I had intended to go to Washington later today so it was no inconvenience when Robert called and said I needed to see him before I left.
“Last night there were a series of emails between the four and a phone call among the three persons of interest. There was a firm date agreed on by all; four weeks from Saturday,” Robert said.
“The Prince has upped his order and added another delivery point. He now wants the CH-4B drones – equal to our Reaper – capable of carrying more missiles a lot further. He wants twenty five sent to the arms dealer in Central America, twenty five sent to South Africa and another twenty five sent to Sudan. He also wants a total of 500 missiles and training for ten people in all three places,” Robert said.
“The Hong Kong dealer answered back a couple hours later; it’s a 425 million dollar deal payable up front, with delivery of the first group of twenty five to central America to begin in thirty days,” Robert said.
“The Prince agreed, provided that they would accept sixty five five-million dollar US treasury bonds and the rest in the previous described currencies; 100 million in gold, diamonds and ivory,” Robert said.
“The dealer replied back accepting the deal in less than twenty minutes,” Robert said.
I failed to understand how the Prince even remotely thought he was going to get away with using those kinds of drones in the Americas. Every country has sophisticated low level capable radars and all the major airports had US made Raytheon Doppler radar to fight small drug planes.
The second big question was how were the operators going to maintain contact and control when they were in use with the range they would have? Those Chinese drones did not have sophisticated satellite communications.
They needed a long range radio communications link. Had these networks been established or are they in the process? Or, was the plan to just use them short range? Just how many operations did the Prince have going on that I did not know about?
It looked like he had upped his game and decided to get actively involved in some of the civil wars in those areas to increase and expand his sphere of influence. If he could do that successfully, it would either greatly improve his standing in the royal family, or just maybe get him executed if he lived that long. The royal family was in the middle of a power struggle; maybe he had a plan to climb to the top.
I immediately called Andy, Bill and Ed from the command center and gave them instructions.
“See Robert ASAP when you return from Washington and expedite the first part of the plan; imperative you keep me informed,” I said.
I was in the middle of the pack as we made the trip to Washington with my phone going crazy with texts from Marty Coeburn.
“We got Balthazar Khamini and an accomplice; they had one of the mobile IEDs in the trunk of the car along with maps and directions. I will be at 1600 when you get there,” the text said.
Twenty minutes later I walked into half a crew at Section Twelve; everyone was taking a cue from me by varying arrival and departure time. Ben and Frank were looking at pictures of Khamini and his car and contents that were being live streamed from the crime unit on the scene. The bomb squad was on the way to the spot.
“Send us some close up pictures of the IED portion, specifically the wires coming out of it. Do NOT touch it or move anything in doing so,” I instructed.
The pictures came in a couple seconds later. The wires were connected.
“It is armed! Get the hell away from there NOW; you need to be 500 yards away. Somewhere there is a remote control and detonator. If you did not find it in the car with him it there must be a second a car carrying it, if you see any other cars stopped within a mile or a car that keeps driving by arrest them and look for a wireless controller,” I said.
We watched as a camera was swinging in the wind as its operator was running. Then engines were running and tires squealing. Then we were picking up the officer talking on the radio through the camera feed that was still on.
“There is a car stopped back there; get him, it’s turning around running. All units on Blackburn Road stop the red Nissan headed north,” was heard. Another waiting game was afoot.
It was thirty minutes before confirmation came back that the Nissan had been apprehended. Not only was the detonator in the car but one of the new design suicide vests.
Ben was now faced with decisions; he had three individuals, one IED and one suicide vest and now dozens of law enforcement officers. He had few answers and was unlikely to get any. The media was all over the event already; apparently they were monitoring all law enforcement channels. Camera trucks were there before the bomb disposal unit.
Unless there was any evidence left on computers or their house, we were unlikely to get any information any time soon.
The phones were ringing; officials on the scene wanted policy and procedures clarified. There were already several agencies involved and a power struggle was in the making. Unofficial calls wanted information confirming the reported events.
Ben was being overwhelmed and I was doing my part to help; with only half the crew here, it was a mess. Years of being a NSA analyst looking at data in closed rooms and pushing a desk had left him with no experience in dealing with what was going on today. Ben had come a long way tutored by Frank, Eric and me but today was one of those days that would try the patience of the Pope.
The matter only became worse! Troy and the President came down wanting someone from the task force to join them in a news briefing in the press room.
“Ben, you go with the President and I’ll get things here under control before you return,” I said.
“I figured out the name thing you do with Andy. Boss, you need to go with the President,” Ben replied.
I made it short and sweet, “There were two more terrorists apprehended this morning. One mobile IED and one suicide vest have been captured. That is the only information available at the moment and as usual the investigation is ongoing. As soon as we have details the Task Force will pass it on,” I said.
I was back in Section 12 in thirty minutes. The rest of the team was there.
“What have you got on Balthazar now that you have fingerprints and a good facial to confirm identity?” I asked.
“Balthazar Khamini; he is Iranian and that is not his real name, he is forty four. Interpol has him as Gazi Asfour. His path was from Kashan Iran to Turkey and then to Britain. He stayed in London turning into a violent activist. Then he went from London to Toronto.”
“He applied for a Canadian passport after living there six months as Balthazar. The passport was denied and he was ordered to return to Britain but disappeared. When he showed up next it was on the terrorist list at West Virginia and was the first sign of him here,” Ben said.
“What about the others?” I asked.
“The one riding with Balthazar was here on a student visa that had expired 8 months ago from Turkey Alsham Kassab. There was no other information on him as of yet,” Bob said.
“The other one?” I asked.
“Masih Awad; from Damascus, he was on the watch list for the last six months, he was actively involved in anti-Israel demonstrations and several violent demonstrations against US action in Syria.”
Things got even worse just as we were discussing the three. Troy walked in, “The Egyptian Ambassador is in the Oval Office acting as go between for Iran. Iran is demanding that the Egyptian embassy be the official consul for Gazi Asfour. They are demanding his immediate release to the Egyptian Ambassador,” Troy said.
“Tell them we have no one under arrest by that name. Ask them detailed information on who they are claiming to represent. Inform them we will look at all prisoners and remains once we get that information to see if anyone fits, as time permits,” I said.
“This is not going to go over well,” Troy replied as he walked away.
No should have known who we had in custody, it was standard practice now to bag terror suspects immediately to prevent giving terrorists watching any advantage and their names were to be transmitted only over secure devices, no longer over the radio.
There was a reason Iran wanted Gazi so bad so fast. What was it?
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.