After breakfast I put on the best black ladies business suit I had and even applied a little makeup and perfume – something I almost never did.
I carried the only complete paper record of the broken code communiqué we had captured between Tiam and Jaed. Those that Robert had deciphered and I carried to the task force meetings, I collected after they made their way around the table.
The FBI, CIA, DHS and national intelligence all were supposed to be doing their own code breaking. I had no control over them – well maybe I did some but they always seemed to be days late with whatever they did.
The subpoenas were for me – not the agencies – and that only made me think that the congressional people thought I was an easier target. Time would tell. Plus several of the committees that had subpoenaed me had a reputation for leaks to the media.
I was in Section Twelve at 0800 with Anne, Andy, Bob and Troy and explained what was going down today. Troy wanted to know why I had not gone through the normal court process to squash the subpoenas.
“Every time those congressional people come out of the courthouse they will have to have their time in front of the camera, dropping hints and tidbits and trying to cover it with double talk to get more time. Intelligent people and speculating news people will blow the cover away in a matter of time.”
“This court will put an end to all that; it will be a new experience for them,” I said.
I handed Troy two of the Harrisburg reports, “I may have to enter one of these as part of the materials at court. Have the President look it over. When I get back I will go over it with you. Andrew and Anne are going to PA tomorrow to present it and its recommendations to all the participants of the raid tomorrow at 1100,” I said.
A pair of secret service agents drove us to Judiciary Square. Inside the lobby Curtis Warren was waiting. In a private room to the side Anne, Andrew and I went through the papers we had brought one by one.
Then we went through the Harrisburg report. The reason being the first few pages continued the little white lie with a time line with more redacted black ink than visible white paper.
There were dates for the calls to the tip line; the interview session was all blacked out. The placement of the FBI ladies in the establishment and fake reports from those ladies – right up to the last day – were blacked out as well. Everywhere there should have been a name, place or other information that could lead to a real person was blacked out.
“OK, you were certainly consistent. You are going to testify the why and how and the national security need and why it must be kept top secret. You have documents to prove it was successful,” Curtis said.
“You can expect to be aggressively cross examined by the judge. You did bring enough reports for the defendants to review in the discovery process and for the judges to follow along?” Curtis asked.
“Yes on the reports but there is only one copy of the transcripts from the intercepts,” I replied.
The bailiff knocked on the door and told us we could go into the courtroom. They were ready for our hearing; the court would be called to order in ten minutes.
Our cell phones were collected as were any other devices. We went through the scanners and x-ray stations. The Senators, Representatives and their aides were behind us.
I guess they thought they could bring the flunkies with them. They were terribly upset when they were told only the persons named on the subpoenas were allowed; all other persons had to exit the building.
The floor above and below the courtroom had been cleared and closed off to all visitors; only court personnel allowed.
We had to stand when the judges came in. ‘Be seated.’ The bailiff read the docket.
“The Federal Terrorism Court Special case of the United States will come to order. The honorable James Patton is presiding. Case number 18-409 Jones verses the US Congress. All testimony, evidence and rulings in this hearing are Classified under the rules of special court and punishable by a minimum of ten years in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary,” the bailiff said.
There are no deluxe prison cells there I thought to myself.
All of us had to sign secrecy agreements.
“Your honor, the plaintive seeks to have the two subpoena duces tecum overruled under national security interest,” Mr. Warren said.
Curtis gave a lengthy opening statement followed by Holcomb Black for the senate judiciary committee, Albert Palms for the house judiciary committee and finally, Rico Barns for the house domestic affairs committee.
Anne, Andrew and I listened for an hour to legal motions, challenges, objections, previous rulings and legal precedents and so on.
“The Senate and House both have a constitutional responsibility to oversee and demand accountability from federal agencies, even those that have been given special powers to deal with emergencies for the executive branch. The terrorist task force is no exception when criminal activities may have happened.”
“The use of federal agents in nefarious – possible illegal – activities by the task force cannot be overlooked,” Senator Black said.
“Your Honor, the purpose of this hearing is to stop testimony that could and would become public that could do tremendous damage to the security of the United States and the international fight against terrorism by Ambassador Jones.”
“Ambassador Jones is prepared to enter into evidence top secret information that will remove all doubt about the reasons for her actions and the necessity for no disclosure,” Curtis added.
“Your Honor, there can be no evidence that eliminates the responsibility of Congressional over site and the public’s right to know what their government is doing,” Senator Black said.
“Mr. Warren you may call your witness and present your case,” Judge Patton said.
“I call Roberta Jones,” Mr. Warren said.
“State your full name,” the court clerk said.
“Roberta Josephine Jones,” I said.
“Raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” the court clerk said.
