Friday night I managed to lose the Secret Service agents in the gym. I had told them I would be in the gym for several hours with my JBG security. I did an hour workout then went to my office. With the office’s limited access, the agents stayed in the gym looking at the sights. trying to score some eastern shore ladies.
I went down the elevator to help the girls, Dad and Jake stack the last of this month’s gold bars in the gold room. They were nearly finished and it only took an hour to finish it up. It wouldn’t take but a couple more shipments to fill that room.
The weekend was a welcome relief from the DC madness. I was at home with the girls and boys. Saturday morning I went with the boys back to Fort Smith. Training had been happening there all week; some of it had been live fire. There would be plenty casings there for them to pick through.
I called Gordon Decker first thing Saturday to get him back from Mexico. The first thing I asked him was, ”Has your wife turned jealous in the last few months and does your tux still fit?”
”No, not that I know of and yes they still fit,” he said.
”That’s good because I need an official escort for official functions. We leave Monday morning for Argentina; you may want to brush up on your dancing and political etiquette. Meet the jet in Brownsville – it will be on its way in a few minutes,” I said.
First though I wanted to check in with the five. They were still at Morton because the CIA looked at it as the best safe house they could have. A CIA team was there with them still getting information from them. This was the first I had seen them since the Pakistan trip.
The conversation was in Arabic; ”I hear things are looking up for you,” I said.
”Yes, it looks like we may be staying and helping your government. It also looks like you have made an impression on Pakistani militants in your short visit there and lived up to your nickname. You have been mentioned several times in the Pakistan papers you are having delivered,” one of them said.
”Shoot at me and I will shoot back,” I said.
”You have been promoted second highest in your government, your bravery was well rewarded and earned,” the General’s brother said.
”I’m not sure it was worth the increase in pay grade! Besides, self-preservation was the most important thing,” I said.
The boys came in with an agent tagging behind. The boys ID cards would open the front door but not the doors that accessed the cells. I closed the door before the boys or the agent got to the cell area.
The agent was unhappy that the boys had an ID card that would get them places and they didn’t. But that was the way it was going to be for a while.
Sunday was going to be laid back – rest and relaxation – but the girls decided they wanted a family dinner. We all pitched in and all the family came. I had a feeling family dinners were going to be few and far between now. We enjoyed the day – even the agents got their fill.
Monday morning I packed for three days in Argentina; this time was different. I was now the Vice President of the United States, no longer a former Ambassador or the chairperson of the task force, I was somebody important in their eyes. It required pomp and circumstance, fancy state meals and fancy ballroom dancing.
No more comfortable camo or shorts in public, just fancy dresses and expensive pant suits in public.
Gordon and family were waiting at Morton when I got there.
”I promise to bring him back safe and sound this time,” I said to Emily, Gordon’s wife.
Ten minutes later – after goodbyes and hugs – we were taking off for Andrews. That was where we were to meet the State Department men that were going with us on Air Force 2.
Two little boys were upset that they could not go but Lisa insisted that they needed a firm schedule to qualify for their home schooling requirements.
The State Department pair was much more respectful this time around with yes Mam or no Mam. Of course the extra number of Secret Service and my JBG security may have helped.
I read most of the flight, mostly about my scheduled trips. There were six more in the next six weeks. The trips would take me out past January. I had Thanksgiving week and Christmas week off at home and would be gone at least three days a week or more for all the rest. Thanksgiving was in two weeks.
I received an encrypted message from Robert and Andy. They had figured out a way to speed up the third pipeline from Tampico to Veracruz. Andy wanted to add the second suspected dope manufacturing site to the possible hit list.
I sent back a few words, ”It’s your call; if it looks possible then do it,” and then I closed the screen.
I finished reviewing the documents we were to sign in Argentina. The Navy had completed negotiations for its dockage in the deep water visits. The Air Force had a tentative agreement on the runway. The runway was to be started soon with work proceeding as weather permitted and was scheduled to be completed by next fall.
The advanced Doppler radar construction would start in thirty days, to be completed ninety days after ground breaking. It would be operational before the worst of the winter weather. The general radar that would sweep the ocean towards the Antarctic would be finished at the same time.
