Chapter 462

By the time I closed up and reached the Capitol steps, the two secret service agents were taking steps two and three at a time to meet me.

One had me by the arm and the other took my portable office as we hurried to the limo, with the news people who were trying to stop us for an interview left standing and up to the White House we went.

Back in Section 12, I put the feed on the big screens even though everyone on the task force could see the action. The explosions were almost continuous from the mortar fire and RPGs.

A mortar is primarily an anti-personnel weapon. They simply hit the ground and throw shrapnel to disable and kill – and they do a good job of it. It will also disable light or unarmored vehicles with a direct hit.

Once a target area was determined and a placement round is fired to determine the adjustment for accuracy, an experienced fire team could grid an area with mortar bombs, as the rounds were frequently called.

A RPG (rocket propelled grenade) developed by the Russians was effective against armored vehicles, even known to disable tanks if the round was placed in a soft spot and the right explosive head was used.

It could be used to penetrate concrete walls if successive rounds were placed in the same spot. I could see on the camera that is what they were trying to do.

An RPG was credited with striking and crashing several helicopters in Afghanistan, including the one carrying Seal team 6 who had killed Ben Laden, killing most of them.

I was looking for Andy or any of the men and ladies. I found many of the staff in the tunnel, armed and waiting. A slower and closer look around the courtyard and I saw Andy has constructed shelters in the corners of the court yard.

There were angled sand bags in each corner, at least 10 feet from each corner. I wondered where the dirt had come from and for that matter, the lumber to support the bags. There was no way it could have been trucked in.

The way defenses were set up, Andy had made a complete covering field of fire around the interior of the yard.

I wondered where the Windhoek police and Namibia military were. There were none seen in any of the sweeps I did with the cameras outside the walls. The streets were crowded with fighters and protesters.

There was no need to keep looking. I could not do anything about the events; now it was in Andy’s hands and I was not going to second guess his decisions.

I played General and now I had to wait to see how many of my men died versus the bad guys, a wait that I was not enjoying.

I stopped by the Oval Office on my way out to give the President an update on Namibia. The Secretary of State and Ambassador Eaton were there. We watched the ZNN broadcast of the events going on there. It was an interesting talk and ran over in time. I was going to be late at the House hearing.

This time four secret service agents walked up the steps to the house with me. It was a good thing – the media was out in force, all of them surrounded the agents trying to get them to stop so they could ask questions.

At the top of the steps the House Sergeant at Arms was waiting, “You’re late; I will escort you to the room.”

There were more Representatives in this hearing than there had been in the Senate hearing this morning. They were all jockeying for TV time.

“Ambassador Jones. Nate Slick, Sweet Home Alabama. What progress is being made in apprehending the terrorist Saif?”

“The task force has only been in business 4 days. It is just getting its feet wet and in those four days we already have had to increase its size; there is so much data coming in to deal with,” I said.

“However, slow progress is being made in answer to your question. I just cannot go into details today,” I added.

“Ambassador Jones, Bridget Harper, Helena Montana. In your acceptance speech the other day you lightly touched on security improvements at all major events; has any work been done on that program yet?”

“Ms. Harper and fellow Representatives; I appreciate very much that you are identifying yourself and home state before your questions. Being new at this part of the Washington process, it really helps me familiarize myself with you and your state,” I said.

“To answer your question, there is only a brief outline of possible changes and suggestions at this time. As the task force moves forward in that area I will ask to address this body for guidance and suggestions before the policy is written in stone,” I said.

Make them feel important and they will think they have your ear, even if they don’t. My political skills were improving.

“The current focus of the task force is to stop Saif and all of our energies are in that direction,” I said.

“Ambassador Jones, Martin Sacks Nevada. On the international front, one of your embassy security teams is in a fire fight as we speak. Can you give us an update on that?”

“At my last update the fight was still going on, the embassy was taking heavy mortar fire from the terrorists with substantial damage being done to the embassy buildings and grounds. At this time that is all that I can say on the matter,” I said.

I answered more questions, reaching for another hour and a half covering domestic terrorism and my opinions on how to deal with the issues and uncertainties associated with it.

My session was ending when my phone rang. It was the President’s chief of staff, “You have done very well. Use this call as an excuse to end your testimony. Simply say you have been called to the White House. The limo is on its way to pick you up.”

“Ladies and gentleman, I have to say this has been a much different experience than I expected. Hopefully as the days and weeks move on I can make it a regular occurrence to update you on progress and to work at a dialog developing a national policy for security of public events and institutions.”

“I must return to the White House; my ride is on the way,” I said as I stood and closed up my notes.

I had to shake hands and pose for pictures with more Representatives again as I made my way out. The agents were waiting for me on the top step.

I would have gladly walked the two miles from the hill to the White House just to have time to clear my head. But that was not the case today. The driver had us back in 8 minutes. They had one of those controls that made all of the traffic lights green for them.

I went straight to the Oval Office where the President and his staff were watching ZNN news updates of the attack and the video that was still coming from the state department feed.

