. Any agency that refused to go by those guidelines was excluded. There is no body cam video,” I replied.
The questions went on for another twenty minutes on live TV until my phone rang; it was the Columbia DHS office. I stepped away from the podium to take the call and allowed the President to take over, “We have Saif’s computer and phone. Eric texted instructing us that we are to send it to you special delivery, in care of Morton Field. The plane will be there in three hours.”
It turned into an hour and a half news conference; when it ended I took the girls to the White House cafeteria for lunch. Then we watched all six of the games hoping for the best and expecting the worst.
The media had recovered by game time and attended in force the six games, and documented all the extra security.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.