I had tried to send the entire OPS team home yesterday for two weeks for R&R, but they were the die-hards. The girls were going to convoy me to Washington today. When the garage door went up, ten of them were standing there waiting.
“Bob wins the bet, he bet you would try to go the Washington today without all your security,” Bill said.
“Put the heavy vest on; the boss ladies can go along for the ride but we are taking you,” Bill instructed.
“Wearing gloves today are you? I didn’t think it was that cold,” Bill added.
“The tribal designs have not completely washed off the back of my fingers yet; it is going to take a few more days and I tried everything,” I said.
I was wearing white thin dress gloves that I could do most things in if I needed to.
The ride was quiet and went fast. It was a pleasure to be able to talk shop with Marcy, Ching Lee and Jenny on the ride. Vicky and Lorrie were in the SUV behind us.
I was early; the ride had gone so fast. I had the coffee done and was sipping on the first mug when Ben and the group came in. I had been watching the ZNN morning update on the African Massacre. That was the name they had given the Crown Prince’s killing. They were still giving no real information, not that I needed any.
ISIS was still being blamed, they were stupid enough to take responsibility through a spokes person and that fired up half the Middle East that was aligned with the Saudis. The other half was laughing at the plight of the kingdom.
Another report on ZNN implied that there was a secret request to the US from the Kingdom for an emergency sale of 500 billion worth of weapons and bombs on top of a public order for billions in fighter jets yesterday.
The day of mourning didn’t make it a full day before there were two car bombs exploded in Riyadh. Again ISIS took credit. If I was betting, the money had been destined for the ISIS and now they were pissed that they were not going to get it.
Now they were vetting against the pay masters and for the sudden change by the kingdom because of the airstrikes. It also led me to believe they had no other connections in the King’s group.
“Well, you are here! You are back in time to watch a fire storm,” Ben replied.
“At least it is them this time and not us. We are just going to watch from the sidelines on this one,” I replied.
“What have you learned from Balthazar?” I asked to change the subject.
“DOD has learned plenty; they want to take possession of him,” Ben replied.
“Well he is a federal prisoner arrested by federal agents so there are some fine lines intersecting on him that have been crossed. It has been drug out long enough. If I had my choice he would be going into the furnace today; I want it cleaned up and case closed ASAP. I want him out of Camp Smith” I said.
“This one will be a rat’s nest before it’s over,” I added.
“A week off has not made you any more mellow, has it?” Ben replied.
“Actually it made my mean streak a little stronger. It’s amazing when you have to do things you do not like, how it toughens the mind and body,” I replied.
“I am sure the joint chiefs will be down to discuss the matter with you before the day is out. They tried to get me to commit yesterday. I told them they must have thought I was crazy if I was going to get involved in that dispute,” Ben said.
“They would be with the President now trying to make their case but the Saudi thing has them pre-occupied,” Ben said.
“They have learned all they are going to by now if they asked the right questions. He will start playing them and they are too enthralled to see it,” I replied.
What Ben and the DOD did not know was that the Mossad had interviewed Balthazar Saturday and Sunday while the Pentagon boys were partying and getting drunk.
Ben David had sent me a text this morning thanking me for the opportunity to do so and that the two sessions had been very helpful.
Frank and Eric came into my office and closed the door; they had been followed by the President and Troy but both of them had made a pit stop at the coffee and pastries.
“The good news is the agency wants to thank you for the two Iranian spies; they have been helpful. The bad news is much greater though. The Iranians are raising hell about their missing people. They know that we have Balthazar and are making demands both at the State Department and the UN,” Frank said.
“I told you the DOD could keep no secrets,” I replied.
“Worse than that, the President and the State Department wants the DOD and the Agency to take custody of him. They think a trade and concessions from the Iranians can be made,” Frank replied.
“We always get the short end of any trade or concessions anymore,” I replied.
“Frank, go get me a fresh cup of coffee and close the door behind you,” I said. Eric was sitting, looking at me confused.
I took a blank piece of paper and wrote out several paragraphs then called Bobbie Canterberry – my secretary – to come in.
“Type it up all official looking right now for me please,” I instructed.
Frank returned with the cup of coffee followed by Troy, the President and several of the joint chiefs.
The conversation lasted two hours. All the scenarios were discussed including the repercussions. The State Department had high hopes that a trade could be made. It was an unlikely prospect in my opinion.
Bobbie knocked on the door then handed me a folder. I assumed it was the letter I had her type up.
I called the Doc and canceled tonight’s and any other sessions. The FBI was going to pick up Balthazar in an hour. He was theirs and JBG was clear of him. The Egyptian ambassador would meet with him tomorrow.
I was pissed and I let them know it, Balthazar was a foreign terrorist on US soil. We could not prove he had detonated any devices himself. He had built them and people he had trained placed and detonated them. At a minimum he should spend the rest of his life in jail or better yet, shoved into the Doc’s furnace alive.
The powers had decided and I was a minor player. The discussion was over; the bad taste in my mouth was going to last a while. The joint chiefs left the meeting.
I reached for the folder to see if Bobbie had typed anything different than I wrote. On top of the letter was a big sticky note and in big red letters she had written, “Please don’t do this.” I left the folder open.
Frank and Ben both were close enough to read the large letters upside down. By the curiosity on their faces, I knew they did.
Eric – on the other hand – immediately knew what it was. He closed his eyes, lowered his head and moved it slowly from side to side.
Well it wasn’t over, they weren’t leaving.
“King Al-Zahab is requesting that we help with the investigation into the killing of his two sons,” Troy said.
I look at Frank, Eric and Ben; Ben had not been in any of the conversations about the Prince that Eric, Frank and I had. Both of them were looking at my hands and the little light came on.
“We have no time to get involved in an investigation that far away, we have more than enough to do,” I replied.
“There must be some information that we can help them with,” the President said.
“Any information that we share with them runs the risk of closing several important lines of intelligence. Intelligence that can only come from one source. I am not willing to risk it,” I replied.
“Just review what you have and see if there is something you can share,” Troy said.
“OK, I will look over the file,” I replied and that seemed to satisfy the two of them; they left stopping by the coffee maker.
Ben stood to leave.
“Sit down Ben,” Frank said as he stared at me.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.