It was dark there now and there were just sporadic explosions; half of the cameras were destroyed.

I did not like the comments coming from the President’s assistant chief of staff; arrogant, impatient, demanding – a side of him I had not seen before. I quickly became sick of it. It was even worse when I found out the bastard had opposed sending any military resources to the area to be able to help.

Even though the US had military assets in Africa, there were none close enough to help now. With the 2 days notice there would have been, had the asshole not went out of his way to stop it.

I sent Robert a text, “Can you hack the State Department video link and take all the video from Namibia off line? Possibly making it accessible only to your and my ID? Or better yet, have Andy pull the power plugs on all the servers and unplug the cameras and any backup power supplies to kill them so they don’t record anything.”

I would put them in the dark; only my people were there anyhow. I took the elevator to down to the fourth floor where the task force was finishing up for the night.

The big table was covered in big sheets of paper, with family trees drawn all over them from phone number to phone number. They were in groups of three working with different numbers with the Celeste and Mona filling in the tree. Bobbie and Cassy were transferring it to a computer program.

On the charts, numbers were marked inactive or active and had notations about information from that phone. Progress had been made today in my absence.

The verbal motivation this morning had worked. All the alphabet soups had their jackets off and were working together, even sharing their departmental computers.

I estimated that the process was going to take two or three more days to really get a good handle on where the numbers were leading.

I logged into the Namibia video just to see if Robert had been successful, turned off the sound, and put it on the screens. It had only been on a few minutes when the screens went black.

“That’s not a good sign,” Smith commented.

“May not be as bad as you think; just think of all the good things that happen after dark,” I replied.

If Robert was successful at keeping the cameras off, Andy could pull out all the stops with ending the assault without worry of repercussions. It was my intentions to have Robert clean the servers or to have Andy unplug them and destroy them before he left.

I had two more hours that I could spend here, then it was Victor and Joni’s wedding rehearsal.

I answered my phone to hear Kent Dalton say, “The governor and I spoke at length today about the possible raids. We both believe that if the first scenario you described happens, the military should go in first with the State Police backing them up.”

“If it is an activity on the site generated raid, our SWAT teams will go in first and they have been put on alert status for the weekend. As far as your request, we will do our best to keep the media out. They have drones and a chopper so that may be tough,” he said.

“It is imperative to keep the media out of it. The longer Saif thinks he is still undercover, the more likely he won’t go underground. Use whatever means necessary,” I replied.

I worked with the force for another hour and we called it quits until Monday morning.

As soon as I left, I called Andy on the satellite phone, “Howdy boss, how are things?” I asked.

“In turmoil, they have run out of mortars and RPGs without seeing a surrender flag. It did not hurt that the gun drones found where they were firing the mortars from. A couple of sweeps took them out of commission. According to the radio, they are getting ready to storm the gates. I pulled the plugs as Robert wanted; are you sure you want to do that?” Andy replied.

“Yes, make sure everything is unplugged; that way where is no video to dispute what you say happened. Take no prisoners unless you think they are leaders. The doc needs one or two to practice on before Saif,” I replied.

The wedding rehearsal was happiness abound. I treated the after rehearsal dinner at the Inn.

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Chapter 461

I was up early; truthfully, I just cat napped most of the night. There were just so many things on my mind. I wondered what was going on with Andy this morning; it was already 10:00 there. No news was good news, I hoped.

Then there was the information out of Diya’s phone; would it help or was it just another dead end? After all, it had been three weeks since the MSU attack. How many of the numbers in there had been trashed?

The final straw for today was the two subpoenas I had to honor, even when I had more pressing things I needed to do. The Senate Embassy Steering committee was the first one at 10:00.

Bob was at the concrete box as I leaving. I stopped to say hello.

“Do you have time for quick tour?” he asked. Then he added, “Marcy added some changes.”

“No, not really; I have a very busy day today. I have to testify before Congress and have a lot to do beforehand. I’m hoping to get the chance over the weekend. I hear you have a lot of people working. I want to thank you for that.”

“Do you carry a tube of KY, or is that one of those where they just screw you over dry?” Bob asked just before broke into a laugh.

“Be careful, I just might let you go in my place,” I responded as I opened the door on my SUV.

I was making coffee in the second big coffee maker at 06:50 when the crew started coming in. There was already a group of people with coffee cups and mugs from the other offices draining the first one. They knew they were welcome to get a mug as long as we were not holding a meeting.

That was another thing I learned; most office managers in this underground complex didn’t want workers from other departments walking in and out of their offices.

Those workers seemed appreciative of the chance to get a few minutes with us. That was one thing about this floor – the coffee aroma traveled and drew people like a magnet.

The rest of the task force was now making the early start time. I suspected they were afraid they would miss something.

I had Cassy make copies of the reports that had come from Diya’s phone for each of the law enforcement agencies. The Department of Education people didn’t need copies, besides they were still trying to figure out how to run the reports I asked for two days ago.

I slid Diya’s phone on the table, “The new pass code on this phone is 12345. This one is all the incoming calls. This one is outgoing calls. This one is the contact list and this is the text,” I said as I passed out the copies.

