The next few days were a relief; the prisoners were gone and I had no need to go to Washington. I got to spend time holding little babies and playing with the boys.
All of us girls spent a lot more time in the gym; there was no way I could hold my own against the Mossad ladies in my present condition. It was going to take awhile to get back to where I was.
I spent hours on the shooting range; getting shot at will make you want to be perfect with your return shots.
The gun club had several new assault rifles and handguns they wanted me to look at and try out on the range; newer, faster action, larger clips. No one was saying anything outright but everybody had something they wanted me to look at that would help protect me.
The people who made our bullet resistant vests brought a van full of new designs they wanted us to evaluate. They even brought some of the new advanced body armor. They also asked if they could test and photograph the vest I had been wearing in Portugal.
Photograph and inspect yes ; test no, most testing of that type involved some destruction. It was already hung on the wall in my office with the others as a reminder of just how close I had come to dying; not that I needed a reminder.
The down side was I needed make more trips abroad so the planning began. This time the girls laid down the law; I was going to one country and then returning home so no one would be able to figure out where I was going next. The trips were not going to start until after Harrisburg.
It was Thursday morning as I made my way to Washington; I had a 1000 meeting with Dick James, the Secretary of State. The meeting lasted until noon time as we reviewed the reports that my trip to Portugal and Spain had generated.
As usual – with the bureaucratic bull that accompanied the government – another internal audit and review process was also developed. Just more months wasted and extra time to allow the bosses to cover their collective asses.
Meanwhile the NSA, DHS, and the FBI were to given a list of all those who were given immigration status approval, green cards or asylum to find, interview and do thorough background checks on, if they could find them. Let the fun begin I thought.
Troy and Harry joined me at my table as I was picking over my salad and my thoughts.
“Your media friends are asking if you are going to address them today while you are here,” Harry said.
“I hadn’t planned on it; I have a full schedule,” I replied.
I did have a full schedule so I was not lying and I really did not have much I could say.
At 1300 I was in my new office with the reports from my meeting with Dick and the finalized report from my trip to Portugal. I was waiting on Ambassador Oliver Taylor to arrive.
I had wondered again why I was asked to doing this kind of interview with someone who should have had more rank and privilege than I did.
Digging through the official duties and guidelines for the oversight committee that I was now chairperson of, I found bits and pieces. On page 844, section D, subsection nine, amendment two, line forty four, item three was one paragraph that summed it up.
“On the recommendation of the committee, any employee of any government agency including Congress; involved at any level of national security or international affairs or national defense could face discipline including;
criminal charges, immediate termination for failure to carry out reasonable security measures or oversight of any employees assigned to them, breach of security or espionage.”
It gave department heads five days to carry out the committee recommendations.
The scope of the term ‘measures’ was three pages long and covered everything from spying, cyber security by agency, physical security of all government installations, personnel and more. There were three more pages of definitions of measures.
The committee was to be the enforcement arm eliminating departmental and Congressional politics, if that was ever possible. I did not think any of it would hold up in any kind of court challenge.
Reading in-between the lines, high level government officials had finally had enough of the stone-walling of agencies protecting their own, massive bureaucracy processes that never resulted in anything more than news print. If it was connected to national security, the committee was to be the hammer.
My reporting to Congress was a cover for those politicians. The agencies did not know – or maybe they did – the firestorm that I could create with the power they had given the committee.
Dick and I had talked at length about the failures of the Ambassadors to properly monitor their employees and stations. I had written up a list of guidelines and improvements. Oliver Taylor was to be the first the feel the brunt of those changes.
Ambassador Taylor was thirty minutes late to my meeting. The raging interruption of my MTAC to Portugal and late for my meeting was not going to bode well.
Ninety minutes later Ambassador Taylor left with a new understanding of how his embassy and it security was to be run. No longer would an assistant director be allowed to approve any immigration into the country. All applications would require multiple approvals.
All interviews would be conducted with a security person in the room and recorded. All interviews of non-English speaking applicants would be conducted with and through an embassy supplied interpreter. No longer would any previously filled out paperwork be accepted. The applicant had to fill it out at the embassy with the assistance of an interpreter if necessary.
The fact that Ambassador Taylor now had a disciplinary letter in his file didn’t set well with him and would affect his pay for awhile.
With the few minutes I had left I started looking through the folders that I had put together to fill the other positions of my committee. They were recommendations from the intelligence and Senate community and also the White House.
I narrowed the list down to three, two that I wanted, the third just in case. The first was Andrew Pollard. Andrew had served in the US army intelligence section; not behind the desk but in the field during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was personally decorated by General Schwarzkopf. He was an expert on the Middle East. From the army he served a stint in the CIA as an operative in all parts of Africa.
After the CIA he did consulting work for the NSA and had testified before Congressional intelligence committees multiple times before leaving government.
I had met Andrew at the FBI briefings on the remote control bombs we had found and intelligence we had gathered. I found him interested, knowledgeable, and professional; above all, a no bullshit kind of guy. I read some of the reports in his file and was impressed.
The next was Anne Hopkins. She had been a captain in the Marines. She was an intelligence officer; more directly, she had worked analyzing communications in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. She had been an intelligence specialist to Marine General Keith Whitley.
General Whitley had been the general who had field promoted me to a Major for 10 hours on the rescue mission to Camp John Roberts. After the war she had transferred to the JAG corps here in Washington while she attended Washington law school before leaving the military.
As I read though her resume the dates stood out. Anne had been a classmate of Joey Kellerman. Joey – Bones as she was known to her friends – was one of the girls we had rescued from the Annapolis North girl gang and lived with and been tutored by Jason and Lisa Coles. Bones had completed the normal eight year law school course in three years and was working as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harvey Walgreen. Bones was at the top of the three nominees on the short list for the vacant associate federal judge position here in Washington.
She had bought one of the houses in the development that Lorrie had taken over from foreclosure by Annapolis Banking and Trust. Joey was a gym regular and was family.
One of the reasons that I wanted Anne was that being a communications expert analyst in the Middle East she should be able to shed light on the dark web sites and able to help Ben and the task force.
The other was Larry Barton; he was one of the top prosecutors for the Justice Department. Larry had served in a variety of Justice Department positions. Before the Justice Department he had been a legislative aide to Senator Hank Whitby. Larry had been in a lot of meetings between the Senator and me. He was willing to bend the rules – as I was – to get the job done.
I called the first two choices and set up interview sessions for Monday morning. Then I went to the Oval Office to see if there would be any conflicts with my choices. It wasn’t necessary but I thought it was the proper thing to do.
The trip home went fast; the girls and Robert were waiting to see me.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.