Sunday morning I spent several hours in the gym – more than I had in the last several days put together – and felt good afterwards.
I went to the basement and put on the heavy vest and survived with it on for 30 minutes. That settled the question I had about when to start back to Washington; it would be tomorrow.
I called Ed and Bill to let them know. The convoy plans and other logistics had already been worked out and they were waiting on me to say when.
A few minutes before 1100 the girls, the boys and I made our way through the tunnel back to the house to watch Hanna’s program. We ate lunch as we watched.
At the end I breathed a sigh of relief; the editing had been reasonable and I did not come off as overbearing or a dunce. Over all I was happy. I was sure that there would be more requests for interviews now, but I intended to do no more.
The four of us talked about the radio station going out of business. We talked about if there was any value adding it to the business line to use for advertising and changing the format to something that was more compatible with the area.
There was also a discussion about adding a couple more business venues. Marcy wanted to diversify more; her thoughts were that we were in too deep with the government. She ran percentages all the time and the revenue from sources not connected to the government contracts needed to be higher.
I didn’t see that there was going to be a problem because Vicky and Ching Lee both had dozens of requests for security contracts – large and small – from major business and high profile individuals. Evaluating their needs and pricing was going to take weeks.
The fact that I had been attacked and survived only increased the requests for security audits.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with Jenny, Marcy, Lorrie and the boys.
At 1700 Jenny’s phone rang; the C5 was 100 miles out and would be on the ground in a few minutes. I wanted so badly to go see Andy and Bob to welcome them back. Instead Marcy, Jenny and Lorrie went and I stayed with the boys.
Oh well, I would see them Monday afternoon. Vicky and Ching Lee would be back mid-week. I was anxious to hear the stories from their trip.
At 0600 I was sliding across the seat in the Suburban wearing the heavy vest and helmet. There were eight Suburbans in the convoy and both Blackhawks overhead. As usual there were to be two MSP and then two Transit Authority cars joining us.
Both armed Blackhawks were getting staged inspections starting tonight. Several techs from Sikorsky were going to help Robbie’s techs with the work. It would take a week to do the inspection piece-meal like that but Ed insisted they were needed to fly cover over my convoy.
There were multiple changes coming to my Washington travels; the times I left home would be varied from 0500 to 0800. The times I left Washington would vary from 1300 to 1900 and some days I would work from my command center, just to keep everybody guessing.
This whole operation would have been terribly expensive, if the justice department had not been picking up most of the tab.
The trip went smoothly even with all the extra SUVs. The news traffic helicopters had alerted the media group I was coming.
Just as we parked Robert sent me a text, “The Prince has upped the price; you are now worth five million dead and they have added the members of the task force at one million each. As you can guess, we have made small gains in breaking the new codes but have a long way to go.”
“Send me the breakdown of that part of it; use the big black book,” I replied.
There were dozens of reporters – including some of the White House inside press folks – standing by the fence with the big cameras.
“0900 press room,” I shouted out to them after I exited the Suburban and stepped through the side door into the secure area.
Ben was already in the office and coffee had just finished brewing.
“Any dots connecting on the ten you arrested?” I asked.
“Lots of data on the phones and on their computers; they are still being interrogated,” he replied.
“I’m only going to be here till 1300 today; my security team is going to change my arrival and departure schedule every day to keep them guessing,” I said.
“Keep them guessing? Are you implying there is going to be another attempt to kill you?” Troy asked. He and the President had walked in behind me.
“Yes. The bounty is now five million on me. They have also added the members of the Task Force with a one million each bounty,” I said.
“Until we find the money man and kill him, the attempts will not end. The tactics and determination we used against Osama are being used to get me and now the Task Force. They fail to realize that the war against domestic terror will continue on without us,” I said.
“The one thing the Task Force has done is change the way the agencies are working together and the way they are looking at the data. The improved result has been apparent,” I said.
“Troy, can you get me the press room with plenty of coffee and donuts setup for 0900?” I asked.
“I can do that,” he replied.
“I saw your interview yesterday; it was very interesting and informative. I never realized you watched the local political landscape so closely,” the President said.
“I just like to stir the pot; there is an election coming up and that will give them something to talk about. It may improve some things as well,” I replied.
“Most people that do what you did have an agenda,” Troy replied.
“I have an agenda; I want the code updated, permitting relief and the 90 foot limit gone,” I replied.
“Spoken like a true Politician; are you still sure that you are not running for office?” the President asked.
By the time we finished talking all the Task Force was in and seated. I expected the President and Troy to leave; instead they took seats.
“Ben, you are still in charge; you are going to have to work with the Secret Service and Justice for 24/7 security for each of the members. What have you learned from the arrest?” I asked.