“I have to spend most of the day on the Hill. When I get back I want to see the results of your day. Use the tools at your disposal; check all the numbers to see if they are still active.”

“See if they were stupid enough to have activated the GPS. If they were, where were they on the day of the attack? See if there was a flurry of calls between any of the phones before, the day of and the day after the attack. Find out which phones were and are the most active among all the phones.”

“Between the possible GPS and all the cross-tower pings and the cross-number checks, you should be able to come up with some very useful data to tell me when I get back,” I replied.

“Yes ma-am we should, and then I want to know how you got into that phone and all this out of this phone in just 12 hours without court orders,” Rex replied.

“You have heard it before, if I tell you I will have to kill you,” I replied.

My phone started ringing, “Jones,” I said.

“Ma-am; Major Holland Dent from the remote flight operations center in Tucson; I was told to report to you every day at this time with a report for the drone flight over the assigned location. There was no activity in the last 24 hours.”

“I was ordered to request new operational orders from you Ma-am,” he said.

“Your existing orders are to observe and report, I amend those orders changing the reporting criteria. I am to be notified immediately anytime there are any changes at the property, visitors and any vehicle traffic. The second change is for there to be infrared imaging done at least once a day if that is possible,” I replied.

“10-4 Ma-am that is indeed possible. I will amend and publish the orders for all operators,” he replied.

“Thank you Major, that is all,” I replied.

It was 0900; I had sent a text to Kent Dalton and Len at 0700 that I wanted a joint VCATS with them at 0900. They paged that they were on line right on the money.

“I need to let you know that we think we have found where the suicide vests and truck bombs were made. I have an Air Force drone stationed over it 24/7 for a week. There has been no one there in the last 24 hours. If there is no activity in the 7 day period I will authorize it to be raided. If there is a sudden burst of activity it needs to be raided then,” I said, and then added.

“If they have abandoned the site I am concerned that it may be heavily booby trapped. After all, Saif was a master explosives maker for vest, car bombs and IEDs. Would you want your SWAT teams to conduct the raid or do you want me to see if I can get a bomb unit from one of the Army or Marine bases that have field experience finding those things?” I asked, and then added.

“I would not want to see one of your SWAT teams wiped out by an IED, and I would not want to have to give that press briefing.”

“If it goes the other way and there is a burst of activity, how long would it take you to put your SWAT teams on site? The site is a few miles from Page on 169,” I asked.

“I was good with the State Police handling the raid until the part about maybe being booby trapped. I need to talk to the Governor so I will have to let you know. As for a raid there – a couple hours – the teams would have to come out of St. Cloud,” Kent replied.

I closed the conversation and left for the Hill. Actually a White House limo carried me and my portable office from the steps and with the assistance of two secret service agents to help fend off reporters; I made my way to the security station. I presented the subpoena to the check-in agent at the security station and got directions to the Senate Embassy Security Steering Committee room.

I started down the hall to the meeting room 143 that was off the great chamber that was always shown on TV. Every few feet it seemed I ran into a Senator coming out of an office.

There was always an aide with a camera, “Can I get a picture of you with the Senator?” or a local reporter from their home town was getting the free tour today.

I understood politics and the need to be in the current news cycle and spotlight. That was one of the reasons I hated it so much. So many things were all for the camera; fake tears and anguish, promises they knew they would never keep and words that never amounted to anything but for the news print.

I also knew I needed to play politician no matter how bad the taste. I smiled for the camera and shook hands and did my best to be good at double talk.

When the oath was taken and the camera lights were turned off, the embassy steering committee got down to business. Amy Lockerman – associate director of embassy affairs – was sitting next to me on the left and Elmer Hobart from the State Department Appropriations was to my right.

It had been a while since I had a meeting with the both of them. Both were talkative, a lot more than usual.

Amy asked if there were any updates from Namibia.

“None since daybreak their time, everything was fine at that time,” I replied, and then I added.

“I am scheduled to video conference with Ambassador Reddick at 1300 if you want to sit in on it.

The meeting was started and for an hour I answered question after question dealing with embassy security. Then there was a short break that turned into another photo op.

Vicky should have been here to sit in on this meeting. She and I had discussed it in detail and decided since there was a subpoena only for me that I should handle it.

The flip side of that argument was that she needed to be at the office to coordinate with Robert and Andy if that situation went down hill.

After the break the questions changed to include the now eight South American embassies that had requested JBG security.

I listened while Amy and Elmer were on the hot seat responding to various questions about available space for the additional security personnel and requests for additional funding.

There was only one question out of that part of the session that was directed to me.

“Will JBG be able to put the manpower and equipment in place in a reasonable time?” the chairman asked.

“Yes; once the final determination of the staffing levels is made, the pieces will come together in a timely manner,” I replied.

I had learned government-speak and the art of double talk as well. I was listening to the final comments when my cell received several pages.

One was from Andy, “It has started.”

The other was from Vicky saying the same thing.

