Chapter 490

Saturday morning I gave Howie the entire set of DVDs, the IED parts and a thumb drive of pictures I had taken of the shop, including everything I had brought back for him to look at.

Robert and Burt were already in their intelligence center working on the computers.

As soon as Robert had copied all the drives from the computers, we loaded them into a waiting DHS SUV to go to their group which was doing the same thing Robert did.

Vicky and I went to feed Tamerl El-Hassan. Tamerl was not happy to be in jail and made it known. He wanted his government lawyer, NOW.

“You are in for a long wait,” I replied as I walked out.

We went to several outlets to start on Christmas shopping, as that was now just a few weeks away. We had been so busy that little had been done. There was a small Christmas tree in the living room for the boys.

We had taken both Suburbans. It was a good thing; the girls had decided that they wanted the offices decorated a little more than last year.

Lisa and Jason had carried the boys to the mall several times since Santa’s booth was in place. The boys were scared to death as most children were at that age; next year would be different.

It was three in the afternoon when Howie called me to meet him at Morton. We had just finished unloading the Suburban at the office.

All of us went to Morton to listen to Howie’s evaluation of the mobile IED. The technical detail was really over my head but I listened and tried to learn. When Howie finished there was no doubt that Saif was a master explosive expert and master bomb maker.

I asked Howie if the unit I had brought back was functional if TNT was added.

“Oh – yes, I have had it running all around,” he replied.

“Do you have any TNT to put in it to achieve the same results if I wanted you to do a live test demonstration on Monday?” I asked.

I wanted to do a little shock and awe for the congressional committees that were getting the closed briefing at the FBI proving grounds on the outskirts of DC. That was where all the evidence that had been collected was being stored. The evidence from the Friday’s raids was being sent there by truck today.

Monday morning my team was reporting to the proving grounds to help set up the displays with the four major groups, ATF, FBI, DHS, DEA and the task force. Show and tell was to start at 1300 with a major news conference at 1600, timed to hit all the early evening news shows.

“TNT is no problem; there is a case or two in the bunker with the C4,” he replied.

When we brought the things that Ben David had for us in Kampala, Lorrie insisted that we remove all the explosive things away from the Morton hangars.

I readily agreed. Howie found blueprints of explosive storage bunkers and Bobs Construction built one past the maintenance building with climate control, a blow off roof and everything.

I called Island Towing, “I have a job that has to be done 1st thing Monday morning.”

“Now, about the complete package, with the empty shell casings, the proficiency in the testing and the visual records they kept. After a review of the photographs, I believe there are ten completed units missing,” Howie said.

“Robert found a sales order where they purchased all the little trucks; that makes the numbers come close. It also makes the TNT amounts come close. Based on estimates there are twenty-two pounds of TNT unaccounted for. All this is based on the evidence you have. If they disposed of several shell casings then all the numbers are wrong.” Howie added.

“I’m hoping Robert can find a trail where they went,” I replied.

We returned to the office, the girls and I were going to decorate and then work out in the gym for a while.

We were nearly finished when Robert came into the gym.

“I think six of the missing toy IEDs went to Washington and four to New York. I will know more on Monday. Burt and I are going out of town tomorrow,” he said then added.

“The files are heavily encrypted, sometimes double or triple; the worst of any we have seen so far. This group had a new computer tech working for them; from the method of the encryption looks like DOD trained. You may want to look closely at everyone you captured at the site along with the dead to find out if they had any advanced computer training or connections to the DOD,” Robert said.

“OK, let me know Monday if you find anything. Thanks,” I replied.

Supper, boys, baths, family time and bed, tomorrow was going to be busy. With the boys sound asleep in their cribs we did touch and feel in the living room. We all missed basement play time more than we realized. It was time to clear the schedules and plan to spend next Friday night in the play room.

Mom and Dad were at the house at 0800 to watch the boys for the day. Mom had gotten more into the grandmother mode since the announcement of more grandchildren coming. I guess as my parents were getting older, family was growing more important.

Mom and Lisa always seemed to be together at our house watching the boys.

At 0930 I was setting in the makeup artist chair getting my face put on, as they liked to call it. I hated makeup and never used it; once you started using it became an addiction. The makeup girl was the same one that made me up the last time I was here. The hardware didn’t faze her this time.

One last trip to the bathroom and then the sound man wired me up for audio. The sound man was the one who was shaken when he reached inside my jacket to run the microphone wire and found my Glock.

At 1030 I was standing in the wings waiting for the introduction, listening to the opening music.

“Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Sunday Morning Washington with Arthur Kennedy, Candy Brown and David Young.”

“Guests today are former Defense Department international expert on terrorism Cliff Wendell, former CIA terrorism advisor to the President Oliver Conley and Special guest Chairperson of the Presidents Terrorism Task Force Ambassador Roberta Jones.”

“Gentlemen, Ambassador welcome to the show today. Ambassador; do you have any idea how hard it has been going through channels to get you on the show?” Arthur asked.

