Monday morning Ching Lee, Vicky, Howie and I were at the FBI proving grounds at 0700. I took Ching Lee because of her being over the college security division and Vicky because she was over the embassy security division. They needed to see what they would eventually be up against.
Howie, on the other hand, was going to demonstrate how effective the motorized IED was. The batteries to operate it were fully charged. Another battery was attached to power the wireless camera he had attached to it. Howie could watch the laptop to get perfect positioning. The right side of the rear drive shaft between the front and second seat should have the best effect.
The proving grounds was huge, it had a huge auditorium the FBI and DHS used for enforcement seminars. The outside grounds were also huge; MRAPS and Humvees were off to the side waiting for the President to change the regulations so more police departments could qualify to get them.
I expected that after the last few weeks that change could come any day.
For the next 2 and a half hours, displays were set up by various federal agencies. The CIA was going to be absent; they were not supposed to be involved in anything domestic.
Every item on display was tagged evidence with location found, date and all the other information in case it was needed for a trial.
I took the last half hour to walk down all the tables and made notes so I could give a speech. I also took my tablet and took pictures so I could put together a slide show. The surviving vests from Minnesota were on one table – deactivated of course. Then there were the remnants of vests from the Arizona University attack. Over a hundred people had died in those two attacks.
Stacked on separate tables were all the collected vests, guns and ammunition from the six learning centers. On another set of tables were the heavy machine guns that had come from Mexico.
There was another row of tables from the raids Friday containing all the guns and explosives, artillery shells, including the ones that had been emptied of TNT, and the brass lathe to remove the TNT from the shells.
There were 3 separate tables with different IEDs and the remote control trucks that had been modified to position them under a vehicle.
The DEA had three pallets of drugs on display; the 440 pounds we had brought back from Mexico plus more that had been seized in the raids.
The vehicle was here that Howie was going to demonstrate the device on; Island Towing had brought the Suburban that had been hit in the front end with an RPG at Windhoek. The C5 had brought it back along with other freight.
The passenger compartment was intact and undamaged; the firewall armor had done its job. The front end was another story; the engine was blown apart, it had taken the direct hit. All the sheet metal was blown away, even the front frame was bent and twisted; it was junk and would be even more so in a few hours.
Marcy had a rule she used with things like that; if repairs were going to cost 50% or more of the current value then it was junked.
At 0930 all the invitees started filing in, a lot more than I was expecting. The schedule I had said this was for Congress, the White House staff and senior federal law enforcement. None of these people were from the hill.
What I did not know was that Attorney General Dunne had bowed to political pressure and changed the program Friday after the raids started. From 1000 till 1200 was for national law enforcement. The police departments were screaming they were being left out of the loop with so much terrorism and so many hi-level raids taking place.
State, city police commanders, governors and sheriffs had all been invited. The invites had gone out labeled as an emergency informational meeting concerning terrorism. There were more than a thousand of them coming I was told.
Of all things I was not on the email nor was I informed of the changes and no one else on my committee was either – the way it looked – because there had been no discussion when we talked about the time.
I was pissed; more was going to happen on that when I got certain people alone. Although, I could disappear and let the addressee handle things. I called my task force together to see for sure what they knew. None of them admitted to knowing anything about any changes.
“I did not agree to give two separate presentations today. We are going back to Section 12, we have important work to do work to do there that was going to get done before the Congressional meeting. That won’t get done now, we can come back for the second presentation.”
The Congressional delegations, the President and other federal officials were going to attend from 1300 to 1500; that was the group I was to address.
I found Howie and told him not to arm the motorized IED, that it was not going to be used until 1300. “Go get my Suburban and pack it up until then,” I directed.
My Suburban and the rides for my people were parked in the side parking lot.
Frank, Eric and Marty Coeburn knew me well enough to know something was up and came to find out what was going on.
Explain I did and finished with, “I was told this was to be a controlled group of intelligence rated individuals only. They should have been the first to see this; you know how the pecking order works. There are things that the world need not know about for a few more weeks on the tables and now look at it. What a screwed up mess.”
“The President may very well have my resignation before the end of the day, screw-ups like this are going to get people killed,” I said loud enough that numbers of people turned and looked. Then I added, “Find all the people that screwed this up and let them give the presentations.”
