The day started out on a good note with reports from Lorrie’s group on the comments from the East Water Cay guests who had been there last week; they were positive this time and several had booked repeat visits. Lorrie and Marcy both were getting more confident with that deal and doing more planning.
I was at the White House at 1000 for an early meeting with Troy and the President before the public handshake and signing. When I stepped into the office Troy, the President, Ben and Ambassador Garcia were in there with one empty chair for me.
“Ambassador Jones, I want to thank you for sending your corporate drivers and guards to move the cartel detainees back to Mexico. They have revealed a substantial amount of information that will be very helpful in your goals. Troy tells me they have not received an invoice for the task,” Ambassador Garcia said.
“Invoices and checks leave a paper trail that certain members of Congress would gleefully find and then demand answers under oath. That kind of operation needs to leave no paper trail for the benefit of all involved,” I replied.
“I understand completely but we have no such worries as that in Mexico. I will leave you my card; make an invoice and send it to me. I will see that it is taken care of. I understand that your services do not come – as they say – cheap.”
“But for quality, confidentially and the kind of service your team supplies that can only be expected. Without getting any details I have been told your teams have had many successful operations,” Ambassador Garcia said.
“Without getting into details, there have been successes,” I replied with a smile.
The conversation lasted another thirty minutes before we gathered in front of the reporters. This time I was successful at standing behind the VIP’s and getting away without answering any questions. The ones that did come my way I handed off to Ben.
After the press conference Ben and I discussed the boxes of evidence Garcia had brought with him.
“I want a copy of anything that references the Prince, Balthazar, any reference to Iran or the new web sites,” I said to Ben.
“I can do better than that, you will get a copy of everything regardless by courier as soon as we get it,” Ben replied.
“I took a page from your book this morning; Mexico does not know that we captured the number two man in the drug cartel while he was trying to cross into New Mexico over the weekend. Erik was able to keep it out of the media. The recommended rules changes for the media that you suggested were put into place and have been helpful,” Ben said.
“We were able to keep it out of the normal process, and are questioning him at a safe house. Will you allow him to be moved to Fort Smith and arrange for the doc’s assistance? He is being totally uncooperative,” Ben asked.
“If he is the number two he should be able to connect up a lot of things with the Prince and possibly the Iranians. As many cartels as there were at La Jarita, someone high up has to be in the know. Sure; are you going to deliver him or do you want one of my teams to pick him up?” I asked.
“You can pick him up at the general aviation airport in Columbus, New Mexico; we have a safe house there. Call this number a half hour before they land and they will be waiting at the airport when the plane lands,” Ben replied as he handed me a card with the number.
I made the call to Lorrie to schedule the flight. ” We need a “no-records, off -the-books” flight with armed escorts to transport a prisoner to the jail at Fort Smith for the Doc to experiment with,'” I said.
“How are you? You looked a little uneasy at breakfast,” I asked.
“The contractions started right after you left and I think Mindy’s has also. She called all excited about the same time! Jake is with her wearing out the hallway flooring,” Lorrie replied.
“Call the doc, let her check you out. Is Ching Lee up to being your coach or is Vicky going to do it?” I asked.
“Ching Lee says it is not happening without her being there,” Lorrie replied.
“You know all of us are going to be there,” I added.
I turned my attention back to Ben and the discussion of what events were happening in the Harrisburg area in the next 45 days. Unfortunately there were a mess of them.
Harrisburg was the capital of Pennsylvania and a hub of commercial and entertainment events. The state legislature was out of session for summer break but everything else was going gangbusters.
The state fairground complex was loaded with major events. It was a big place with dozens of huge buildings. There was a summer home garden show that offered everything imaginable to improve your castle and its surroundings. It drew hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors.
Then there was the annual FFA (Future Farmers of America) convention and farm show which finished off with a cattle auction the final day. The farm show had farm equipment vendors from across the nation displaying the latest equipment and farming innovations.
Dad and Jason went to it every year after we bought the property for Morton Field and the two adjoining farms to make sure they were never developed. I think they both used the quiet time on the equipment for stress relief.
But – it could have been the several days of fly fishing in the trout filled Pennsylvania streams was the real reason they went.
As if those two events were not enough, there was the annual boat and RV show and finally the annual outdoor sportsman gun and hunting show; both of them drew massive crowds.
All this was just at one complex. Then there was the massive Hershey park summer water park and recreation complex that went into overload crowds with the schools on summer break.
As if that was not enough, there were near fifty or so professional events scheduled throughout the month. Baseball, golf, tennis tournaments, rock and country music concerts, arts events and the list went on and on.
Without getting any breaks from intelligence, security would be a massive undertaking.
This was a new approach by terrorists and coming from Iran I was sure; simply overload your ability to provide security.
It was the same approach that Iran, China, and Russia were implementing to neutralize our carrier advantage. All were implementing or building massive numbers of very large and powerful anti-ship missiles for a few million each instead of trying to match us carrier for carrier in Russia and China’s case. Those carriers cost tens of billions to build and billions more to equip. Iran would never have a carrier but faced them in the Strait of Hormuz.
The plan was simple; launch a hundred – even 200 or so at one time – and overload the ships defensive ability. All they needed was just one super missile to get through to make a carrier a sinking piece of junk.
The Navy brass failed to realize that the more hi-tech and complicated you made it, the easier it is to disable it. With massive computerization, simple things could be a disaster. A simple computer blip could take hours to overcome, reload and reboot. With electromagnetic catapults a simple generator failure puts the entire flight deck out of service.
One – just one – hit by the super missiles with hi-energy explosives could do so much more damage to so many ships systems.
A billion dollars for two hundred missiles was not even close to the operating cost for one carrier group for a year. China could most likely build twice that many for a billion dollars, as cheaply as they built things.
How many events were they going to attack? None, to gather intelligence on our security tactics and preparations to defend against attacks? One, five, maybe ten to send a message? It was anyone’s guess.
But one thing was a sure bet, after the first one many of those events would be canceled and those that weren’t would have super security in place.
Unless the plan was to use bombs there was one event I did not think they would attempt to attack and that was the gun show. Every vendor there was packing heat. With thousands of guns on display and thousands of rounds on the tables, any attack would be over quickly. Most people who went to those shows knew how to and intended to shoot back.
Ben did not hesitate to ask for help in planning; he and I started working on security ideas in case intelligence let us down this time. Every single event was going to be a disaster case on its own.
There was one idea that immediately flashed in my mind, the suppliers and vendor to each of those events would have the perfect cover to smuggle bombs and even gas cylinders inside.
We already knew that Iran had smuggled saran gas in before. Had we destroyed enough of the smuggling routes and smugglers or was there some we had failed to find? We now knew they still had an organization in the states; but how big and organized?
Then another idea flashed – they really didn’t need poison gas or fancy explosives; every food vendor at every event with every food cart used twenty and forty pound propane cylinders to cook the food and usually had spares. There were dozens of vendor at every event.
“Ben, every vendor at all those events needs to be thoroughly checked and see who they have been communicating with, who their friends are,” I directed as I explained why.
Another point flashed in my mind, several previous administrations’ state departments had worked a secret deal with the UN to move thousands of immigrants to the US to help the refugee problem in Syria and the decades of violence in Africa in violation of US law and customs.
They were barely vetted by the UN and determined they were no threat. Then they were flown into the US under the dark of night to the Harrisburg commercial airport in UPS planes.
They were met at the plane with buses and placed around the four state areas. People complained but those complaints fell on deaf ears. How many were terrorists and where were they now?
“Ben, where are these people now and what are they doing?” I asked.
My answer was a puzzled look on his face.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.