Book 3 Chapter 19
It was a short walk through the tunnel to the house. All the visiting aides and staff were politely told to be gone by 1630, unless there was an approved reason for them to stay.
Dad had loaded six more crates from Polokwane earlier today at Morton. The farm truck was backed up to the loading dock waiting for the forklift. There were still sixty crates in the secure hanger that needed to be moved into the basement storage. War, campaigning, elections, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and inauguration had interfered with our work to move it down into the basement rooms.
Lorrie wanted the hangar cleaned out to use for other things so there was a push to get it done. Jason, Jake and Dad were going to help so we were hoping to do twelve tonight. I was glad it was being sent directly to Pirates Bank now, eliminating that work for us.
We had thirteen days before we were leaving for Deep Water Cay for two weeks of vacation. We wanted to go on vacation before Marcy and Vicky were due to give birth. Marcy and Vicky were both having girls.
I thought for sure we should be able to get all of them moved in by that time. What we didn’t get moved we would stack in the hall – two high – by the gold room doors and finish it up when we came back from vacation.
After the cameras were turned off we started on the crates. We had all twelve done in two and a half hours. It was a good night; supper was a little late, but all in all it was a good night. We planned to do the same thing tomorrow night.
I checked with Robert’s night duty man in the command center and the agents that were there with him monitoring all the cameras around the house and in the guard. Then I turned back on the cameras for the tunnel. We ate a light supper and then we spent time playing with the kids before sending them to bath and bed. We spent a few minutes in the hot tub before Crash and Troy came out to the refrigerator for a cold beer.
Crash sent Troy over with a tray of drinks for us. Troy was startled but didn’t drop the tray; I knew Crash had set Troy up. As soon as the tray was empty, they retreated into the house. We only stayed in fifteen minutes – that was all the docs wanted Marcy and Vicky to stay in even with the reduced temperature settings. It was a great evening and better night spending it with Lorrie in my arms. We went to sleep listening to Sara breathe.
We were up early; I smelled the coffee at 0500. The cook must have started a new pot. At 0600 we were dressed, and I had put on my camo – by luck I had brought the ones the Guards give out with CIC Jones on the name line. I was at home and was not expecting visitors that I needed to influence today – the fancy clothes could stay in the closet.
My staff was in early. Harry came and brought a dozen boxes of donuts from the Hut. He was going to gig the White House reporters today. His plan was to do the White House news today on the VCATS link to the press room and have the donuts on the table in front of him – if there were any left. Who said he didn’t have a sense of humor.
I read the intelligence reports after breakfast while sitting at my desk. Still not good, but no worse than yesterday. At 0900 I was doing a video meeting with my research group that was getting the data together so that Andrew and I could work on my State of the Union address that was coming up.
By 1000 I had a general outline for Andrew to work on and sent it to him. It was a good thing I was finished because Dick James came in unexpectedly, wanting a meeting with several topics.
One of them was the upcoming general election In Iran. Even though I was not keeping a close eye on things there, I knew things were moving along. The numbers of candidates were greatly reduced after the primaries. Several candidates had to be eliminated because they had held offices in the previous government that they tried to hide.
Dick James had dealt with dozens of expatriates trying to force their way back into Iran, so they could force themselves into positions of power. There were a dozen or so from Europe that had the aggressive backing of the UN and the European Union. There were also several from Canada, Cuba and Central America. They were told they were not welcome back.
All of them that arrived at the borders were sent back. They tried the border crossings of Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those that tried to get in by caravan through the mountain trails met a violent death along with the smugglers they hired. So far, the Army, Marines and Air Force had ended all the smuggling operations through the mountain trails, especially the trails from Pakistan.
Hanna and Melinda had left Sunday with four more groups of reporters. So far the feedback had been fair and that was all I thought we could ask for. Hanna and Melinda were getting plenty of air time with their reports. At the rate they were going, they would be done with all the White House news groups in four more weeks.
China was still buying oil even though they complained about the price with every payment. The funds were being deposited in Pirates Bank and payments to the reconstruction fund were being made. Reconstruction was on schedule and progress was visible on multiple fronts.
At 1100 the GSA called with more problems from the gate relocation project. Not one but two tunnels previously unknown to them had been discovered by the ground penetrating radar that was being used to locate buried cables and pipes. Both were leading to the White House. Why they had not been discovered before was a mystery.
Now there was big debate on how much of the grounds to dig up to find out information on them. Both were being tracked by the radar to determine where they started and how close they were to the White House.
