Lunch was in a fancy Washington restaurant in a private room, a working lunch discussing events of the morning. Discussions that were going to be heated when we got home, I was sure. While the presentation was informational this morning, a zillion questions needed to be answered that were going to affect all JBG divisions.
It was going to take a vision to even see how the pieces would fit. Could we grow that much at one time and survive? The underlying question was – why was the Federal intelligence group pushing so hard for JBG to take over Black Bear? A question that would take weeks to be fully answered.
What I couldn’t say at the time to the girls was that with things going the way they were going, the ability to rapidly reassign manpower may be important.
Back at the office we decided to assemble teams to dissect all the boxes of information the trio had allowed us to leave Washington with.
Lexi and several more from our tax department started going over the operating books, financial records and bank accounts. Not only of Black Bear but Black and Bear’s personal accounts. Robert’s group hacked their personal accounts from their banks.
All of the contracts were copied and divided up among the legal department to evaluate the potential revenue and requirements.
Lorrie assigned two from her real estate unit to investigate the property. I wanted to know for sure that it was as free and clear as the CIA said it was. I also wanted to know just how big those tax payments were and if there was any proposed local regulations that would affect the properties – especially the one in Louisiana.
I had the EIT group attack the electronic communications that Black Bear used including their e-mail systems, storage and whatever Robert could find on their texts among the top ten management people.
I wondered why the CIA was involved in holding property for Black Bear. Was it leverage? Was it to keep prying eyes away when things started to go south? Had there been men, supplies, equipment – even foreign operatives trained there? I would bet it was all of the above. A very good surprise inspection and tour was on tap.
CIA owned property and other federal properties always have plenty of signage warning of dire consequences for trespassing.
I knew our C130s and C5s had picked up materials for shipping classified Central American OPS at several secret locations and I would bet this was one.
Was the location and whatever was carried on there so important to the CIA that they needed to keep control of the property as Black Bear was sinking? Was it a way to give them loans to keep them afloat as long as they could?
Congress was on a warpath and had been for days – the new buzzword was accountability so everything and every agency was under the thumb. The CIA should have been exempt from that kind of scrutiny. In fact, the CIA was the only federal agency that could seize funds from foreign banks of Americans for a variety of international crimes.
But still I had questions. There were several influential congressman and women that thought they were higher than God. Senator Ruth Gavin from Missouri on the Intelligence Oversight Committee, Senator Hope Emerson – same committee – and Senator Gilbert Howell from California, he was on the Senate Appropriations Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee. They were the ones wearing war paint and firing up the others after Black Bear.
I wondered why they were still pushing so hard for continued Congressional investigations into Black Bear after the secret court had taken control and closed off so much. They were on the news channels every day with some kind of new wild-assed statement or accusation. Then the media pushed the meme based on anonymous sources. Now they were trying to go after individuals lightly connected to Black Bear.
We approved unlimited overtime for all those working with us and ordered the time honored staple for long evenings – pizzas and subs from the Morton restaurant and the refreshment center downstairs. Ching Lee, Lorrie and Jenny went home to take care of the little ones.
The process continued on Tuesday and into the night. I added more people to look at everything Wednesday since Jenny, Andy, Marcy and I would be gone to Mexico City.
My meeting with President Martinez started at 1000. I expected a long day.
It was two thousand miles from Morton; just a little over four hours. We boarded the plane at 0500. There were the four of us going plus six security men. A presidential security team was picking us up at the international airport. I informed President Martinez that we would all be armed.
The flight was a working flight – still working on the Black Bear proposal. People in the office had worked late and many had come in early. We had implied it was a special project.
The flight went faster than expected and we arrived at Mexico City International Airport (MEX) at 0930.
Before I left the plane I gave Max Grover and Toby Nash – my pilot and copilot – the coordinates and the aerial picture I had for Black Bear’s Louisiana training complex.
”I want to do a flyover and then land if it is at all possible and it is to be a surprise. I think some of our CIA pilots have made flights in and out of there; you may want to call them to see if there are any special instructions that apply,” I said.
The limos carried us to Los Pinos, the president’s official residence. There was the usual niceties and media orgy on the steps, the round of usual handshakes. I was surprised that Juan Pedro Garcia was with the official group.
I surprised Andy by calling him to accompany us inside and to the meeting. He had been standing off to the side with the men as he usually did, keeping a watchful eye over things.
Inside the official greetings were repeated with further explanations of what each of our responsibilities were. I introduced Andy as the new Senior Vice President of Special Operations and Logistics.
”If I want to go kick down the gates of Hell, Andy assigns the men and logistics to follow me,” I said.
Jenny and Marcy raised an eyebrow but quickly understood where I was going and nodded. They knew that unless something earth-shattering came up, the Black Bear was a done thing. A management team to run it would be the only option.
The first session lasted until 1230 when lunch was announced. It too turned into a working lunch.
The after lunch session was when all the tough parts started.
”Why hasn’t the federal law enforcement agency been able to stop the tapping of the pipelines?” I asked AG Inez.
”We have made repeated raids and arrested many but as with things in your country when no witnesses come forward, there is no one to testify against them or else there is kidnapping judges and police. The process ends in their favor.”
”The cartel and gangs are treated like royalty in prisons by other prisoners and guards are afraid for their lives.”
”They eventually get to the guards through threats to their families or just kill them.”
