Ben called the meeting much earlier than I expected at 1300; I had just put copies of everything into a folder when his call came in. The only way I was going to be on time was to helicopter over to the White House lawn. I put in a call to the Secret Service White House control room to tell them I was coming and to get the landing information.
I was flying over in one of the new Bell 407s that had been added to the fleet. Marcy and Lorrie had come up with a replacement schedule for some of the older helicopters; this was one of this year’s group. We had some that were at the end of air frame life. The inspections were starting to find cracks in places where they should not be. We were going to keep this one for executive use; today I was the lucky one.
Troy and the President met me after the rotor stopped turning. “Looks like a new toy,” the President said.
“It is; just fifteen hours on it,” I replied then I added, “The pilots have just about cleaned and waxed the new smell out of it.”
The President and Troy both climbed in and checked it out from one end to the other. They were in it long enough that the Secret Service came out in force to see what was going on.
“What is the meeting about that Ben called on such short notice? Some of the directors are fuming,” Troy asked.
“Terror attack in the near future, we need to use more to data from certain agency files to gather information to find the terrorists. We are not making the progress we need to be able to stop the attack. I have to get more agencies involved and I suspect one of the agencies is going to resist. You may want to call both Senate and House leaders so I can put them on the spot too,” I said.
Troy did one of those raised eyebrows look, then smiled, ” OK – you call them!”
” OK – after we review what I have,” I said as we walked to the White House side door.
On the way to Ben’s office I called the FBI explosives agent, “Come to the White House, NOW, expedite the trip and bring your explosives calculator,” I said.
Ben, the President, Troy and I went over the information that I had received from Robert. I felt the President needed a private briefing before the real meeting. First to allow him to see what we were working against.
I explained the avenues of investigation we wanted and why.
“Moving the satellite over Harrisburg and concentrating its cameras there should not be a problem. The IRS director is a whole different thing – he is as hard headed as you are but digs in his heels deep and likes to use the threat of media releases to stifle any opposition, no matter how wrong his position is,” Troy said.
“Do you remember the charter and organizational documents for the oversight committee I am in charge of?” I asked the pair.
“Vaguely?” the President answered.
“Part 4 paragraph 1 sub-section 10A – if necessary I will exercise that option today,” I said.
I was reading the documents and had marked the page in the manual during the flight over. I opened the book and slid it over to the President.
The President read and then slid the book to Troy.
“If that is what it takes, go for it. But you are right- call the House and Senate leaders and get them here. They have the necessary clearances to see this and have influence in the final outcome. This action may not be a smooth ride.”
“I do remember that a majority vote by the four of them and you can overrule actions I take under that section. That is why I want them here at the beginning; I don’t want to have to go through this twice,” I said.
I called the two leaders of the Senate – Colin Harrison and Hank Whitby – and the two House leaders – Rhonda Hall and John Lee.
I told them all the same thing, “There is an emergency meeting of the Terrorist Task Force with the oversight committee in the White House Lincoln meeting room in 30 minutes; your attendance is required.”
While I was doing that, Ben called the directors that he and I wanted at the meeting and emphasized the meeting was mandatory. We needed OSHA, Labor and IRS. The CIA and NSA that controlled the satellite were members of the Task Force as was DHS and FBI.
I called Art Cummins and asked him to join the meeting. Art had always been open to anything I did or tried to do to stay ahead of the terrorists. His response was “I am on the way.”
General Ingram came in a few minutes with a mug of coffee in each hand. He placed one in front of me. “Black, no cream no sugar. I figured you would need a reserve,” he said.
Andrew Pollard and Anne Hopkins were sitting in on this meeting; it would be our first as a group. It would be telling to watch their reactions to the events. Bobbie Canterberry was going to take notes for me.
Several of the directors were fussing about having to come to the meeting. To upset them even more, Bobbie passed out the confidentially statement that made this a top secret meeting and any discussion outside this room would incur jail time.
After the incidents of various agents and staff secretly recording meetings on phones, I walked around with the trash can and collected cell phones. I started with my people and went around the table.
“I am not putting my phone in there and I am not signing another nondisclosure statement for you,” IRS commissioner Isaac Campbell replied.
His phone was on the desk in front of him; I grabbed the phone as he tried to stop me. I palm slammed the phone over the edge of the heavy-duty metal trash can – breaking it in half – and I then threw it on the table in front of him. It was sparking and arcing.
“Sign the form unless you want me to break your fingers and use your blood to sign it,” I said.
There were big eyes all around the table except for the ones who knew me very well from the actions at Fort Smith.
He looked around and then signed the paper.
There was a knock on the door; it was the FBI explosive expert Casey Todd.
Casey was the go to man within the FBI; he was the guy who estimated how powerful various explosive mixes and compounds were. He had complete data on every commercial and every known homemade mix there was. It was his data the news media used anytime there was an explosion. Casey had supplied the data for all the bombs the task force collected as evidence including the estimates of the Minnesota college bombing.
I gave him the description of Jaed’s bicycle bomb and what I wanted while Bobbie passed the assembled data.
