Bob and my security were waiting when I stepped out into the garage; they were as anxious to get started as I was. There were three days left after today and then we could take a break from the everyday traffic hustle across the bridge.
The first thing I noticed was how tanned Bobbie was. She and Dan must have spent most of the time in the sun and water. I did know they were with a group that had gone to the casinos on the big island Friday evening but other than that, they had stayed to themselves and – of course – meals at the lodge. The best thing was Bobbie seemed very happy today.
All morning was spent with the team discussing what little new information we had on the new dark web sites. Ben’s NSA spooks were looking and so was Homeland along with the FBI. None were having any luck.
I knew Robert was not making any progress either or he would have called. I had left instructions with the EIT that they were not to share any information with other agencies; everything was to go to me. I was trying to wean the different agencies and the task force of my EIT doing all the work.
The federal agencies had been getting a copy of everything related to terrorism that Robert was working on. They were repeatedly telling me they were not making progress on their own. I found that hard to believe – with all the advantages, money and the top computer people in the world – that the federal government was always behind with information.
The stack of paper that Ben and I needed to clear up was small enough that it would be gone by Thursday. All the new cases were now landing on Ben’s desk after I reviewed them.
After lunch I met with the President in the Oval Office; not only was the President there but also Troy and several more of the President’s official Washington circle.
“We know that you are planning on leaving at the end of the week and I know that you have plenty of other things to do. But first I would like you to consider this proposal,” the President said.
“In the Bill to make the task force permanent and have the chairperson reporting to the President was a requirement that a three person advisory committee be formed. That committee is to make a routine appearance before Congress and to ensure that all departments are working effectively while combating terrorism,” the President said.
“That committee will have the power to direct any and all federal agencies into action in the event of a terror attack against the homeland,” the President added.
“As you know the current arrangement is the task force has to request cooperation between agencies. This advisory committee will eliminate delays and bring the full force of the federal government, including the DOD, into action if necessary,” the President said.
We and by we I mean the leadership of both the House and Senate, the National Intelligence Agency, HHS, the DOD, NSA and DHS would like you to be Chairperson of the new committee. It will give you more flexibility. You can simply review reports from your command center and come to Washington when necessary,” the President said. ‘Oh, your security level will be increased and you will be able to sit in on cabinet meetings and all classified DOD meetings and planning sessions.”
“The only hitch is we still want your intelligence group to assist the NSA and CIA when needed and be under contract. We also may want to make more use of your embassy security as intelligence operatives. We know they have been diligent at reporting suspicious things back to your command center,” Art Cummins said. Art was the director of the National Intelligence Agency.
“You have a couple days to think about the decision, we would like to make an announcement at the change of command party on Thursday,” Troy added.
I agreed to let them know by Wednesday afternoon. I followed them into the cabinet meeting and began to learn about how real politics worked in Washington, much to my dismay. When it was over I thought I would have to gargle with jet fuel to get that taste out of my mouth.
I had just walked into my Section Twelve offices when Lorrie called.
“BJ, the aviation shop has been unloading helicopters and pallets of parts all day from a steady stream of trucks. Robbie and other inquiring minds want to know what you are going to do or are planning to do with the ten fully equipped Cobras. None of the DOD restricted items have been removed from them,” Lorrie asked.
“Cobras??” I responded.
“I did not request any Cobras! I have a meeting with the General tomorrow. I think that is a question I had better ask face to face and not over the phone,” I added.
Not only are the restricted items supposed to be removed, the Cobras themselves were restricted. I wondered, what does the General have up his sleeve?
A text arrived a few minutes later from Robert, “See me when you get to the office. Breakthroughs are coming in little bits and pieces.”
It was time to go and I was glad Ching Lee had been on my mind all afternoon. I needed something to take my mind off of the cabinet meeting that had been disgusting. It had been years since I had seen a fiasco like that. If I had been running the meeting I would have mopped the floor with a couple of the prima donnas.
I went to the office first to see Ching Lee, telling Robert I would be back in a few minutes.
I could tell she was uncomfortable and Marcy was sitting next to her.
“I started having contractions a few hours ago; my water has not broken yet. I’m expecting it to happen any time,” she said.
“Why don’t you and Marcy go see the doctor? We want to make sure the baby is not under any unusual stress. Call her first and tell her you are on the way,“ I said.
“Now it is unanimous; you are not putting it off any longer,” Marcy replied as she was dialing the phone. I could see the look of relief on Marcy’s face that I was making the doctor trip happen.
“Lorrie, why don’t you go with them, Vicky and I will be along after a meeting with Robert,” I said. It was more of an order than a request.
One of the changes I had put in place because of the new bounties was that a security team was always in the office. I walked out Ching Lee’s door and snapped my fingers. Ray Collins – the security team leader for this shift – was in front of me in seconds.
“Ching Lee needs to go to the doctor. They are calling her now; please make the ride gentle as possible. Call the backup team to come here to replace you. I may need them before you get back.”
“Some of the things you suspected are right; the posts from Tehran are being encrypted multiple times. They are orders and instructions. The poster Tiam is also in Tehran; he is someone in the planning group. He has replied to and paged a poster by the name of Jaed,” Robert said.
“Jaed means someone who talks to God and Tiam means a servant, usually in reference to God,” I replied.
“Jaed is in the Harrisburg area by the ISP numbers. They are planning something. I just wish we had found this information several weeks ago so we could have been following along with the conversation,” Robert said.
“They delete a message as soon as it gets twenty four hours old; so far I have found no way to get into their system,” Robert said.
“Jaed is involved in a group of some kind and has a Facebook page and pieces of some of the posts are posted there. The unusual thing is he has no friends or anything else posted there. He is using it as a bulletin board. It is getting a lot of hits every day,” Robert added.
I spent an hour with Robert going over the post and replies. I changed directions, why Harrisburg, what was the connection?
My thoughts were interrupted by my phone. It was Lorrie, “We are on our way to AAGH. Ching Lee is going to have the baby tonight the doc says. She wants a monitor to check on the baby, it may be by C section.”
“I am on my way,” I replied as I went looking for my security.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.