I quickly put the State Department computer on the desk and logged in to VCATS to get the video feed from Namibia. As soon as it went live, it showed continuous explosions in the court yard and automatic gunfire; the volume had been full up. A couple of the cameras were off line; destroyed, I had to assume.

It was noon here, 1700 hours there and darkness was not far off. That gave away their plan. A mortar and small arms assault to keep everyone hunkered down and then after dark, rush the entrances.

It was a copy of the assault used in Libya in which the Ambassador and his guards had died.

Amy, Elmer and I, with a couple Senators looking over our shoulder, watched for a few minutes as everything in the courtyard was destroyed by mortars and RPGs that were landing everywhere.

“Folks, I hate to shut down the feed but I need to get back to my office,” I said as I closed the computer and called my White House taxi to pick me up.

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Chapter 460

At 16:45 I was sitting at the meeting table with the girls – my first this week – and listened to all the things I missed so far this week. There were a few things that caught my attention.

First thing, the elevator was gone and the floor covered with a tarp. I had to lug my portable office up the steps. Damn, I was getting soft and it would be Sunday before I could spend time in the gym, unless I made it a midnight trip.

Mischief and Mayhem had indeed jumped on Andy’s request. We had list of prospective ex-military employees. Apparently the posters I had sent to the General were still up in the military installations and HR was keeping the applications on file.

Mischief and Mayhem, with the keen eye of Jason and Jenny, had picked 25 ops people from the Navy, Marines and Army. Vicky had looked at them but wanted me to make the final decision before HR called them to see if they were still interested in a job with JBG, or had gained meaningful employment elsewhere.

Robert had already done his computer thing and had an impressive folder on each of them.

I looked through the folders, looking at the pictures of the individuals attached to top and was surprised to see they had included four women. I knew that they were not former US Special Forces. It was not that women had not tried to get in the US special ops units; none had made it.

Then I looked closer at the information inside the folder; they were Israeli Special Forces and not former – they still had three months active duty. How did we end up with applications from them?

They spoke four languages; Hebrew, Arabic, English and Kurdish. I had questions for these four. Since they were still active, it would have to be done by VCATS. Of course, I could take that trip to Israel as I had promised.

Ben-David and his tech person arrived on time and we made our way to Robert’s office. All I could do was watch and listen as the computer geeks spoke their special language.

Ten minutes after the programs were installed, the phone was unlocked and the pass code changed to a simple one 12345.

An hour later I had four copies of four printouts from Diya’s phone. One was mine, one was Roberts, one was for Ben-David and the other was for the task force.

The phone kept the call logs for days. One was all the incoming calls, including international calls. The other three were outgoing calls, the contact list and text that had not been deleted.

Based on the times of the last calls and text times, Diya made them and then turned off the phone and hid it seconds before the SUVs made the run toward the field house. The last calls and text were to his father and brothers.

Ben-David was reading down the list of numbers; Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Uganda, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

While he was doing that, I was reading the US calls to at least 40 states.

“These international numbers are going to connect a lot of things together,” Ben-David said.

“The big thing now is to find out how many are burner phones and lead nowhere; the task force will have plenty to keep it busy tomorrow,” I replied.

The girls were still waiting for me as I walked Ben and his tech people out. Things had been so busy, they wanted to go out for supper; no one felt like cooking.

They wanted to go to the new Texas Steakhouse in Middletown; that was fine with me. I could use a good steak – the salad I had for lunch did not last long.

We packed up the boys and made the 40 minute trip in my armored Suburban. It was just one more night that I was not going to be able to check on the progress with the gym basement.

I shouldn’t have been concerned. Marcy had made a passing comment in the meeting and it went right over my head. My head was partially still in section 12 at 1600 Pennsylvania.

That comment was that that 100 of Bob’s people and contractors were working night shifts in the basement. The other 50 plus contractors were working 12 hour day shifts. I had not paid any real attention to the yellow safety tape stretched between the house and concrete box.

It was the end of October; November 1st was Saturday; the day of Victor and Joni’s wedding. It was dark when I left home at 0530 and dark when I got home at 1730. There was always equipment and vehicles parked along there anyhow.

At the steakhouse we had to wait a few minutes, even though we had called ahead for seating. I had asked for a table in a corner for a little more control of our situation and it was not ready yet.

The place was busy even though it was after what I considered it to be dinner hour, but there was room for us to put the carriers on the bench seats and for the girls to sit; I stood.

Middletown was 30 miles from Dover Air Force base and home to many civilian employees and air force personnel who lived off base.

Middletown – like all of Delaware – was growing like gangbusters and had been for awhile. Delaware had no problem with growth. Houses, developments, condominiums, highways and shopping centers were building everywhere.

Delaware understood what the government of many Maryland eastern shore counties refused to accept. You can get tax revenue two ways; raise taxes to the point that people kill growth and leave or give growth a green light, increasing the property tax base and creating jobs that boost revenue through income and payroll taxes.