The accompanying documents were full of hand written notes that were talking points for my meetings. Every document that I had seen so far had included two final versions. One was for the signatures of officials and the other one with notes written in the margins explaining various points. The notes were most likely for my educational benefits in the world of diplomacy.
One of my aides turned on the TV to ZNN. The talking heads were screaming about the deaths of the five. That meant that the CIA cover story was still holding.
Representatives and Senators would go on camera screaming for my head, demanding that I resign immediately and be arrested. If that didn’t happen, they would start other processes available to them.
I hoped that the CIA held a big news conference when this was over to clear all this mess. But for now I wasn’t concerned. As long as the media was focused on me, they wouldn’t suspect the CIA of anything. I did wonder if they would be in Pakistan to stake out the airport where the exchange would take place. Had the time been announced? As far as I knew, it had not.
We landed at Buenos Aries late in the afternoon to the red carpet treatment. First we went to the Hilton Hotel to freshen up, change clothes and put on some expensive ladies jewelry for the state dinner and official greetings afterwards.
I was glad I had brought Gordon along, he turned out to be an excellent conversationalist and was good at keeping all the elegant ladies interested and smiling. They knew he was a bodyguard so many of the single ladies were hitting on him. With tales of his military time in the Orient, the Middle East and Africa, he had a captive audience.
Then there were the questions of what he did for JBG and how he came to be one of my bodyguards.
If the people here tonight knew anything about the Iran connection, they were keeping mum about it.
Tuesday morning was another photo session and meet and greet for selected VIP’s that ended with a luncheon with selected legislators.
During lunch I received a text from the CIA ”Your plane will be on the ground in Afghanistan in a few minutes, wish us luck.”
”Luck only works with good planning and I know we have done that,” I sent back.
After lunch was the final reading and verification of the agreement and then the public signing with a news conference. We finished the afternoon out with negotiations on the international drug problem and solutions.
Uruguay had become a major shipping point for cartel shipments to Europe. Everyone seemed to know about it but were unable to do anything to stop it. Port inspections there were severely lacking, either by design or the lack of funding.
Huge shipments of cocaine were being caught in Europe as the container ships were unloaded. The issue was so bad that several countries were requiring all containers from Uruguay to be opened and emptied in the highest level of international inspections.
For the most part, Uruguay was a modern country with numerous exports and a good standard of living. The middle class was envied by all of South America with a better that average annual income. The government was ranked as being democratic and well liked.
Uruguay had not expressed any interest in taking part in the anti – drug conferences and international efforts. They had legalized cannabis several years ago.
I decided that when I got back to Washington, I was going to make an official call to Uruguay. Protocol required all official visits to be planned days in advance, but I could call and start the ball rolling from Washington.
Another text came, ”Plane is leaving Afghanistan air space with US fighter escort only two people short, did the best we could do. After the explanations everyone seems happy. Plane will land at Morton mid-morning big news conference, leave there tonight so you can be here for it.”
”We will attempt to end all the mud that has been going your way. We assume the Morton Hotel is still available to house all these people for a few days.”
”Vicky said she had contacted several stores at the mall to stay open so everyone can get clothes, since they have nothing but what they are wearing and also would provide security and transportation.”
”As usual send us a bill – the information we have been getting from the five is impressive and well worth whatever the cost,” Frank said.
There was one more fancy dinner and VIP affair. It needed a fancy dress, shoes, jacket and the best jewelry I had.
I notified the crew that after the affair we were leaving for Morton, that big things were happening there tomorrow.
Big things happening was an understatement. Iran finally realized that the family members had been kidnapped. They were broadcasting on Iranian TV that I was going to execute them because Iran refused to negotiate and drop the bounties. They had officially raised the one on me to fifty million.
The Supreme Leader was appealing to the UN to intervene and all countries to condemn the US and me and give them assistance. Iran wanted the plane to be forced to land.
The US media was so wound up they didn’t need a magic carpet to fly. There were a lot of Washington politicians right there with them.
The dinner, dancing and partying ended at 2300. We were in the air by 24:00 for the flight to Morton; we would arrive shortly after 0700 to participate in the circus. A trip of over 3500 miles; a minimum of seven hours.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.