Happy New Year.
I was going to have one busy week when I returned to Washington; Tuesday was the first of the many Senate hearings that I needed to testify to. The email had an attachment with prospective questions. That was something I had never been sent before testifying.
That was only one of the three Congressional hearings for the week where I needed to appear and testify. There were three more the following week.
Balthazar Khamini was still among the missing but the noose was closing. There had been several more sightings in the area. He had been back to the Gas and Go twice more, like it was a normal stop in his travels. He had paid cash each time. The email stated that the FBI had installed all new high quality cameras and they were being closely watched.
Vicky scheduled the new staff for the South Korean embassy. Ching Lee, Jason and Jake were going to make trip with her. The first swap was going to keep the staffing at current levels, while additional housing was acquired for the planned expansion of the security group there.
The employees there were not going to be told they were coming back to the main office for a month until after Vicky was there. According to their personnel records there were no wives, concubines or other women in Korea with them as spouses.
They were going to be interviewed in depth, go through the weapons training and given updates on all the new procedures. Then they would get a couple weeks off before shipping back with the additional men, if the housing problem had been corrected.
Jake and Jason were going to help deal with location and the fiasco that was called the Korean real estate system. On the return trip they were going to stop over in Tokyo; Ching Lee and Vicky wanted to do some sightseeing and Jake needed to meet with officials there to finalize the final payments on the nuclear power plant meltdown cleanup.
Another email that was sent to both Vicky and me from Frank and Victor detailed the woes of Baines. Hammond Baines had been brought back to Washington in handcuffs. The things he had been printing off before his forays into the Seoul night life were highly classified.
Of course he was given a lawyer immediately. The agencies would be ten years and still not know everything he had given away to our potential enemies or who his contact people were. Over the last few months alone he had printed out thousands of pages. It was unknown how much more was loaded on thumb drives.
Every comment he made would be in exchange for a better sentencing deal. Then there would be the point at which he started lying to gain a better deal. One thing was for sure, he would not be making any trips to Camp Smith.
Clayton Albright had lost all of his clearances, and upon his release from the hospital was going to answer a lot of questions. Someone with real rank was going to decide if he was going to be able to quietly retire with benefits or go to jail with none of the above.
Another meeting that was flagged as important and mandatory was with the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) at the White House on Monday morning. The big dogs were wanting to know what I knew about Korea; the how and when.
They were already headhunting to find a scapegoat to cover high level asses for the Hammond Baines affair. It sounded almost like a possible movie title to me.
By the time I had finished looking at just the important things, we were in the landing pattern at Morton Field. It was back to the heavy security again. There had been another threat called in while we were gone; it came in from another burn phone.
“If you think all that heavy security will save you from Allah’s fury you are mistaken. Your days of living are numbered, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. It’s coming sooner than you think.”
The context was different and there was none of the factual information that was contained in the other group of messages. The tower pings indicated that the call came from one of the big liberal California universities with thousands of international students. It was generally considered to be a hoax copycat call.
I departed the G5 to step into the heavy vest, even though federal officials considered the call a hoax; Ed and Bill were taking no chances. In public I would be wearing the heavy vest if JBG was supplying the security.
The good thing was it was freaking cold on the tarmac at Morton after four days in the mid eighties in Florida and that wraparound vest was warm.
We spent the rest of Friday in our offices, and finished out the day with our extended business meeting. Saturday we would spend the day getting ready for the first Ball at the German embassy.
At our meeting I found out that Cindy and Susie Q had contacted Julie Harris – the hair dresser we normally used – to come to the house to eliminate the security fiasco that would have happened if we had gone to her shop.
They had gone to her shop and made a list of every single item she needed and either purchased it from her or ordered all of the remainder on Monday.
One of the upstairs spare rooms was now our private hair salon. It made me angry to have to do things this way, but in the end it was the best way. With the Horsey House hotel and the crash pad hotel at Morton, we no longer used the rooms except for house guests.
Crash was still in one room when he was not over to Marlene’s. Crash still loved to fly and did often, if there was an empty seat. He spent a lot of time at Morton in the shops and the restaurant telling war stories about the bombing raids over Europe and Japan with the pilots and drinking coffee.
Crash had lost everything in the house fire when his nephews tried to kill him. The exception was all his memorabilia from the war. It had been in his falling down hangar including several large photo albums from his years as a pilot in the Army Air Corp. Crash had chosen dozens of pictures from those albums, they were copied and hung on the wall beside his crop duster on display.
We had intended to have an air show at Morton but things did not work out with all the things we were involved in; time just got away from us and the summer was gone.
It was going to happen next summer. Lorrie and Robbie were already working quietly on putting it together. We were going to have a reunion of the survivors of his bomber groups and fly in of some of the aircraft of the war. While they were scarce, there were still a few in flying condition.
I spent an hour with Robert and the EIT team. They had been working a week on tracking Crown Prince Sultan al-Zahab, Prince Abdulraouf al-Zahab and Abu Barazan.
“We have been working with all the emails off all the captured computers you brought to us. It has been slow but we are making progress.”
Saturday afternoon was spent getting ready for the ball. The ball was a blast; it was one time that all six of us girls were dressed to the nines and had elegant dancing partners, even if we were paying them to guard over us. We danced to everything the band played.
And then there was Rachael at fifteen; she put all of us to shame in the beauty department. She could have easily passed for eighteen or twenty-one and she had been practicing her dancing as well.
This New Years ball was a family affair that included teens. There were several young men who took every chance to dance, especially with Rachael, and any dance that required any physical contact. She was hit on for every slow dance.
The embassy photographers were everywhere, and as usual the participant received a thumb drive of the pictures and the German embassy would publish many of them on their web page as a major social event.
Rachael would have plenty to contribute to her foreign studies class on Tuesday.
Monday started the Washington merry-go-round again; heavy security, heavy vest and hours in the hot seat, first at the NIS meeting and then testifying before the congressional committees.
Vicky, Ching Lee, Jason and Jake plus 20 new members of the security team left for Korea.
Monday night, Robert wanted to see me before he left for the day.
“They started today using new communications methods and phone numbers. They have changed their encryption and it is going to take us a few days to break it. There is a lot of traffic using it in the Washington area,” he said.
“Do the best you can do and keep me informed,” was the best reply I could give.
Tuesday was no different; more time on the hill and more meetings, just more of everything. I was going to be glad when my six months was up on this jig. There were too many politicians, too much double talk and too much media demand for access.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.