In the back of the waiting area there were six Air Force men in uniform; their patches indicated they were E3 and E4 rank. They were discreetly talking and looking us over and pouring over something on their smarter than smart phones. It did not surprise me. Since the Kampala party dress shopping trip for me, a lot of higher end business outfits and fancy dresses had become routine wear for the girls at work and when we went out. My mates just looked great all the time. It was cool enough that we were all wearing light jackets.

All of us were carrying, Vicky, Ching Lee and I liked the shoulder holster; Marcy and Lorrie liked the back pack that placed the holster in the lower back at the belt line. Those made jackets necessary all the time.

The Air Force men’s little box started flashing that their table was ready. I moved back so they could get by but instead they stopped in front of me.

In a loud and booming voice that drew attention, “Ma-am, when you find that SOB, you kill him nice and slow – over two or three days should be about right. As a former Marine in the sand box, I’m sure you know how to make it take that long,” he said.

“I hear you loud and clear soldier, thank you for your service,” I replied as I saluted and then shook their hands.

The food was great; salad, steak and lobster and the cold beer before the meal hit the spot.

We were not bothered but there were plenty of people who seemed to need to walk along the adjacent isle and of course there were the phone cameras.

Our days of eating out in public places were over. From now on it was to cook at home or go to restaurants with private rooms or places we could control, like the restaurant at Morton Field. Even going to the inn with private rooms offered no privacy. The last two times we were there, people were waiting for us when we came out.

The restaurant at Morton Field was nice and had a fair selection. I was sure I could force a menu expansion and change for the evening meal. I would take an open minded look over the weekend to see if some changes could be made to make a couple of private dining rooms.

With the open sitting arrangement, there would be no privacy as soon as media and people saw us there regularly.

The ride home was enjoyable; Marcy drove to give me a break. I played faces and little finger games with little Jacob. Little Robert was sound asleep. The ride home went fast and before I knew it we were pulling into the garage.

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Chapter 459

“OK: do you need me to resign or what?” I asked.

“Oh no; not that – it is a State Department problem.”

“There are all kinds of international agreements that cover embassies. One of those agreements says that an official of the government must be present at all times to carry out business of the guest country. If all officials of the guest country are removed and no official representative is present then the embassy must be closed,” the President replied.

“The Ambassador and his assistant are landing in Reagan National in hours. There is no official representative of the US government in Namibia; it is a violation of international law to keep the embassy open,” the Secretary said.

“You want me to fix that for you?” I asked.

“We thought if anyone could – on short notice – you would have a solution,” the President said.

I logged into VCATS again and paged the Namibia embassy. Josie was still working the console.

“Josie, can you find me a Bible, page Andy and find a couple of additional people to be witnesses on your end?” I asked.

“Sure, there is a bible in the recreation room. Andy will be here in a moment,” Josie said, and then she went to get the bible.

“Mr. President, you sit in this chair that the camera is focused on and Mr. Secretary, in the other one and I will stand to the side of you,” I said.

Andy came in and sat in the chair in front of the camera.

“Boss, we have a little bit of dilemma. It was an oversight on our part. International law requires that there be an official of the United States able to handle embassy business at all times. If there is no official the embassy must close. Once closed it could take months to go through the process to reopen. That said, do you think you can handle an additional title for the time you are there?” I asked.

“BJ, I will do whatever you need me to do,” Andy replied.

“Stand, raise your right hand, place your left hand on the bible; Josie, hold the bible. The Secretary will administer the oath,” I said.

“Mr. Secretary.”

“I don’t have the oath with me,” he replied.

“Andy, repeat after me,” I said.

“I Andy Reddick do solemnly swear,”

“That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

“That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

“That I will and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter; so help me God.”

My people in the room added the whistles and applause.

“May I be the first to congratulate you and call you Ambassador Andy Reddick of the United States of America?” I said.

“Thank you BJ,” Andy replied.

“Thank you boss; do you need anything?” I asked.

“We are good here, prepared as much as we can be, I think,” Andy replied.

“Be careful boss,” I replied as closed the window.

“Still talking in code?” The President asked.

“Whatever it takes,” I replied.

“Mr. President, I need you to send an authorization to General Walton to put a drone over a property in Minnesota for up to seven days; observe and report mission,” I said.

“It might be one more piece of the puzzle. I would send my own drones but they are elsewhere right now,” I added.

“OK, consider it done,” he replied as he told an aide to make it happen.

“Before you and the secretary leave we need to talk about salary changes for the new Ambassador so I can get the home office on the right page. Marcy is a perfectionist when it comes to keeping the numbers straight,” I said.

“Just double what you are paying him; hopefully it is only for a few days,” the Secretary said then asked, “Just out of curiosity, what are you paying him for this kind of assignment?”

“Andy is in charge of both the special ops and rapid response teams when they are on assigned missions like this; his pay is a base ten thousand plus a thousand a day on top of his regular pay,” I replied.

It was very quiet at the table and then there was a whisper, “That is 17 thousand for the first week on top of regular pay. I think I am working for the wrong company,” it was Ben speaking.

“No, you are working for the right people, they do not ask you to stand up and get shot at. That is what I have ordered Andy and his teams to do,” I replied.

