I called Troy to put the plan in motion; he needed to change parts of his planned 0900 news conference. I sent him the three modesty pictures Jenny had taken. Troy was going to rush the tech department to set up an MTEC screen and camera in the press room.
Marcy, Jenny and Lorrie joined me as we waited for and then watched as Troy and Harry walked to the podium to begin.
“Good morning, a lot of things have happened in the last twenty-four hours so let’s start at the beginning. Yesterday at 1510 the terrorists attacked Ambassador Jones’ convoy as she was heading home,” Troy stated.
“Four dump trucks driven by terrorists slammed into the Ambassador’s convoy, shoving the convoy into the guardrail and shearing the bodies from their frames. The Suburban bodies ended up in westbound traffic, some of them were hit by cars in the mess that followed,” Troy said.
“At that point in the attack, one of the trucks was a suicide truck bomb and exploded, causing further damage to the Suburban’s and their occupants and damaging over 70 cars that were stopped on the highway in the process,” Troy said.
“There were four cars with four terrorists each that then open fire on the Suburban’s and the stopped cars. A JBG armed helicopter providing support for Ambassador Jones’ convoy eliminated that threat,” Troy said.
“Twenty-four terrorists died in the attack. Over a hundred citizens were injured from the initial accident, explosion or when the terrorists changed to soft targets. Unfortunately, 23 people died in the automobiles,” Harry said.
“Six of the Ambassador’s JBG body guards were injured in the Suburban’s, two seriously. The FBI, DHS, CIA, Secret Service MSP, Maryland Transportation Authority and of course the Task Force are investigating the attack” Harry added.
“On a further note, NSA Director Ben Smith has been named temporary chair person of the task force,” Troy added.
“We will take a few questions. Melinda, we will start with you,” Harry said.
“What information do you have on the funeral services for Ambassador Jones? You have said nothing about that,” she asked.
“Funeral services? Ambassador Jones was injured, not deceased. The President and I talked to her immediately after attack and again this morning. In fact, she has sent us some pictures and gave us permission to show them to you,” Troy said.
“Put the first picture on the screen,” Troy instructed the video person. As he was talking, the President walked in and to the side.
“Now the second and then the third,” he directed.
“As you can see, BJ took quite a beating in the attack. She said it is from the seat belt and shoulder harness,” Troy said.
“Why the elaborate ruse and silence about the Ambassador?” he asked.
“I can’t answer that, her security team was in control and orchestrated her removal from the area. You can ask her that question. Ambassador Jones has said she would do a short video conference call,” Troy said.
“Has BJ paged in?” Troy asked the controller.
A click of the button and the four of us were on the screen behind Troy.
“Good morning Mr. President, Troy, Harry; how is everyone this morning?” I asked.
“BJ, we are fine, how are you? You said you were hurting and it is easy to understand why after looking at the pictures,” the President asked.
“It hurts to breathe and to talk so this is going to be short,” I replied.
“Scott, to answer your question my security team felt it was best to get me out of the area the fastest way possible. Lying on the stretcher was the safest way. I did not want to be a distraction for the rescue teams that had so many injured to deal with. It was best if I was gone quickly and quietly,” I said.
“Marley” Troy acknowledged.
“BJ, are you under a doctor’s care and how soon will you be back to work?” Marley asked.
“I am scheduled to get an MRI today and will not be back until I can wear the heavy vest. I will just have to go day by day. I am going to work from the command center here at JBG headquarters until I can,” I replied.
“How do you feel about Director Smith taking your place on the committee?” Scott asked.
“Ben is an excellent choice, we have worked together on multiple projects, we have learned a lot from each other and think alike in many areas,” I said.
“By the way Malinda, I’m still breathing so no one gets to collect the bounty yet,” I said.
“Ambassador Jones; given yesterday’s events do you still feel we are making gains in the war on terrorism?” he asked.
“Yes; it is blatantly clear now that we are seriously hurting their cause, by going after our leaders that are fighting terrorism. Before they were going after large group kills for shock effect. Now they are devoting huge amounts of resources for just one person.”
“They have failed to realize the same as we did in the killing of Osama that there was a chain of command ready to take his place.”
“We have a bigger pool of determined leaders capable of stepping in and taking the fight forward. They had a few hundred capable; we have thousands. Yesterday’s attack only showed their desperation,” I said.
“The biggest gains in stopping terrorism are going to be stopping the funding, recruitment, training sites and communications. We have to keep them running, making mistakes as well as killing them,” I said.
