I started to open the door only to have it pulled open, then a hand on my shoulder almost dragging me out.
“Here, put this on,” it was one of the new body armor vests being held for me.
“Ed, what the hell is going on?” I asked.
“PUT IT ON,” he yelled. Even though I was wearing a different style under my shirt, I did not argue.
As soon as it on and secured, one of the helmets was shoved at me. Then I was hustled by both Ed and Bill to the right side and into the second row seat. Two of the Mossad ladies piled into the rear seat behind me, Ed into the seat beside me and another Mossad in the right front seat.
“Go, Go, Go,” Ed shouted. They were wearing ear wicks. The Suburban lurched as tires were squealing.
“Where are your phones? Turn them off and take the batteries out,” Ed directed.
“Ed, what the hell is going on?” I asked as I was dealing with the phone instructions.
“There were 2 assassination and 2 death threats against you called into the office today. Robert has been working on the numbers. One call was from a satellite phone that was one number different from the Prince’s. Two of the others numbers were in the inactive numbers off Saif’s phone,” Ed replied.
“Why wasn’t I told earlier?” I asked.
“You were as safe as possible as long as you were in the White House, it gave us time to plan and organize. The White House will not supply the kind of security we are going to,” Ed replied.
“But a VIP Charlie response on the White House grounds with FM-9 machine guns?” I replied.
“As John Wayne would say, this audacious display of fire power may cause some less intelligent person to think twice about trying anything,” Ed replied.
A JBG security ‘VIP Charlie’ response protocol required that everyone on the team to exit the vehicle any time the vehicle stopped, shoulder the weapons and scan all directions. It required no less than four JBG security guards at all times and that the individual wear class A body armor.
A ‘Delta’ response was the highest and that response required that any vehicle movements be monitored by one of our choppers.
JBG has been doing two or three personal protection details a month since we had provided the security for the political debate. Since the terrorist attacks escalated and new violent opposition to anything sensible, it was two or three a week.
Under Ching Lee and Vicky’s guidance they had expanded by covering very wealthy clients, foreign dignitaries, Senators and Representatives. I no longer knew some of the people working in security other than they were all ex-military and very muscular.
I hit the control to turn on the little 10 x 10 flat screen TV – they were used to pacify kids on long trips by playing DVDs – this one also had satellite connection. I turned on ZNN; the media was always watching who came and went into the White House parking area.
“BREAKING NEWS; Now to Melinda Schaffer at the White House; Melinda what happened?”
“Ambassador Jones was hustled from the White House parking exit by a heavily armed group. Was she kidnapped or arrested? No one seems to know. A shaken Secret Service is scrambling to find answers of an event that happened before their eyes in just 90 seconds. The assistant Chief of Staff is to address the media in minutes.”
“Melinda, you witnessed the event, we are going to run the clip for you. What stands out?” the news desk asked.
“The speed in which it was done in and the aggressiveness was troubling. It looks like they dragged the Ambassador out of the driver’s seat and almost threw her into a back seat and took off. They had a lot of people there.”
Ed handed me a phone, “Robert transferred your contact list to a new phone. He wants to check out the one you have before it is used again.”
“I need to call Troy before he goes on the air.”
“Troy, BJ I’m OK,” I said.
“I’m with the President. Let me put you on speaker; what the hell is going on?”
I explained what I had been told.
“You should have told us, we could have provided security,” the President said.
“They didn’t even tell me until I was in the back seat of the Suburban. I plan on being there in the morning; I will know more and we can discuss the options then,” I replied.
Troy made the address to overflowing media room; short and sweet.
“There were 2 assassination threats and two death threats phoned into the JBG home office of Ambassador Jones today. Two of the calls came from the inactive call list on Saif Alawai al-Jawfi’s phone and one was from a satellite phone. Given the connections, her security division is taking them very seriously as you saw. ”
“The Ambassador tells me the activity you saw today was one of the JBG security team’s advanced levels of VIP protection. The Secret Service, FBI and DHS are on the way to the JBG offices to review the data of the calls,” Troy said. Then he added, “I have 5 minutes for questions.”
“Marley, you get to go first today.”
“Thank you Troy, given the distance BJ has to travel and exposure levels, has any consideration been given to allowing her work from her JBG offices in light of today’s developments?”
“I’m sure that topic will come up in discussions tomorrow. I do know that JBG has a state of the art command center with elaborate communications systems for their security division,” Troy replied.
“Will there be a review of procedures and policies by the Secret Service after Ambassador Jones was whisked away off White House grounds so quickly, before the service could respond?”
“Things will be looked at, you can count on that. You have to remember, those were professionals and they train continuously to do that sort of thing. Maybe they should train the service on how to respond; I’m sure they have a response plan to prevent the very thing they did,” Troy replied.
The news conference was over. I flipped the screen up and out of the way and began questioning Ed.
“Being we haven’t been surrounded by a hundred cop cars, I am assuming that there must have been some kind of contact with the police agencies?”
“Jenny and Jason made the calls, there were 2 DC cops further back that you didn’t see and we are picking up the MSP at the line. Shortly thereafter the transit authority is to escort us over the bridge. One of the Blackhawks with the mini gun is flying cover as soon as we get out of Reagan’s air space,” Ed replied.
“Damn, those calls must have really said something to kick everything up to this,” I replied.
“Very precise and detailed, you and your teams have killed and arrested too many of their fighters. You are now the number one target! They even put a bounty on you; one million dollars in gold and silver,” Ed said.
“There is to be a video tonight on the site they are using for news releases, they even gave the time as 1900,” Ed said.
“The girls must be fit to be tied,” I replied.
“Determined and mad as hell is more like it; East Coast is coming tomorrow to install more of everything. The road to Morton will now have a manned guard shack – and for a while – guards at your house. All travel will be in convoy. You are not facing this alone,” Ed said.
I watched though the window as the DC police cruisers dropped off and the MSP took their place. A few minutes later a couple from Transportation Authority were alongside.
I didn’t consider myself to be worth all this fuss and was afraid it was just beginning.
I called Troy back and filled him with the little more I knew.
The driver drove the Suburban into the garage where the girls were waiting. I wondered if I should be ready to duck and run as I stepped out of the Suburban.
“How does it feel to be snatched?” Vicky asked before they all broke out laughing in a no laughing matter.
“Like I was snatched; you’re all going to get the wet noodle treatment tonight. Scare me half to death,” I replied as I was taking off the heavy vest.
“I want to hear those calls, then get something to eat. We have a lot of people coming.”
“Ed, please pass on a well done and thank you to all your people; we need the same thing both ways tomorrow,” I said.
“Vicky, are the Doc and the questioners still coming to the camp tonight?” I asked.
“Yes, everything is still on,” she replied.
“Ed, have a couple of your people follow Vicky and Ching Lee to the camp then do perimeter security duty. It is a classified operation they are doing; need to know only,” I said as we stepped into the elevator.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.