“I have been quite busy the last few months,” I replied then I added. “It doesn’t look like it is going to slow down in the next couple of months.”

“The scuttlebutt is that there are people in the White House who – shall I say – have gained a kind of respect for your athletic abilities and tread lightly around you,” Candy replied.

“I don’t comment on scuttlebutt; but I think I am on good terms the staff of the President. Initially there were some misunderstandings due to a difference in personalities and philosophy. Those things were quickly corrected,” I replied.

“Mr. Wendell; as a DOD expert, are we getting better at stopping the terrorist threat from other countries?” David asked.

“The DOD is doing everything it can to eliminate the leaders of terrorist groups in the Middle East and Africa. ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and the Haqqani Network have all paid a price. Taking out the leaders is helping. The Iranian Quds force in my opinion should be designated a terrorist organization as well.” Mr. Wendell replied.

“Do you agree with that assessment Ambassador?” David asked.

“The DOD is devoting a lot of resources to take out their leaders and other agencies are working hard to stop the terrorist financial support and communications; a lot of resources are being used in every agency,” I said.

“The problem is that as soon as you kill one rat there are others to replace him in a matter of hours. At one time we assumed killing leaders would slow them down; not any more. They have a chain of command that is well planned and organized, backup communications and they keep on planning and killing,” I said.

“Conley, you were advisor to the President and departed immediately after the announcement of the Task Force. Sources are reporting there were severe disagreements in the White House. Can you expand on that?” Candy asked.

“The administration began discussing a task force after the Minnesota attack and it was a heated one, after Arizona, all opposition to one ceased and I decided to leave,” Mr. Conley replied.

“I did not believe the task force was necessary at the time, I thought it was nothing but another layer of bureaucracy to slow things down and bring the things we were doing to a crawl.”

“And let me state for the record that opinion was obviously wrong in regards to the Task Force, under the Ambassador ‘s leadership. It has moved swiftly by taking names and kicking ass in the last few weeks. Ten major raids in the last two weeks and almost 300 arrested on Friday for terrorism or connected to terrorists; not to mention house cleaning in our own back yard. Three months ago people would have been happy with 30,” Mr. Conley said.

“Ambassador, the task force has been busy. What’s ahead? Are the raids and arrests over?” Arthur asked.

“No they are not over; more arrests and more raids, I’m sure, as we go through the information and interrogations,” I replied.

“Word is that there is a briefing Monday,” Candy said.

“There is a classified briefing for Congressional committees involved in law enforcement and terrorism before the public news conference at 1600,” I replied.

“You had hinted in the news conference on Friday that the new weapons the terrorists are developing were bad,” Arthur asked.

“They may be worse than bad; we are testing some of them Monday. The terrorists are one step ahead of us and have been from the very beginning. We are always going to be playing catch up. Just when you think you have seen everything, they come up with something new,” I said.

“Even more alarming now is we are training them. Many of their explosive experts have been to the best European and American colleges or military. The same is true with electronics, computer and communications people. They aren’t taking courses just to slide through for a degree; they are on a mission to learn the best ways to kill you and defeat the world of non- believers,” I said.

The questions and statements by the three of us – guest and the panel – continued for ninety minutes.

“One last thing before we close. Ambassador Jones, the White House released this picture this morning for us to use; would you give the story behind it?” Arthur asked as the picture was put on the cameras.

“Yes; that picture was taken the morning after the six raids. I had spent most of the night at the task force command center. The President suggested I stay in the Lincoln bedroom instead of sleeping for a couple of hours in an office chair.”

“I had finished dressing when the White House photographer wanted to take pictures. I was sitting at the antique roll up desk working on my phone when he came in.”

“My hardware was hanging on the back of the chair as you can see. The photographer thought it would be a great picture after the events of the previous night. I learned later I was the first visitor to have a weapon in the room since Ulysses Grant spent several nights during the Civil War.”

“There is a rumor this morning that a group has put your name out there as a possible candidate to replace retiring Senator Maynard Dill. Do you have a response for that?” Candy asked.

“I’m not a politician and have no desire to be one; I have far too much to do. I am simply not interested and I will not accept a draft,” I replied.

I was more than glad to hear the announcer call out next week’s guest and the panel sign off.

The sound man removed all the mikes while we were all talking – saying our farewells – when Cliff Wendell asked, “You didn’t really punch the Chief of Staff in the face, knocking him over a chair in the oval office, did you?”

“I have one hell of a right hook when I am mad,” I replied to astonished looks.

The girls and I went to a fancy restaurant in Washington – one of those that the President’s staff always talked about – while navigating through the paparazzi getting in. The food was not that spectacular but the price was over the top. The girls loved ordering food from the menu in French and we had a great time.

Senators Harrison and Whitby were there with their families; both came to simply say hello and that I had done a good job on the TV, and that they looked forward to my usual candid testimony before the Senate.

After the lunch we finished the afternoon shopping in the big Washington malls. Over all, it was a good day.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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