It was almost time to leave and I had wanted to leave early today to see what progress Bobs Construction had made. They were working around the clock.

There was a call from the FBI forensics lab, “We are done; on the drivers door there was a factory pouch to put things in. The pouch had been modified so it could be lifted and under it was a slot cut in the door panel.”

“It must have been for emergencies; the only way to retrieve anything put in there was to remove the inside door cover and trim. We found an iPhone 5 and several thumb drives. There was a flip phone in the AC duct work on the driver’s side; the cover had also been modified so it could be snapped off to have access to the phone,” the expert said.

Then he added, “It is on its way to you; should be there in half an hour or less. What do you want us to do with what is left of this thing?”

“Hold it for a few days if you can; there may be more I have to do with it,” I replied.

“Two weeks max,” he replied as the phone went dead.

Ten minutes later one of the agents from upstairs delivered a box with the things from the lab.

“Tomorrows work for us has arrived,” I announced.

I put the flash drives, flip phone and iphone on the table. I tried the power button and as I expected it was dead. I plugged it in to one of the many chargers that had accumulated on the table.

“We will have to get a court order to get the data from the phone and then another one to get Apple to try to open it. They will make noise and that is going to take a while,” the FBI assistant director remarked.

I was reasonably sure the iphone was locked. I had heard they were the choice for terrorist and drug dealers because of their security features. I knew someone that was rumored to have unlocked the San Bernardino iphone.

“Shalom my friend; I pray you and our friends in Africa are well.”

“Yes I am well. I hear you are shaking things in Washington, getting people up on their toes. I also hear you have promoted one of your men in Namibia,” Ben-David said.

“How did you hear about that so fast – it just happened a few minutes ago?” I asked.

“Your state department just sent us a change in personnel update,” he replied.

Then I changed the conversation over to Arabic.

“I have an iPhone 5 that I need to unlock; I understand you have had success with that. I believe that the owner was Diya,” I said

“We have a couple different programs for the iPhone 5 that have been successful. Are you able to share the data?”

“Yes, of course. I also have pictures of the suicide belt fragments used in Arizona,” I replied.

“I will meet you at your office at 17:30; have Robert stay and I will show him how to use the programs. Shalom my friend,” Ben-David said and he was gone.

I stayed another half hour writing out tomorrow’s agenda for my people. I was spending my day on the hill.

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Chapter 458

Thursday morning the task force got off to a much better start. First off, the Assistant Director on the team from the FBI received a VCATS from the forensics lab and sent it to the big screens.

“We have a shot up and wrecked 2015 Ford Expedition that was delivered a few minutes ago with a rush tag on it from the Director and you are the contact person, Ambassador Jones. What do you want us to look for?”

“What everyone else has missed; first thing, it is new enough to have GPS factory installed? Pull all the GPS data out of the computer and send it to me. I want to know where it has been for as far as the data goes back. Then strip it; we are looking for SIMMs cards, flash drives, a missing cell phone and computer drive.”

“Pull the headliner, carpet, door panels, seats, remove the seat coverings, pull the dash and check the AC ducting, fuse panels, remove and dismount the tires and anywhere else you think a professional would have hidden something in the thing or where the accident may have moved them,” I replied.

“Ten four; gut it; we got it.” the tech replied as the screen went dead.

To help matters along, my computer had dozens of big files from Len; they were all video files from various public cameras around MSU.

“Kent is supplying four detectives for a week and I have the first four you met working on your request as well. They have a grid of the area and a plan,” the note from Len said.

To help in that line, the two trained investigators from the DHS started today, ready to go to work. Emmett Casey and Wayne Thompson were also trained on how to use the facial recognition programs. They had a lot of work to do and the files were still coming in.

To help them I had six pictures for them to run the base search with, Diya, Saif, and the four dead female bombers. The video cameras had several stills that were good enough to use from just before they blew up. It was not much but it was a start.

The NSA and CIA men were working on the embassy problem in Namibia. To top it off, they were still in the dark almost 24 hours later. But, they did agree that something was happening and now it was 48 hours or less.

I did connect to the embassy cameras and flipped through some of the cameras. I watched some of the preparations Andy was doing. I flipped to the control room and paged. Josie Cantrell answered the page.

“Howdy boss; how are things in Washington today? Are you getting your feet settled into place?” Josie asked.

“Progress has just started, everyday is getting better. How are things there? Packed in like sardines?” I asked.

“It is tight but we are making the best of it. Some of the guys are complaining about hot sheeting the beds but Andy has told them it is that or sleep on the floor in the garage,” Josie replied.

“Hopefully it is only for a few more days,” I said.

“Be careful,” I said as I closed the window.

I called Andy and talked for 30 minutes; the important thing was to make sure he got the manual and understood how to use the devices.

Ambassador Eaton and his family and staff were on one of the G650s due to arrive at Reagan International this afternoon.

The other 650 was sent to Luanda Angola to stand by until whatever was over and in case wounded needed to air lifted out.

