My security team picked me up early today; we were still varying the times. I wondered when I would be able to stop this foolishness and had that discussion with Andy and the girls.
I reluctantly agree to continue until the end of my term at the task force, four weeks and four days to go.
It was good to be able to see all the day people in the office and have a normal conversation with them. I finally had time to talk with Cindy, Susie Q and Mark to see how they liked the Vice President positions now that they had been in them for a few weeks.
I got to sit in on the first full length business meeting in days instead of hearing just the highlights. I was glad to hear that the Pig Iron Point permitting process was ahead of schedule. The state and county environmental departments signed off immediately after determining the creosote would be removed. Jenny had to send confirming letters to both. The federal part had two more approvals to go through.
The rest of the news was good. We left early; Lisa had stayed with the boys all day. She had crock pots with beef, pork, mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls. Lisa, Jason, Jake and Mindy finished out the family meal. The boys were getting better at feeding themselves. We had a great family evening; hot tub and a feel, fondle and cuddle session.
It was Thursday, just two more days this week to make the trip. I needed real private time with the girls and boys. This job was beginning to wear on me.
Things started to go downhill by nine; General Ingram had been in twice and closed the door both times.
There were big meetings going on upstairs in several rooms, meetings that I did not even have clearance to attend, not that I wanted to.
He had been frustrated in his attempts to do anything in regards to meeting in La Jarita Mexico.
The best he could come up with was satellite surveillance of the area with increased border security and hope they could catch the traitor going across. None of which were much help in either of our opinions.
For one thing, I thought the components were already across the border stashed somewhere. Why run the risk of carrying all of it at one time? A box of switches or other small parts isn’t going to pique the interest of a border guard but all of it together may.
That would possibly mean there were partners in the cartel.
My thoughts were interrupted by my phone.
“The two are negotiating again. The one is still bouncing but originating from Virginia but the other is fixed at Havana. I’m sending the GPS numbers; use your fancy system to locate them,” Robert said.
The government’s fancy Google didn’t have any trouble finding the spot. It was a freighter at the commercial dock flying the Iranian flag in Havana. After checking the international shipping schedule the general cargo freighter Alvan was 168 meters long. It was scheduled to leave tonight and dock tomorrow at Tampico. Tampico was on Mexico’s east coast, a marine terminal plus a major support terminal for the offshore oil wells.
From La Jarita Mexico to Tampico was over 300 miles through some of the most contested cartel territory. If I was betting it would be a drug plane flying the buyer to La Jarita and then flying the purchase back to a grass strip near Tampico to be loaded on the Alvan.
As I was thinking, the computer kept running; the Alvin was scheduled to depart Tampico two days later for Caracas Venezuela. Iran had agreements with Venezuela and made suspicious flights with military personnel. That’s how the parts were going to make the trip to Iran.
I called Frank. I knew the agency should have assets there, or at least I thought they would. I called the General to make the trip to see me for the third conference of the morning.
“What have you found out?” I asked. I wanted to know what his spooks were doing.
When he responded with nothing new I filled him on what I knew.
“We have assets working there but they are few,” Frank replied.
I called and asked the General the same question and gave him the same information. It was a screw-up at several levels; security reviews had been ordered. A full scale investigation was held off as not to scare everyone away. The DOD in the critical weapons destruction group, the nuclear weapons tracking group and the NRC that was to track and have control of the weapons core were all going to be in the hot seat.
I was clear of all of those groups and decided to wash my hands of the whole mess. A lot of people received big salaries, great retirements, and prestige from those jobs; have at it boys.
I went back to reviewing the data for my appearance in front of the House for the college security budget request. After that I started looking at the arrest reports that resulted from the warrants. Only a few were still open.
I had an idea and a question; Ben working with Rodney could answer it.
“Has the ten that are still at large, been thoroughly investigated with their web traffic and net suppliers checked and their online history? Would either of them have had access to nuclear materials? The reason I say that is the seller is still online so he could be one of the ten,” I asked.
Both left the room to find out.
My Coast Guard officer who was monitoring shipping traffic called, “The Alvan is going to be two hours late departing Havana; they have boiler problems.” I wondered if that problem was caused by one of Frank’s assets.
At noon ZNN went crazy; the cartel had assaulted the Mexican Congressional building and had taken many hostages. All Army troops were directed to the capital and several other major cities but that was only part of the problem. The cartel had threatened the families of so many troops they were deserting their post or not reporting at all.
The President was trapped in the official residence, the Mexico City airport closed. A full blown war was on the brink of exploding on our border for the first time in one hundred and twenty years.
It was 1400 when Ben and Art Cummins walked into my office. “We need you to come with us,” Art said.
“Oh crap, now what? What have they found out?” I asked myself.
I followed with the folder in hand that contained the letter that Bobbie typed up for me and a freshly filled mug.
There was one chair left, only this time it was in the front center of the table and not on the end or back.
I listened while one bad report was followed by another. The nuclear audit found that a plutonium core was missing from storage. It was the same size and weight as used on the W87 warhead. Not only was the core missing but an implosion core section as well from another location; again for the W87 warhead. All these items together made a complete operable nuclear weapon.
“Is this a sale to a foreign government or potential terrorist strike at home? “I asked.
“What do you mean?” Troy asked.
“What if the Iranians are going to assemble it to be brought back to say San Antonio or Dallas,” I asked.
“Oh God no, only you would think like that,” Troy replied.
“I think Iran would rather a working bomb to copy and then test it in a surface test in its mountain range. The structure of the entire Middle East would be instantly changed by doing an air test. The message would be that it did not give a crap about world opinion or what its neighbors thought and we already know that.”
“Iran would instantly be the only power broker and dictating everything; the states caving in to Iran like dominos as Iran sent large numbers of troops to their borders. The price of oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel in a matter of days after the test. They only need one working bomb, just one,” I said.
“We agree that it is going back to Iran but that only the beginning of the problem. The disaster in Mexico has tied our hands. We were in negotiations to send US personnel to intercept and recover the parts.”
“All that is over now, the government there does not know who to trust, the US Ambassador there is under house arrest as we speak. Misinformation is getting to the El-Presidente from all directions. He has refused any assistance,” Art said.
“We can’t send any military personnel there, the international community would take it as an invasion. Even sending a few agents into the cartel stronghold would be political suicide,” Troy said.
“That said, all of us knew about the JBG team’s exceptional performance in Uganda and Windhoek. A little while ago I learned what a select few other people knew about South Africa,” the President said, “but that is a topic for another day.”
“Do you think your JBG OPS team can retrieve the components from Mexico?” the President asked.
“OH, NO!” I thought.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.