The rest of the weekend was quiet. On the trip to Washington, my satellite phone started ringing.
“Our prisoners are well enough to travel; our attempts at interrogation have been disappointing. After witnessing your results we want to bring them there – if possible – unless your specialist will come over here,” Director Dorin said.
‘It’s a special arrangement; he will only conduct interrogation’s for us,” I replied.
“I suspected so; it looked like the equipment was a permanent part of the installation. I think you should send a jet to pick them up; it will look less obvious on both ends of the flight. We have eight; two Colonels, three Captains and three Hezbollah leaders,” he said.
“Are they going to need stretchers or are they going to be able to sit?” I asked.
“Stretchers – the damage to their legs was extensive,” he replied.
“OK, I will send a C130 to pick them up. I don’t want the flight to be too comfortable. How many others are you sending with them?” I asked.
“Two interrogators and four guards,” Director Dorin replied.
“Is there any problem if our people want to ask them questions?” I asked.
“Once we are finished, ask all you want and dispose of them through your normal means. Officer David informs me you have a couple of effective solutions at your disposal,” he said.
“I will set up the Doc to be there Wednesday evening and reserve six rooms for your interrogators and guards at the Crash Motel,” I said.
I called Lorrie to get the flight in motion and Vicky to schedule the Doc.
I finished the call as the Suburban stopped at the White House side door.
My first interview was with Andrew Pollard at 0930. In the few spare minutes I had, I e-mailed General Ingram to come see me at first opportunity.
The General was down within minutes. I was with Ben in the task force meeting room along with the rest of his team.
“Ben, let’s go to my office for a couple minutes,” I said. I knew the NSA would be as interested as the General would be in the guests arriving at Fort Smith.
When the door closed, “I have guests coming to Fort Smith Wednesday. They have appointments with the Doc. You will be able sit in and conduct your own session. These sessions may take ten days to complete,” I said.
“Who are they?” General Ingram asked.
“I have no names but they are the two Colonels and the three Captains captured in the raid to rescue the Iranian General. Positive results from the operation I worked out with Director Dorin,” I replied.
“You can be sure we will be there!” Ben replied as General Ingram agreed.
I had time for one more call and that was to Prime Minister Aleixo Cordeiro.It took forever for the call to go through; finally I was connected.
“Prime Minister, I received a message to call you today,” I said.
“Yes I left a message; I have several things I want to discuss.”
“First, I want to have you and Vicky come back for the state dinner you missed. I still want you to address my government on terrorism.”
“As you know, many of my cabinet and ministers are new. Those who were not killed or injured in the assault have resigned and been replaced. They need a crash course in dealing with the new threats. From all appearances, your group is the people we need to bring them into the real world of terrorism and counter terrorism.”
“The next item is protection for me and my cabinet ministers. As you unfortunately saw, the palace police are more ceremonial than truly body guards.”
“I had discussions with the ministers about the military supplying security but we are afraid the opposition would go off unhinged as you have seen they can easily do. The public may take a dim view of such actions and view such actions as a conversion to a military state.”
“Not knowing where to turn, we started by having our ambassadors talk to your country’s ambassadors; they received an earful about your company, all of it good. Then I began investigating your organization in detail. I found that the Israel attack was not the first time that your men placed their lives on the line for you.
“I have to wonder, where do you find people with that kind of dedication? For god and country is one thing, but private employment is quite another.”
“I want to talk about a contract to supply security for me and my ministers. I know 24/7 security at the level you supply is expensive. But we cannot have another successful attack; the opposition would destroy my government,” the Prime Minster said.
“Vicky and I will leave here on Tuesday evening two weeks from tomorrow and hold our first meetings Wednesday morning to talk to your people. Send me an email with what you are looking for in personal security and the number of ministers you want covered. I will then put together a package and pricing for you to look at,” I said. “By the way, I will bring extensive security with me for my visit.”
“I would expect no less given the circumstances of the last visit,” he replied.
Andrew Pollard had arrived; Ben, Eric, Bobbie were there to take notes, and I went to the executive meeting room to met Troy as Andrew was escorted in.
I had ten pages of notes and questions to ask Andrew. I had spent hours this weekend reading through files, folders and the official documents. It was near noon when I finished. Ben, Eric and Troy had asked a total of zero questions although they did ask for clarification on a couple of his answers.
I asked him to wait in the lobby so the four of us could compare notes and then I would treat him to lunch in the White House five star cafeteria.
It only took a few minutes to confirm that he was going to be offered the position.
I called him back in, “Do you have any reservations about taking this seat on the oversight committee?” I asked.
“No, none at all. Everyone who has worked with and for you speaks highly and respectfully of you and I respect your no nonsense attitude. I believe we can get things done,” he replied.
“The job is yours! The press conference announcing it will be at 1600 if you want to get family here. Let’s go get some lunch,” I said.
Anne Hopkins arrived at 1215 and was escorted to the cafeteria. She was early as I knew she would be. Being an aide to a General meant that you were always early for meetings; the last thing one wanted was the wrath of a General for holding up a staff meeting.
I asked if she wanted lunch? “No, just show me where the coffee is,” she replied.
One more habit from the military that never goes away was the need for coffee.
At 1230 Joey Kellerman was brought to Troy. They had a lot of official documents to fill out and sign before the announcement, plus select Senators would be brought over from the Senate for introductions. These Senators were needed to work the nomination through the Senate process.
The conversation turned jovial at the table; friends, old friends – and of course – new friends who made life interesting.
Joey was quick to change the conversation over to hunting; she asked if Dad and Jason had secured all the bay front hunting property for this year. Joey had been bitten by the hunting and fishing bug while she lived with Jason and Lisa. They had hunted there every weekend last year.
“I am sure they did. Are you still busting up some clay targets while practicing as I asked?’ I asked.
“Already have. Did you see the new Browning auto goose gun they have in the gun club? It’s a beauty; I would like to have it but it’s pricey, ” Joey responded.
“See James, tell him I said to sell it to you at cost. If he has any questions tell him to call me. Oh – get, at cost, a case of ammo to hunt geese at the same time,” I said.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.