“I do,” I replied.
“The Harrisburg terrorist cell was well trained – its leaders were trained by the IRG with ISIS connections. The cell was controlled by the Iranian Republican Guard intelligence unit first with General Fayeez Mohammad. After his death General Abdalrahman Kedar was named its leader.”
“I pulled a partial dark web address with a partial password from General Mohammed’s body – our experts did the rest,” I said. Another little white lie.
“Prior to getting into the dark web we knew nothing about the activities of the Harrisburg group. It was just recently we learned there are also ten other Iranian controlled groups from that link.”
“What I am saying is we have broken the current secret code that the IRG is using to communicate with the terror cells in the United States.”
“There were no leaks from within the cell. All the information was from the broken codes. We knew that with the Harrisburg raid the code would be changed and we would lose our ability to identify and track the other cells.”
“We were desperate for a way to convince General Kedar he had a leak from the cell and not a code problem. I didn’t think of it until I was on the podium – what better way than the old vices. I just had to make it outlandish enough that the media would take it and run worldwide and do a convincing job.”
“There were no strippers, no strip joints and no FBI agents working there. The media did their thing. General Kedar fell for it. That is why I am asking to have the subpoenas dropped. Any hint or thought that the codes have been compromised or the cover story is false would be a disaster in the fight on terrorism. One that may lead to mass causalities,” I said.
“You removed materials from the General’s body? Just how did you manage that?” Senator Black asked.
“General Mohammad was with the Hezbollah group that attacked my convoy on the Golan – we think as an advisor. You shoot at me – I shoot back. I put a three shot group in his chest and a round between his eyes for good measure,” I said, another little stretch on the truth but I did kill him, just not that way.
“What evidence do you have that the Iranians fell for it?” Senator Black asked.
“They told us so. Mr. Warren, may I have the book please?” I said.
“What book is that?” the judge asked.
“We feel the unencrypted communiqués are so secret and so sensitive there is only one copy and this is it, “I said.
I flipped to the pages and found the two communiqués the day after the raid and removed them.
“Here are the two that indicate he fell for the story,” I said as I handed Judge Patton the two pages where Kedar was railing about his people falling for the oldest vices and demanding purity.
Judge Patton read the two papers then called the Senators and their lawyers and Congressman Palms to the bench to read the two papers.
“Your honor, all this is irrelevant and immaterial. Ambassador Jones killed General Kedar. Surely the codes are useless now,” Senator Black said.
“Your honor, the codes are still active. General Kedar ordered the attack on me in the Golan Heights; he tried it again and I defended myself. We have reason to believe General Kedar was planning dirty bomb attacks as soon as the materials became available from their nuclear program.”
“General Kedar is no stranger to mass murder. During the Iraq and Iran war he ordered dozens of villages and small towns eliminated; even the newly born. I have no doubt he would order dirty bombs used,” I said.
“We simply cannot cause premature failure of the codes by giving them any indication that we know of them.”
“Where is the next target,” Judge Patton asked.
“Kadar’s replacement Major General Adeem Mohamed Bashir has smaller goals. The cell in Oklahoma has been ordered to plan an attack on Oklahoma State University in the fall,” I said.
“The court will take a ten minute recess before I rule on this case,” Judge Patton said.
“Your honor, before you do that there is one more item I would like to bring to your attention. The day of the attack I ordered an investigation because of the number of officers killed and injured. That report has been completed and will be released tomorrow, if the President approves. The first few pages continue the cover story,” I said.
Andrew handed the judge and then the congressional people a copy.
I waited for questions before the judge ordered the recess and went to his chambers. There were none.
The ten minutes seemed like an hour before the judge came back.
“The subpoena duces tecum are overruled and are null and void. I am hesitant to void all the subpoenas although that may be the best way. But it would interfere with the duties of Congress.”
“Therefore the court orders you – Ambassador Jones – are not to answer any questions related to the intelligence gathering leading to the Harrisburg raid. The court will issue an order to that effect.”
“I remind everyone of the secrecy statements you signed. This court will administer only the harshest penalties under the law for violating those oaths,” Judge Patton said.
Andrew collected the reports and I had the communiqués. The bailiff returned our phones. A text alarm went off as soon as I turned the phone on. The message was from Robert. “Picking up chatter – there may be an attack against you today. More as we get it – is not from our normal sources.”
“Andrew, we have a problem. Find the two Secret Service agents and tell them to call the office. We need two more Suburbans and extra agents in body armor with auto weapons and bring my heavy armor from the coat closet,” I said.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.
O, the pain of waiting for the other shoe in this cliffhanger to drop.
Thank you for keeping me in deep suspense 😋😍🤩😁.