I was on the phone the entire trip back to Washington. Because of the others in the Suburban I used the ear piece. First Eric called back, “Tamerl El-Hassan is on his way to camp Smith; I decided we should question him first.”
“OK, no problem,” I replied.
Then the Secretary of State called, “Mexico’s raid went badly; the terrorists had been tipped off and were waiting. They shot down a chopper with 10 aboard and took heavy causalities in the initial assault. The place was everything you thought it was and worse.”
“The Federal Police Commissioner is going to hand deliver a complete report and a copy of all evidence collected. He wants to meet with you, me and the President about better cooperation between our two countries in light of events of the last few weeks,” he said.
“Set it up and let me know when,” I replied. I didn’t think I would have much choice about it.
Then Attorney General Dunne called; we talked about the 180 who were arrested today on a variety of charges. Twenty were on the run or hiding behind the union and lawyers.
It had been a productive and disturbing day all in one. It still was not over; as soon as we reached Washington there was a news conference in the White House media room.
The raids and arrests had been leaked by someone on the President’s staff after they started a normal procedure, it seemed.
The TV reporter figured out who I was as I drove away. The liberal network his station was associated with was screaming about my trampling of the public’s first amendment right to know. They were more pissed that their reporter did not know who I was and let get me away without asking any questions.
Sometimes life passes you by when you don’t pay attention to the details of the business you are in.
The self-propelled IEDs were troubling. Tonight when the Suburban was in the garage I was going to crawl under it and measure the clearance under the rear axle. I was pretty sure it was more than eight inches. If it was, one could bet all SUVs were the same. I needed to find several brands of limos to find out the same information. I would bet the six
inch model they were making was for lower cars.
I was thinking of ways to prevent the devices from getting under SUVs. Although, nine sticks detonated beside the door would not be good either. The armor would certainly help but would you survive? It made me wonder what kind of testing the armor installer did on the SUVs we bought.
There were several things for sure; when all this was released, there would be no more parked limos waiting for the client. The client would wait on the limo and it would be moving as soon as the door closed behind them.
There would be a different attitude among security personnel. They would have a lot more to look out for now, including JBG embassy security.
I went directly to the Oval Office for an update on today. The AG had the latest numbers on the arrests. After much prodding from the prosecutor in my department, the charges were much stronger than in the past.
Aiding and abetting terrorism, conspiring with terrorists, accepting bribes, treason, and the list went on; there were over a dozen charges to be applied.
I followed the group to the media center and stood in the back. The President spoke first.
“Today has been a very busy day for multiple federal law enforcement agencies. I believe great strides were made today in the war on terrorism. Agents within the United States along with the Mexican Federal Police – with information supplied by the terrorist task force – arrested hundreds of individuals and raided terrorist training camps.”
“The Sectary of State and Attorney General Dunne worked closely with the Mexican authorities and have updates on that. Mr. Dunne, the podium is yours.”
AG Dunne spoke for ten minutes about the Mexican raid, the difficulties they had and the results, then he covered all the arrests across the nation.
“The information that led to those arrests was supplied by the task force.”
He finished with, “The Commissioner of the Mexican Federal Police will be here on Monday to share information on the training camp they raided today in Monclova Mexico with the task force and other federal agencies. They will meet with Ambassador Jones and be a visitor at the news conference.”
“Ambassador Jones, you’re next. Why do you always hide in the back?” he asked when I got to the podium.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” I replied.
“Well, you might be out of sight but you can be sure you are never out of mind,” the President replied.
“Today the task force ordered three raids; all three were connected to the raids last week and Saif Alawai al-Jawfi. Two were training camps and one was the apartment complex they used to house and hide the terrorists.”
“Weapons, bombs, suicide belts and vests and an IED manufacturing shop that had various types of IED in all stages of manufacture were all seized along with computers and records,” I said .
“It has been a good day in the fight against terrorism. We also learned the terrorists had progressed to a new level in weapons development against unsuspecting civilians and political leaders,” I said.
“These new weapons will be evaluated immediately by experts and we hope to have information distributed to all police agencies early next week,” I said.
