I went to the White House first to meet with Troy and the President. I wanted to see if they had any special instructions I needed to follow. There were none.
Andrew and I met Curtis Warren on the steps of Congress. I was wearing the new heavy body armor at Andy’s insistence. If anyone was going to kill me, it would have to be with a head shot. There were dozens of security from the Secret Service and the capital police on the steps.
They were needed to keep media back. I wondered why the White House wanted me to climb the stairs. It was clear they wanted the airtime at my expense.
This morning’s appearance was to be Senator Black’s Senate Judiciary committee. This was not the first time that I had testified before congressional committees. It was one of the few times I was forced to do so under a subpoena.
Inside walking to the judiciary chamber to testify was like walking through a maze. There were Senators everywhere standing in the hall. Most were politicking for the home town papers, wanting handshakes or to be seen with me as their staff took pictures.
“Raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
Just to piss them off, “So help me God – I do,” I said.
The questions began, “Ambassador Jones.”
“I am prohibited from answering any questions about the collection of intelligence in this case by the Federal Court of Special Cases of the District of Columbia,” I said.
“I cannot answer that question because I believe it falls under executive privilege,” I said.
Then they changed tactics to questions that only required yes or no, trying to trap me. It didn’t work.
Finally they gave up and went through the report and asked general questions related to the meat of the investigation. By lunch time they had run out of questions related to the planned Harrisburg terror attack. Then they started asking just general questions about where we stood on stopping terrorism.
For lunch we were asked to join a group of Senators in the congressional cafeteria. Lunch there was a five course meal on the government’s meal card. A nap would have been more appropriate than sitting for three more hours in the congressional hot seat. But that is where we headed.
It was at the lunch that I met Senator Ginger Brothers from Nevada. I had met her husband Sam in Polokwane. She was brassy and ballsy. She pulled a chair from another table and forced herself into the table and the conversation without invitation.
“I see you met my husband in South Africa flying around on the government’s dime,” she said.
“Actually I was flying on my own dime when I met Sam,” I said. Then I added, “All this extra time in Washington is costing the government a lot so I will be able to do a lot more flying,” I said.
“What do you mean?” she asked all surprised.
“My agreement calls for only sixteen hours or two days a week max – for anything over that the government pays ten thousand an hour plus expenses. You have got me here testifying all week,” I said jokingly.
She was all flabbergasted, stuttering and didn’t have a quick comeback.
“Don’t fret, that is only about one – tenth of what it cost for congressional salaries,” I said.
After a few minutes it was easy to see why Sam wanted to be as far away from Washington and her as he could get. I wondered how two so completely oppositely personalities could be married and not be in a continuous brawl. Distance was the only answer.
The congressional side was more of the same, just different people who thought they were important asking the same questions, getting the same answers.
“Four more days of this to go, what a waste,” I thought. But there was a reprieve. Friday morning both the Senate and House finally came to the conclusion that they weren’t going to learn anything new from me by any tactics they tried. The two subpoenas for Friday were withdrawn before we went into the chambers.
Curtis went back to his law practice with one hundred thousand of the government’s money for his time. Andrew and I went back to Section Twelve to catch up on all we had missed, or so I thought. Instead there was a party for us in the White House.
Troy called it a survivor’s party for lasting a week in the hot seats and not killing any of the Congressmen or pissing any of them off. “I know you had to be fighting the temptation,” Troy said.
I was home early enough to sit in on the whole meeting that was now done by division. Then there were the new divisions from Polokwane and Loures teams.
The report from the A team indicated Loures was progressing – in a month they would be ready for the full complement of men and ladies going there. Training would be ready to send the men and ladies there a couple weeks after that.
The B team was at the meeting to give a report. To speed conversations along, the Loures team was known as the A team and Polokwane group as the B team as a way to reduce confusion.
At Polokwane things were finally starting to move. The Cat construction dealer there was aggressive and hungry. The new Grove crane and two forklifts – one of those that the boom just kept extending – big enough to lift a fully loaded shipping container and one that was small enough to carry materials into the big rear door of the C5s were already there along with a medium size bulldozer and two excavators . The bulldozer was preparing spots for the generators, fuel tanks and other equipment to go.
The group of men who had stayed at Polokwane were some of those men that could do just about anything, including operating equipment. All it took was a little direction or a good operator’s manual.
There were piles of heavy timbers at the mines that were going to be used as the base to sit the generators on and for the fuel tanks. Apparently the Saudi’s forgot or could not cancel the contract on the timbers. There were enough for months – maybe year’s worth – piled up. Marcy had canceled the contract until the pile was substantially reduced.
The three generators were going to be delivered the middle of next week and placed on their permanent spot. We had decided on a smaller one to carry the load for the time being with automatic equipment to start the bigger ones and add them online as needed to save fuel.
The diesel tanks were coming on Monday and would be filled with fuel as soon as they were plumbed up on Tuesday. The Cat techs wanted fuel on site before they would hook them up and test run them.
Jake had contacted a high voltage utility contractor in South Africa that had agreed to make the hook-up and cut the SA power company power off. That was better than buying a bucket and line truck and flying trained men there to use them. The company had agreed to meet the Cat techs there and make the changes.
They were going to build a distribution yard so a high-voltage electrical fault in one area would not put the entire complex out of power.
Jake was going to send a group of ten heavy equipment operators to work on the electrical for two weeks to sort things and keep things moving.
The contractor had repaired two of the water wells and was waiting on his big well rig to drill the larger well for the water tower. That was to happen next week.
The water tower had been downsized. They were now going to install multiple one thousand gallon water bladder tanks plumbed in parallel. A water tower – if it happened – would come later. There was a minimum delay of two years after a contract was signed.
By the end of next week the mines could go to whatever production level needed as the employees came back. To my surprise they were coming back much sooner than I expected and more of them.
The complete mix plant and the complete crusher plant along with all equipment to put it in production were arriving in that two week window.
The Air Force was delivering part of the Doppler radar to Morton for us to deliver to Polokwane. We had decided that we would fill out the load with large military surplus tents for some of the people to stay in until the shanty town was rebuilt and also include canned food.
With everything moving forward, I started towards the house through the tunnel. I wanted to stop off and see Robert before he went home and to see him off. He was taking three weeks of badly needed and deserved vacation. One of our G5s was carrying him and his family to Seattle where they were going on a two week Alaskan cruise.
Tom Folsom was filling in for Robert while he was gone. Both of them went through this week’s communiqués from Tiam who was still the poster for General Bashir.
There were the general broadcasts and then there were several directed to the cell in Oklahoma. Their plans were still in the early stages. But they were talking – giving up little things as they did. I thought it was funny that now- on every communiqué – were instructions to stay pure to the cause and to avoid the curse of vile women and drink.
Oklahoma State started its fall semester last week. They started their classes two weeks before Labor Day like many other colleges with big football programs.
Ching Lee had everything that was our college security agreement with Oklahoma State printed out for us to look at as a group. Marcy, Jenny, and Ching Lee had negotiated those contracts. At the time they were made I was too deeply involved in terrorism to be involved.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.