Radar and other tools and devices were being used in the basement on the walls. They were trying to find out if either had an entrance in the basement that had been covered up in all the previous renovations and upgrades in the history of the White House.
It was beginning to look like it was going to be a lot longer than two weeks before I would be going back to my housing quarters. I wondered why they had not been found when the massive underground addition was added? I guess it was by luck they constructed that section on the opposite side of the White House. Or – did they know about the tunnels and elect to avoid them by using the opposite side where there were none?
The GSA had opened a Pandora’ s box by exposing then. The historians were called as were the archaeologists. They were going to be entered – if they could find any entrances – to look for clues. If not, they were going to have access holes drilled and cameras lowered into them. One appeared to be very old and the other very recent.
I ordered a complete media blackout on the tunnels once they started the entry process. I also ordered Frank and Eric to be involved. I wanted a complete report before anything was made public. It would be bad news if one of the former presidents stored bodies down there.
My best guess was that the older one was a secret entrance for presidents to escape through or to allow special visitors to get in and leave unseen. After all, the British had burned the White House and the Capitol in August of 1814.
There were plenty of conspiracy theories involving early presidents, mistresses, harems and various bootleggers and other activities that would have been political suicide or caused public hangings.
The recent looking tunnel was anybody’s guess. Hopefully there was evidence left in both of them to answer the questions. It would be a riot if Jimmy Hoffa’s body was found in there.
They were already sifting the dirt looking for artifacts – the construction was halted for no one knew how long. The lawn was going to be dug up and whatever else needed.
The servers were going to be removed from the basement to a more secure location for the time being. So were all the top secret records and communications.
There was just going to be too many people wandering in the basement and around the White House. Security was going to be a problem and many things at risk.
If my mates and I did not have so much going on, we would go the Cay and stay for the next few months just to piss everyone off.
After a great lunch with my mates and boys, Connie, Kitty, Troy and I discussed and made plans to move more of the staff here – the Secret Service was adamant I was not going back until the area was completely secure and security upgrades were established and they could guarantee everything else was secure. MTAC screens and controls was going to be added to more of the JBG basement offices.
I was going to change the way I was doing things. I started with the item veto Bill that Congress passed; there was much more that needed doing to make it official. It had to be added to the Constitution as an amendment. Legal scholars had debated the issue for decades; the Supreme Court ended the debate years ago by saying that the President did not have the authority for item or line item, that an amendment was necessary.
Congress had done its part and I had done mine by signing the bill; now it was up to the states. Thirty-three needed to pass a companion bill for it to become an amendment. When the bill was introduced in the House a companion bill was introduced in each of the fifty states. Fifteen had already passed and been signed, eighteen more to go. It needed two thirds.
Today I was calling the leaders of the remaining states to give them a little push. I could have aides do it, but the personal attention may be more helpful. Those that had video conferencing would be by video.
Troy had done the preliminary steps by setting up a time for me to call so all the right people could be in the room. I spent three hours on the phone and video and would do the same tomorrow. Progress is important.
At 1600 I was back in the meet room on MTAC with my investigation group getting updates for tomorrow’s MTAC meeting with the director of the EPA, Shep Hollingsworth. He was the current EPA administrator and was leaving tomorrow. My new administrator had been ratified by the Senate today and would be sworn
Shep knew since the election that he was going to be out. He wanted to leave his legacy on the agency. He was appointing dozens of die hard in tomorrow. environmentalists into all kinds of jobs, creating new departments for them and with hundreds of new rules, regulations and powers.
Many of the things he was doing were illegal and unethical and some were actually criminal. The agency was required to post all new regulations in the Federal Register and provide a comment period for the public and affected industries. None of that was being done.
His argument was that he was upgrading existing regulations and departments and not writing new ones; therefore, he was within the law.
The last dozen EPA administrators had been environmentalists. I chose an industrialist to put the brakes on the agency and begin the process of eliminating the thousands of EPA agency people agreed to in the budget cuts.
Along with the people, there were thousands of regulations that were going to get looked and any that Shep installed into the agency’s rule book were to be removed.
Harland Maxwell was scheduled to be sworn in at the White House tomorrow, now he was coming here and would be sworn in my media center. Yes, one of those was completed today. The classroom by the tanning room had been remodeled.
Ching Lee and Vicky wanted it inside; they had been using the loading ramp in the past for all the press conferences. That was too dangerous for them to do it that way now.
The White House media group was going to be unhappy because it was going to be broadcast live to the White House media center.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.
On another sad note due to an unexpected death in the my immediate family delays in postings of future chapters may be necessary.