It was almost lunch when the FBI lab called, “We finally have the GPS data out of the computer; it has been one challenge. We had to replace the air bag sensors, then clear all the air bag codes and then replace the seat belts and clear those codes to be able to reset the computer. Some of Ford’s better ideas; not,” the agent said.

“After all of that I finally was able to download the data; I ran it through a conversion program to change it from Ford’s proprietary stream to Google maps for you and then loaded into the Trident fleet maintenance program that you use on your rental fleet. The file is on the way. After lunch we will be on the rest of the list.”

“How did he know we used the Trident fleet program for tracking our rentals?” I wondered.

Lunch for me was a loaded salad from the White House cafeteria. One thing was for sure, I needed to spend a lot more time in the gym.

When I was back at my desk, the file from the FBI was on my computer.

I started on the day of the attack and followed the time line back and wrote down the GPS numbers of every stop, how long it was stopped and the route that it took.

Diya had left his father’s home at 0900, drove to Coon Rapids and waited there at the Walmart for 2 and a half hours before driving to the college. Coon Rapids was 7 miles from the college as the crow flies. Just two miles outside of the search pattern I had asked Len to do.

I linked the laptop to the screen, played the route and rapped the table. “New search – narrow your field down to cameras between Coon Rapids, Route 10 and the college, Diya met the suicide bombers at the Walmart in Coon Rapids,” I said.

I called Len, “We got a break; cancel the search pattern you are doing; start a new one. Diya picked up the bombers at Coon Rapids Walmart. Walmart should have plenty of cameras in the parking lots and in the store. The time frame he was there was 0800 to 1100 and then he drove straight from there to the college with no stops,” I said.

I changed days on the program; the previous day he had spent all day at the learning center and the Mosque. I printed out each day’s route as I checked them. There was an active discussion as we looked at each day’s travels.

For a week Diya stayed around the city driving very few miles. It was ten days before he made any trips; route 10 to SR169 and 66 miles north before he turned off and went up a farm lane to a farmstead a mile from the highway. The message that Robert had intercepted was coded. The mileage numbers had been inverted. What we thought were 99 miles was instead 66 miles.

I signed in to the State Department’s high priced earth maps system, typed in the location and waited while it found it.

A large farm house with 3 out buildings; one of those buildings was a large shed, large enough to hide the truck with the 10000 pounds of explosive they had stolen in Canada and several other cars and trucks. The farmland had not been tilled this year it looked like.

“We need to schedule a raid on that place right now,” Armie Ratcliff – the assistant director from DHS – said as he was dialing his phone.

“NO we are not; hang up the phone,” I said.

“General, I need a drone with live operators placed on station over a farm in Minnesota for at least 3 days; a week would be better. Where do I need to start?” I asked.

“What are you looking at?” The general asked?

“I think it is where the terrorist made their bombs, plans and possibly keep the explosives. According to satellite, no one is there now but I want to see if anyone is traveling in and out,” I replied.

“OK, I will get it in the works to get the President to approve it. What notifications do you want?”

“Every time someone goes there and leaves. I am emailing you the location now,” I replied.

It was 14:30 hours when the President and the Secretary of State walked in; everyone became quiet.

“We have made a terrible mistake and we have to rectify it immediately,” the President said.

“Well, I guess this is my last day on this job. I wonder what I did wrong,” I thought.

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Chapter 457

Many of the task force members left in a hurry to return to their own agency to assist in and get updates on the new problem with Namibia.

I was left with my four from the Department of Education and they thought they were going to get to leave.

“I have been told that I have access to the entire Department of Education database through you. I want a series of reports run a couple of different ways.”

“I want a list of all colleges in the US from the largest to the smallest; I want their worth, endowments, investments, tuition, state and federal grants. If possible, I want how much money they get from their sports programs,” I instructed.

“Then do a separate list by state and put them in binders,” I said.

“I also want it in electronic format,” I said.

“I’m not sure the department will allow you the financial information. What do you need that for?” Tanya asked.

Tanya Birch seemed to be over the other three from the Department of Education.

“At some point funding for security equipment is going to come up. We have to develop policy, procedures and eligibility criteria, and a way to convince Congress to get on board,” I replied.

“If there is going to be a problem, I will get the President to make a call to your Secretary,” I said.

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” Tanya replied.

When I went back to my emails, there was another unwanted surprise. There were two electronic subpoenas to appear, this time from the House Domestic Terrorism Committee. I was to appear with unspecified documents and it was on Friday. I wondered just what unspecified documents meant.

The other was to appear and testify to the Senate Embassy Security Steering Committee. One was Friday morning, the other was Friday afternoon.

I had no time to testify for either committee; and I said that in the reply I sent to each. My time needed to be directed to catching Saif and his associates.

I called Victor to discuss the Namibia situation. It was going to be quick call but turned into a long conversation. We discussed the issues that my men had concerns about at Kampala and several embassies in Africa.

I asked Victor if he was getting nervous about the wedding Saturday?

“Nervous no, excited yes. All three of us are excited, Allie wants to make Joni officially Mom, as much as I want to make her my wife.”