”Senora, Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua Coahuila and Nuevo Leon all have terrible problems with gangs, organized crime and the cartels. Drugs, human trafficking, kidnappings, murder, robbing – the list goes on. We make arrests and shut it down and days later it is back again,” Inez said.
”You have to find the people at the top that are pulling the strings. There are always little people desperate to improve and willing to take the risk for the money,” I said.
”Yes, and they are paying the price in the turf wars as you call them. In the last few months it seems we find mass graves weekly,” Inez replied.
‘‘It’s such a shame because Mexico – so diverse and rich in history, culture and architecture – is being destroyed by so few. There are beautiful beaches on both coasts with so many opportunities, just to be exploited by criminals. The attacks on the tourist will soon destroy the industry,” I said.
”That brings us back to the root of this meeting; the request was for JBG to help put an end to the illegal tapping of the pipelines starting in the two areas. JBG can do that but the collateral damage may be more that you can tolerate. I am not going to put my men in a place where they are restricted and end up being just targets to be murdered or kidnapped.”
”And we won’t go in tepid.”
”What you are dealing with here is terrorism. The organized gangs and cartels are doing the same thing that ISIS and every other terrorist group has done in Africa, the Middle East and now East Asia. They are getting stronger and more violent while expanding their operations.”
”With the police and court system overwhelmed and under their influence, they have no fear. The only difference is the location and the language that they speak,” I said.
”Mr. Garcia, does Mexpo own the property the pipelines are sitting on or do you simply have a right of way over the property?” I asked.
”Mexpo owns 75 meters with the pipe sitting on the center line,” he replied.
”That’s roughly thirty seven meters or one hundred and twenty five feet on each side of the pipeline,” I said.
”Are there or have there been no trespassing sign placed on the property?” I asked.
”Oh yes, many times, they just get stolen and sold for scrap,” Mr. Garcia said.
”There are no buildings permitted on the pipeline property other than gated valve and transfer stations owned by Mexpo?” I asked.
”That is correct,” he replied.
”Satellite shows differently – there are multiple areas where there are tents or buildings built right up to and in a case or two over the pipeline. There is clear evidence that vehicles are backing up near the pipeline to fill drums in other areas,” I said.
”Mr. Inez, would Mexpo be within its rights by Mexican law to remove any buildings, tents, debris, automobiles and trash on its pipeline property with little or no notice?” I asked.
”Oh yes,” he replied.
”For JBG to begin such a project we would need written approval from the government to operate in Mexico as a security force. A certificate of authority to operate armed aviation units in Mexican airspace. A certificate of authority from your justice department and courts giving JBG and all employees complete autonomy, authority and immunity for any and all actions related to the security and safety of the pipeline and Mexpo property,” Jenny said.
“We would also need a firm contract with Mexpo for services rendered, payable bi-weekly. Our rate per man is seven fifty per day per man plus aviation add-on,” Marcy said.
”That more than I expected,” Mr. Garcia said.
”Our Middle East contracts are one thousand per man,” Marcy replied.
”That rate includes everything; food, logistics, transportation, housing, temporary bases, even laundry,” Andy said.
”I anticipate a high number initially to secure the pipeline and establish order – possibly three hundred for forty five days and then a draw-down possibly as low as one hundred per pipeline; even lower with the use of drones and other aviation for daily surveillance,” Andy said.
”You’re looking at five hundred miles of pipeline even though there are only two trouble spots; once they realize those spots are closed to them they will try others. The whole pipeline will need to be scouted every few days. Along the way we will capture a few and intelligence will lead us to the leaders,” Andy said.
”Part of that number will be to man and secure base camps along the pipeline routes. According to Google there are several landing strips that I believe are drug pickups that JBG will take over for our aviation operations. I expect the cartel to get violent quickly with loss of the gas revenue and the landing strips,” I said.
”Do you plan to attack the problem on both pipelines at the same time?” Mr. Garcia asked.
”No. the east pipeline first then the western one a couple weeks later, while they are in shock,” Andy said.
”You said you were losing 20,000 gallons daily and increasing, at three dollars a gallon retail that is a lot of revenue lost for Mexpo and the tax coffers of Mexico. The cartel will be taking a big hit as well in its black market operation. Once the black market is shut down legitimate fuel sales will go up,” I said.
”This is a lot to digest,” Mr. Garcia said.
”The government of Mexico will assist Mexpo in covering the cost for security operation. We will call it a Joint Pipeline Security Operation. After the explosion on the Texam pipeline a few months ago from tapping, it will give the necessary cover. That and the connection to terrorism,” President Martinez said.
”It will take about two weeks to get the authorities and approvals from the government offices you desire,” Mr. Martinez and Inez agreed on.
A follow up meeting to sign all the joint documents with the government and Mexpo was scheduled for two weeks, then implementation of the operation in three weeks.
Then we had a joint news conference with President Martinez and JBG.
Announced was that a security agreement had been reached between JBG and the Mexican government with Mexpo to protect its pipelines. The security force was limited to one thousand security men on the initial agreement. Any more than that would require Ad Inez’s approval. I wondered where that number came from?
All the big western media was there, I guess news conferences were scarce in Mexico City.
My cell phone was vibrating continuously while I was making an obviously political speech. Shock effect was already happening to the northeast.
An hour later we were in the departure line to take off and my phone was still vibrating. I had important things to deal with at the office before dealing with the Washington circles.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.