After lunch I had a private meeting with four Senators, arranged by the White House, in the White House private dining area. It was a business over lunch meeting.
Two Senators were from the judiciary committee and two from the terrorism subcommittee. We ate with just small talk, mostly about the hot dry weather and a little about the IRS changes.
After the waiter cleared the table and brought weak coffee, the Senators started fishing.
“How long were you following the Harrisburg group?” Senator Casey asked.
Senator Casey was one of the senior members on the Senate’s terrorism committee and an ardent supporter of the task force.
“You do know that this conversation is classified and if there any leaks, there are only four people I have to look for,” I said.
“Yes, we understand and we know you take few prisoners,” the Senator replied.
“That’s true; several previous administrations used to leave bodies in Montrose Park with their hands tied behind their back and self inflicted gunshot wounds to the back of the head. I do a much better job than that,” I said with a straight face.
“Several months is all I can say at the time,” I replied.
“How long did you know about their plans for the water park?” the Senator asked.
“Their detailed plan – about a month,” I replied.
“Why did you wait so long before trying to arrest and stop them?” Senator Smithfield asked.
Smithfield was the newest member of the Senate terrorism committee.
“We had an outline of the plan but not all the members, their sources of materials, supporters of the group and possible connections to other like minded groups. Finding out those things was as important as shutting down the group. We felt we could shut down the group at any time,” I said.
“Did you find any information that was helpful after so much time and manpower was invested?” Smithfield asked.
“Yes. But I will not discuss that information because it has opened at least a dozen more investigations of sleeper cells previously unknown here in the US,” I replied.
“The ACLU has charged and filed suit and is demanding that Congress hold hearings that excessive force was used at Avon Heights. What is your response to that?” Senator Bellows asked.
Senator Bellows was on the Justice Committee that oversaw the AG and Justice department.
“Monday morning quarterbacking. Yes we did use a lot of force there – after the teams were fired upon – after ten agents were killed and over thirty critically wounded – and after over thirty law enforcement vehicles were riddled with bullet holes,” I replied.
“The committee directed the AG to find out who the ten FBI ladies were. We want to subpoena them and clear up questions about their assignment and if anything illegal was done. AG Dunne informed the committee you again refused to identify them. I am directing you to identify them here and now or you will be subpoenaed to bring the information to the committee hearings,” Senator Bellows said.
“I told the AG I could not remember their names nor could I remember what they looked like; that’s my story and I am sticking to it. Outing them could seriously jeopardize those other investigations we just talked about and several others that were started. I will not do that at any cost,” I said.
“The size, scope, the number of bombs and the international connections of Harrisburg indicate that we are in for a mass causality event sometime in the near future. I won’t risk one, not one intelligence source that could prevent that,” I said.
“You don’t have the authority to deny the committee that information,” Senator Bellows replied.
“Then you have not studied the documents for the Task Force, the Oversight Committee and the power it gives me. Also you need to reread the national security directive in the classified CIA operations manual, chapters fourteen through twenty four to be exact. Then read the agreements between the Senate and House in regards to cold war cloak and dagger operations revised after 9-11.”
“After you enjoy all that look at the Patriot Act, section nineteen through twenty one. Then you need to read the orders and instructions from the Federal Judges who make up the secret terrorism court in regards to covert operations with international implications.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot, neither the Senate nor the House members have access to those records from the secret court. If you want access to an individual sheet from those orders and have the document number, you will have to have approval from the Chief Justice, the President and the chairperson of the Terrorism Task force – me.”
“To top it off they are read-only in an 8 x 8 room; no copies, no pictures, no phones or cameras and with an armed guard watching you.”
“The mountain you have to climb makes Everest look like a piss ant hill in the back yard.”
“What countries were involved?” Senator Casey asked.
“I cannot disclose the countries involved without direct orders from the President but this terrorist group was an international effort involving more than one adversarial country and a super power.”
“Those countries are in the process of sending over one hundred spies into this county as we speak. We are lucky that we – so far – are able to identify them as they arrive from one of the intelligence sources I don’t want to lose. I feel the counter intelligence will be productive and possibly lead to exposure of spy networks already here.”
“I guess you want testimony that will ultimately be leaked, destroying that intelligence source and any gains that have been made in the last two years,” I said.
“No, but we need to clear up questions about the raid, the involvement of the FBI and the connection to the former IRS Secretary,” Senator Bellows said.
“I will bet those questions are being pushed by the right to know media every chance they get, behind closed doors, just so they can push the next juicy story with a hint of sexual misconduct on their prime time news show,” I said.
“So the ladies did sexual things with customers,” Senator Bellows said.
“I have no idea, they were told only to report on the terrorists we were watching and nothing else they or anyone else saw or did. That is a need to know thing and I nor anyone else needs to know – so I don’t and did not ask,” I said.
“You run a tight ship – no one seems to know anything about the agents, the strip joints, any couriers, any information you received or how you got it. We sent investigators to every joint; even their security video for the last two months had been cleaned. Their payroll records were complete with no gaps or unusual entries, no one on extended vacations or illnesses,” Senator Bellows said.
I thought it was interesting the joints had cleaned up everything figuring they were going to get a going over. Or maybe they didn’t want to be fingered as being a terrorist hangout.
Getting rid of the security tapes and perfect labor records sounded like they had a professional cleanup team assist them in going over everything.
“Only way to win a war and I hate to lose even one minor skirmish,” I said.
“If that is all you need I must go. I must say this has been an interesting conversation. Keep in mind that the next time I may be the one asking the questions,” I said.
It was time to go home. Marcy had sent a text they wanted me there for tonight’s meeting. The reports were back from the mine surveys and to top it off I was going to have a visitor; the gentleman had made an appointment for five.
I wondered why Jenny had referred to him as “the gentleman.”
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.