“The podium is yours Mr. President,” I said as I started to walk away.
“You just as well stand here. You know questions are going to be directed to you,” he replied.
He looked at an agent, “Keep time; ten minutes and that is it.”
“Ambassador Jones, according to one of our media partners you were at the Moorefield raid site, what were you doing there and why did you keep the reporters out?”
“Several members of the task force and I were there as observers. DHS Director Eric Robinson and others went to NY as observers.”
“The access road to the site was a 3 mile narrow one lane dirt and rock road in bad condition, getting worse with each vehicle. There were more individuals there than expected; that required more officers and ambulances than expected. On top of that, there was unexploded ordnance and ammunition in a lot of places. In other words, it was not safe,” I said.
“Many of you missed it. I don’t think any local stations carried the reports but the site in Minnesota where Saif made the belts and vest was raided on Monday. There were over 40 IEDs and other explosive devices there as booby traps. We have to assume the same with every site now,” I said.
“Can you tell us more on terror weapons?’
“Until we fully evaluate the effectiveness, danger and counter measures; no. Hopefully by Monday’s news conference there will be answers,” I replied.
“However, evidence of the testing they did indicates the weapon is going to be very dangerous. I do believe they are solely going to be directed at our leaders, bankers and other high value targets because of the cost and method of delivery,” I added.
“What do you consider other high value targets Ambassador?”
“Public transportation including school buses would be a big one, fuel tankers and there are thousands of them on the road every day,” I replied.
“Time’s up,” the agent announced.
“Hopefully on Monday the task force will have a lot more information to present at the news conference at the FBI proving grounds,” I replied.
On the way home I called Robert and Howie, “I hate to ask as busy as everyone has been, but I have some things I need you to do tomorrow so I can have them on Monday. I will be on the Island in thirty minutes”
Thirty minutes later I was in the garage loading the computers onto a cart sitting in the elevator. Robert was in his office when I pushed the cart in. I explained that I need all the files copied so Robert would have his own copy. Then a look at the files to see what they were and how urgent the information was.
I took the box of DVDs into the house to look at them tonight. Howie was coming in the morning to look at the mobile IED setup. The last thing I did was to print off all the pictures on my phone that I had taken today, then send the picture file to my email.
I was just walking through the door to the kitchen when my phone rang one more time.
“I have Tamerl El-Hassan in cuffs and will be at Camp Smith in 15 minutes; can you meet me there to help restrain him to your standards?” Eric asked.
Vicky, Ching Lee and I went and helped secure Eric’s prisoner. Ching Lee picked up supper for him at the restaurant.
“When did you want to meet the Doc to do his thing?” I asked.
“Try to set it up for Monday evening. Has Marcy got some kind of accounting code for this?” Eric asked.
“I’m sure she has, I think she uses facilities rental with special accommodations,” I replied.
Friday night after supper and family time, the girls and I watched all the DVDs I had brought from the Moorefield site numbered 1-10. They were recording the progress they were making as if it would a propaganda movie.
There was no surprise that Saif was involved with the IED manufacture. The quality of those on the workbench told me someone was a perfectionist. He wasn’t bashful; he was in a lot of the pictures and video.
Of all the questions we had asked him, I guess we had overlooked asking what he was working on. Then again, he may have felt it was so important to the cause he would take it to his grave before giving it up.
The surprise was he had two people he was training; hopefully we had them in the raid or were among the dead. A couple of the DVDs were on the manufacture. The rest were on the testing with audio descriptions about each one tested.
Saif and the two came up with the right amount of TNT to send the titanium cutter through the floor of the car. I was distressed watching video of a test as the three removed and held up a piece of ½ inch armor plate they had placed in one of the test cars. The titanium plug had gone through and come out the roof of the car.
Somewhere in the area there was a very advanced machine shop making the threaded plugs for them. There had been a box of them on the assembly bench. There were no machines in the workshop capable of working with titanium.
Titanium is extremely hard to work with and expensive. I wondered if the 155 shells and the titanium both came from a military base. Most large military bases had advanced machine shops with the best machines money could buy. More things to check into on Monday.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.