“That’s about all I can stand for now. I will try to do this again in a couple days. Mr. President, Troy I will call you after I rest,” I said as I signaled to close the broadcast.
The news cast continued for another hour.
I had been right, Robert’s screen filled up again while I was on the video call. Ben was soon going to get lists to work with.
We needed to go to my office and speak with my people; I had kept them in the dark the last few hours. I spent the rest of the morning at my desk and with small groups of employees. I was in pain but it was bearable with OTC pain meds.
One thing I remembered from boot camp; the gunny was always yelling, “Suck it up soldier! Keep going, don’t stop because hurts,” and keep going I did and I will now.
Doc Burns’ medical group had seen all the members of my security team by noon and they all had MRIs. I had mine after lunch. No further treatment was required, just time and then time in the gym. I had ten days to heal enough to go to the Ambassadors Ball.
Four of those injured had been released. The other two were going to be in the hospital a week. The insurance company wanted them out in 3 days; Jenny put an end to that.
Ed and Bill were already working on rebuilding the security team. The older gas Suburban’s had fared better in attack than the newer diesel model because they were larger and heavier. The new convoy setup would have eight of the rehabbed Suburban’s instead of four new diesels.
After the MRI, I had just settled into my office chair when Andy and Bob paged on VCATS.
“We are done; everything had been repaired. What is the inspection and acceptance process required?” Bob asked.
“I don’t know, call Vicky and inform her, then Victor and Amy; they can determine the process. Once that is done get with Lorrie to schedule the C5; I want the man lifts and the Hummers brought back and of course all your tools and equipment. Also bring back any worthwhile leftover materials. The hangar has to be cleaned out as well before you leave,“ I replied.
“Bob, there is a very slight chance I may need you to go to Korea for a project there. I will know in a couple of days,” I said.
I spent the rest of the afternoon between my office and the EIT office. Robert was making progress in the hunt for the Prince and his two cohorts; enough progress that I could see the noose forming in my mind.
I would be glad to have Andy and the full OPS team back. They would need a couple weeks on the shooting range and at Camp Smith before the next mission. Andy had not met all the new members of his teams because of his time in Windhoek.
Ed and Bill wanted changes done to Camp Smith; Andy would make the final decision on that.
On the way to the house I stopped by Robert’s office one last time for the night.
“I sent a copy of the data from the ten phone numbers called by the Prince’s satellite phone to Ben on the g-mail site. I did not send the data or the recording of the conversation the three had at 2100 Riyadh time. I thought you might like to hear and evaluate it with the OPS team first,” Robert said.
Robert played the recordings of the call and was right, the three were planning a trip to South Africa with diamonds, gold, dollars and ivory to arrange payment for advanced weapons of Chinese manufacture. The trip was planned to happen in four weeks in the town of Polokwane in the northern providence of South Africa.
Polokwane was less than a day’s ride from supposedly closed gold and diamond mines and several huge elephant and rhino game preserves.
That told me that the gold, diamonds and ivory were local black market the Prince had paid South African terrorist groups to secure. There was no end to the black market support for crime and terrorism.
Polokwane had two separate airports that were within ten miles of each other, one with a single 6000 foot runway, built by the owner of the now defunct diamond and gold mines. There was one cluster of buildings for security. It was used for all kinds of illegal activities but beginning to deteriorate. There was one twin engine plane on the runway.
The other airport was run by the government for the big game hunters to hunt the preserves and tourism. There were two large hotels near that airport. It had two runways and looked to be in good shape and had multiple hangars and a terminal building.
There was one sizable plane that looked like it was being dismantled or had been damaged on landing; the tail and a section of the fuselage was several hundred feet away from the main section. There were also a couple smaller planes on the tarmac.
From the layout, this was at one time a booming airport. The closing of the gold and diamond mines had sealed the fate of this area. The jobs and supporting infrastructure died with the mines, making the area ripe and ready for the terrorists who promised them everything and left nothing but poverty and death.
The Prince was negotiating for small drones capable of carrying two small missiles comparable to the Hellfire. Elephant Ivory and complete Rhino horns were a cherished item in China – worth hundred thousands of dollars – were to pay from them along with the diamonds and gold.
The drones were being delivered to Central America and to Alejandro Hernandez; he was the arms dealer who had supplied the heavy machine guns to the terrorists for the college attack.
I spent time in the hot tub before supper and then rested in the recliner. Two little boys decided I was their playmate tonight and climbed the chair to be in my lap. The first bounce on my abdomen and I almost crapped my pants, if I had been wearing any. I read them a picture book to calm them down.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.