“Ben, you present the known facts and I will take it from there,” I said.
Ben went through what we had learned from the dark web about the attack, the date, the place and communications between Tiam and Jaed. He explained what we knew about the bikes.
“Casey – what is the kill zone of those devices with the two and three quarter pounds of C4?” I asked.
“Everyone within twenty yards is most likely dead. Those between twenty to forty yards are going to have some severe injuries,” he said.
“With the group having one hundred of these bikes, can you give us an estimate of the fatalities at this kind of event? Last year the crowd estimate was fifty thousand in attendance – standing room only – I am told,” I said.
“Standing room only; at least two thousand dead, twenty for each bike; injuries may be another two to four thousand. Possibly another five hundred killed in the human stampede of everyone trying to get away,” Casey replied.
“Now that we have laid some of the cards on the table on what we are possibly looking at, there are some agencies that have not been included in this kind of operation before. Because the information is from the dark web it hinders our ability to get effective and complete information. We believe that a specialized machine shop is building the tubes for the bikes.”
“Labor and OSHA – I need you to compile a list of all machine shops in a one hundred mile radius of Harrisburg that could have CNC machines and lathes. That information should be readily available to you. I need that list immediately.”
“I will have the office start immediately. You will have the list by the end of the day,” Labor Secretary Michael Harvey replied.
“OSHA, once the list is compiled and evaluated I want you and Labor to do a class 3 safety inspection on all of them and of course in the process you will also be looking for pipes and bikes.”
“You will have OSHA’s list tomorrow morning,” Katie Lowe responded. Katie was the Director of OSHA; she reported to Harvey.
“The FBI is looking at pipe suppliers for large orders of pipe of that size. They are also trying to identify the other components in the pictures and sources.”
“Commissioner Campbell, once we get the list of the machine shops we need you to pull up the business tax records for the last three years. We are looking at the owners and the employee list from the W2’s so we can run the names through Interpol, DHS, FBI and the task force terrorist list,” I said.
“The more information we get and the sooner we get it, the more likely we may be able to stop this before anyone dies,” I said.
“The IRS will have nothing to do with your egg hunt. There are rules against us giving out that tax information. I will not bend any of them for you. Drop dead; it is not going to happen,” Isaac Campbell replied.
“We are not after the tax information; just the list of names,” I said.
“Makes no difference- it is still considered confidential tax data,” he replied.
For the next thirty minutes all of the people in the hunt for terrorists in the room tried to reason with Campbell, including the Representatives and Senators. They told him that national security and the authority of the Task Force and Oversight committee would trump his and any court concerns if the decisions were challenged.
In the process of the debate I slid my manual over to Anne, “Make me 15 copies of this page and bring me a highlighter.”
Campbell was having none it. At every reason he only dug in harder.
I highlighted Part 4 paragraph 1 sub section 10A and then rapped on the table.”Enough time has been wasted on all this,” I said as I passed the sheet of paper to each attendee.
“Now that we have reached a dead end on the discussion on this critical matter, I feel I must act. There is far too much risk of mass causalities for all agencies for of the federal government not to work together.”
“Isaac Campbell, to force your agency to cooperate with the intelligence community, the Terrorist Task Force and the Advisory Committee I am invoking Part 4 paragraph 1 sub section 10A of the Terrorism Control and Interdiction Act (TCIA).”
“You are removed as Commissioner of the IRS effective this day and time. A termination hearing will be held tomorrow at 1300,” I said.
“You cannot do that! You do not have the authority!” he screamed back at me.
“I do and I did – you are effectively fired for insubordination and other offenses, there is only one avenue to change my decision.”
“Mr. President, Congressman Lee and Hall and Senators Harrison and Whitby, according to sub section 11 in the same part you can overrule my decision with a majority vote. Do you wish to overrule my decision and actions? If so now is the proper time,” I said.
There were five no’s.
I picked up the phone and dialed the Secret Service command desk, “Please send a US Marshal to the Lincoln meeting room.”
“Dick, will you make the call to cancel all of Isaac’s computer authorizations, logins and passwords?” I asked as Bobbie passed out the telephones I had taken. For some strange reason the State Department controlled who had all levels of clearances and authorizations.
“Mr. President who are you going to appoint as temporary commissioner so we can get them up to speed on what needs to be done?” I asked.
“Until we get past this attack I think it best if you add temporary IRS Commissioner to your duties. Let the assistant commissioner handle the general duties but you need to be able to stand on his toes make sure they follow your orders so there are no mistakes or foot dragging,” the President said.
That was bad enough but then both Senators agreed and that only made it worse. The Treasurer of the US was called to inform him of the change.
Nowhere in the pages of rules and restrictions was there any mention that I would have to assume the duties when I used part 4. I assumed the politicians would be eager to appoint a party favorite to fill the position.
I knew what assume could do; make an ‘ass out of U and me’. The donkey bit me on this one.
Like it or not I was back into the daily Washington routine – at least until I left for Portugal.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.