“Wait a minute, let me make some phone calls and see if I can find out what happened. It’s not as bad as you think, if anyone else was running the show they would have released most of this days ago so they would look important. As far as Congress is concerned, you did not make this call; someone else will take the blame,” Eric said.
“Go get a cup of coffee and finish writing your presentation; you know you have to be the one to give this. You are the only one even remotely qualified to be able to tie all this together,” Eric added.
Frank called while Eric was talking to me, “Troy, somebody from your group kicked the Lioness and she is pissed off as all hell and may be headed your way. Somebody is in for one major ass kicking when she gets there.”
I guess I had a nickname behind closed doors; at least it wasn’t a bad one.
Frank explained to Troy what our conversation had been about and explained my position.
I did as Frank suggested. I got two cups of coffee; found a table to work at and started turning notes into sentences and paragraphs. It was a good thing I had my portable office with me and the DVD of the testing Saif and his group had done. I could review the last couple of them and pick the best of the final product.
Vicky and Ching Lee made a PowerPoint from the pictures on the tablet and put them in a file on a thumb drive.
This could be a disaster with no time to give it a test run.
The rest of the personnel were out watching the tables to make sure no one got antsy and wanted to play with things. I had instructed my people to place signs everywhere stating no cell phone pictures at all and to enforce it.
With five minutes to spare, an FBI agent brought me several papers; they had traced the serial numbers from the artillery shells. They supposedly were sent from the Army weapons storage depot in West Virginia to Aberdeen Proving grounds for life cycle testing.
All explosives, rockets, missiles, bombs – even some types of bullets – have a storage life. Along the way to that end they lose their effectiveness and power. Aberdeen had random numbers based on age sent to them to test and determine when all of certain age or manufacture get removed from storage and destroyed.
Large missiles and bombs get tested at the Nevada proving grounds. Nuclear weapons reliability testing is done by computer through some secret process.
Now the big issue was to figure out how they got into the terrorists hands and why no one realized they were missing. There should have been a paper trail. Was it at the depot, in transit or Aberdeen?
One thing was disturbing on the papers; ten more shells were missing in the shipment than had been recovered at the terrorists shop. The shipment manifest stated two pallets of twenty-five shells, where were they? That was 300 pounds of TNT.
Robert may have supplied a partial answer in an email, “I have found where the Moorefield site purchased 200 1” x 6” pipe nipples and 400 caps four weeks ago and the by delivery receipts they received them.”
A quick check of the evidence list from there found no pipes or caps. That meant that there was possibly another twenty suicide vests unaccounted for and possibly more self propelled IEDs, both waiting in the wings to be used.
At 1000 I rapped on the podium, “Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated. It is time to get this show on the road; it’s time to lock and load.”
“Hopefully the information presented here today will clear up a lot of questions in the process; I intend to bore you and make this the one miserable day you will remember for a life time,” I said.
“Take no pictures; make no recordings of this presentation.”
I started with the MU attack with the information we knew and went forward through the attack at Arizona.
Then I went into the six college planned attacks and the raids, the numbers and results. That led into Friday’s raids.
Then I went through the pictures of the evidence collected that were on the tables. The last piece was the DVD of the motorized IED.
Then I made a short statement that I knew would get attention.
“I believe that there are at least thirty suicide vests unaccounted for and there are ten to thirty of the motorized IEDs unaccounted for. I received information this morning that six of the motorized units may have been sent to Washington DC area and 4 to the New York City area.”
“The search goes on for the vests and the IEDs, and the fight against terrorism marches on.”
“We have a few minutes for questions. The food for lunch will be ready in twenty minutes.”
I had intentionally timed it so there would be little time for questions. I answered questions as fast as I could in the 20 minutes left.
The final question was “Ambassador Jones, I am assistant police chief Walter Grimes Baltimore city; the Baltimore city SWAT team was scheduled to participate in the raids and was abruptly canceled. Can you explain that sudden change?”
“Baltimore City; wow, you have my sympathy. I don’t think I can help you there short of dropping a nuclear bomb downtown and I live in the fallout area so that is out.”
“Lunch is served, everyone have a great lunch. I hate to rush you but remember you have to be finished and out of here by 1245. The classified briefing for the next group starts at 1300. Mr. Grimes, find me after you eat and I will answer your question, off the record,” I replied.
Frank and Eric met me as I stepped off the stage to get lunch with Vicky and Ching Lee, “Great job as usual.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.