“As you have said, they lawyer up upon arrest and refuse to talk. On the other hand, all were apprehended before they could scrub their phones and computers. Still no breakdown from the techs,” Ben said.
“I am beginning to question the efficiency of our computer group as you have done. If I have not heard from them by noon I want to send copies of the files to Robert, if you will allow,” Ben said.
“I’m sure he will look at it if you want; but I have part of his group working on a top secret project,” I replied.
“Should I ask or just ignore that statement? Ben asked.
“Believe me, you want no part of it,” I replied.
Just then I received a large file from Robert in the big black book encryption. Roberts’s team had updated the black book encryptions twice in the last few months trying to speed up the process and still maintain its top secret abilities.
The last one was completed and tested while I was recovering Friday and installed on my JBG portable office. I have successfully used the new process four times to Robert’s satisfaction while he was training me.
The process was simple, but had to be done precisely for security purposes. I had to open the program on the laptop with my fingerprint to activate, then log in and password for that program.
Once that part of the program opened, I had to insert the first thumb drive and log in to it with a different password. There were a total of three thumbs that had to done in order to complete the program. Any variance and the program would not activate. When that was done I dragged the file into the program, then chose encrypt or un-encrypt.
If I chose to watch the screen during the process I could watch thousands of random letters and words and paragraphs about nonsense become complete words, sentences and paragraphs of secret messages.
When the program was done there were transcripts of phone calls and emails confirming the three to Africa in 4 weeks to meet the arms dealer from Hong Kong.
I called Andy; it was time to start the operation.
“Andy, I know you just got back but things need to happen. Get with Robert, he can fill you in. Order all the OPS and RRT men to stop shaving and hit the tanning booth every day; they are going to need to look the part,” I said.
“Get with Mischief and Mayhem, review all the embassy security teams; look for former OPS and Seals. Pick fifty of the best and get them headed to Morton for mission training ASAP. I will fill in all the details this afternoon,” I instructed.
“I’m with Robert now and we both were expecting your call. Your wish is my command Boss,” he replied as he killed the call.
“Uh oh, there is that boss thing again; I do not like this. You are right, I want to know nothing,” Ben said.
At 0900 on the dot I walked out onto the press room stage to the edge and gently stepped down. I poured myself two cups and sat one on the stage. When I turned to get a donut from the table, everyone was standing.
“Welcome back Ambassador,” was said in unison. “Thanks for the donuts and coffee,” was added.
I raised my donut, “Thank you, please be seated,” I replied.
I guess some kind of peace had been reached. The outside group was seated; the elite group was standing along the walls and across the rear of the room or setting in folding chairs. Everyone had coffee and a donut.
As before I sat on the stage and started, “You don’t know how good it feels to be able to say good morning to you. I only have 20 minutes that I can be here. Who wants to go first?”
“Are you going to work your normal schedule at the White House?”
“No, my schedule will vary day to day split between here and my command center,” I replied.
“Is there any more information about the attackers than you can tell us?”
“The investigation continues; to date there has been little information found that connects any of them to established terror groups,” I said.
“In your Sunday interview there was a lot of time spent on local county issues, are you considering running for local office?”
“Absolutely NOT,” I replied.
“In the pictures of the SUV Sunday you were in there appeared to be blood and they were totally destroyed; how serious were the injuries to your people that were with you?”
“Detailed medical issues of employees is confidential. The only thing I can say is that two of my men have not been released yet. You saw the pictures of my body and I was wearing the heavy vest; my men were wearing standard vests. The bruising on them is much worse. Bad enough that they are under a doctor’s care to prevent blood clot issues,” I said
“When are the names of the terrorists going to be released? Normally that is done before now.”
“Ben Smith of the NSA is the lead person on the investigation along with Rex Schram of FBI; those decisions are up to them. Because of my involvement I have removed myself from the decision making process on that investigation,” I replied.
“That is all the time I have, as I said it’s good to be here and able to have this time together,” I said.
With the cameras off, I spent a spent a few minutes being sociable and then left for Section 12.
In Section 12 I listened to the discussions as the Justice Department worked out the security details for the rest of the Task Force members. While I was in the press room the terrorists had released the details of the bounty through their Hamas media information site.
I called Ben to my office, “You may want to give team members the option of resigning from the force; a couple of them have family responsibilities that may make the threats not worth the risk to them. Not that resigning will remove the threat now but they need to have that option,” I said.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.
The only word that comes to mind for this chapter is “fantastic/ mind blowing”!!! I can go on but you can get the you can see the picture.
Hope you are feeling better today.