“They finished the last few things on the house a couple days ago; it is perfect. I think Alica is going to be staying a lot on weekends. She and Allie are really close.”

“Any time you need Allie to stay over, she is always welcome, Alica is moving into the room Patti was in. Patti has moved all her things into her new house. The wedding is tomorrow night,” I replied.

I called Eric, while I was talking to Victor several questions had popped into my head that I needed answers to.

“Eric, what happened to Diya’s cell phone and records from it?” I asked.

After a real long delay, “That’s a good question I haven’t seen that report either,” he replied.

“I want to see the complete report on Diya and his SUV, including the complete list of all the evidence collected. The investigators I asked for are to be here tomorrow; they can go over it,” I replied.

“I take it you think something has been missed,” Eric replied.

“Something is wrong; I know something has been missed. We just have to find out what and how it connects things together,” I replied.

“Diya had to have a phone; where is it? The phones on the two vests, what numbers were on them? Did they do test calls from Saif and are they still in the call logs? Saif had to have a phone to communicate with Diya,” I said.

“Have the records of the cell towers around the college been searched for that day? Can the phones be connected?” I asked.

“Where is Diya’s SUV; is it still in the impound lot?” I asked.

“I can’t answer those questions. Call Len,” Eric responded.

Call Len I did; the results were not any better. In fact they were more troubling.

“The SUV is still in the impound lot for a few more days. Diya’s brothers are suing to get it released and have been demanding to get it back almost the next day,” Len said.

“That should have raise red flags galore. I can solve that for you. I want it brought to Washington to the FBI forensics lab. I want it stripped to the last nut and bolt. I just need to figure out how to make that happen,” I replied.

“What about Diya’s personal effects and clothes and cell phone when he was carried to the hospital; where are they?” I asked.

“They are in the evidence locker, we never found a cell phone,” he replied.

“Where are the two vests and the phones that were on them?” I asked.

“The ATF has them,” Len replied.

A call to Marty Coeburn answered several questions and an agreement to help fast track it into the lab and pay for the air cargo charge to get it to Washington.

More calls to Len and Lorrie put the delivery to Washington tomorrow. One of the C130’s would handle it and Len would see that it was carried from the impound yard to the airport.

Dealing with the ATF was another problem. I called a dozen numbers that were listed in the internal federal directory I was given, ending up with nothing. At one point they even denied ever having the vest.

I knew that to be a lie; I had a copy of the report where they had analyzed the explosives in the thing.

Finally throwing in the towel I called Attorney General Dunne; he was in the first meeting with the President but there was no representative from the ATF in my task force.

My call was not well received; he had already been informed that I had made calls to people in his agency.

“What do you want the suicide vests for?” he demanded.

“I do not want the vests, I want the cell phones that are attached to the vests so I can have them analyzed by DHS and NSA. It’s a long shot that there is anything to help but long shots are all we have right now.”

“I will make some calls and see that you get them,” he replied then he hung up.

I had run everything I could think of for the time being about MSU and turned my attention to the Arizona State for the hour that was left of today. My process coordinators began the task of putting everything together while my secretaries converted all my calls and meetings into transcripts for the mandatory permanent record.

I could hold the transcripts for 30 days before they had to be sent to someone to determine the classification, and then to the archives.

I left on time and made it to the house in time to shower and get into my costume for the wedding. The other girls were doing the same thing. it was going to be a small wedding in the Hillchurch community center.

Jason was going to walk Patti down the isle dressed as the distraught father. Lisa was dressed as the devil walking behind with the rubber pitch fork to keep her from changing her mind.

The wedding was a blast even with the crazy theme. Everyone was ready to party and party we did. It was a refreshing break from all the things we had on our plate.

Patti and Purnell were off to Aruba for their honeymoon for two weeks. I wondered who would be worn out first. Let the fun times roll.

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Chapter 456

“Boss; the surveillance here doubled yesterday; before that there was only one or two individuals watching; yesterday someone was watching all four sides. Today there are two sometimes three or four watching all the sides,” Andy said.

“This is an English speaking country but what we are intercepting is a mix. Some of conversations are in Arabic and others are English. They are using el-cheapo radios like hunters use. They are changing channels every hour thinking they are being secretive,” Robert said then he added.

“What I am intercepting looks like they are planning something in 72 hours. They are waiting on the rest of their people the Arabic speakers have discussed.”

“Planning what where?” the president asked.

“To attack the US embassy in Windhoek Namibia,” I replied.

The room got quiet then sounded like I was sitting in a basket ball game in over time with the score tied.

I wrapped on the table to get everyone quiet so I could continue my conversation with Andy.

“Boss,” I said to Andy.

“Understood BJ,” he replied.

Andy and I had worked out a code the next day after I found out I was doing the task force just in case something like this happened. When I called him Boss that meant that he was in full command of the special ops and rapid response teams and that he had carte blanche at the site in question. His response by calling me BJ meant he understood and accepted the assignment.

He was to continue calling me BJ until he was ready to give up the command; at that time he would call me Boss. My response was to be “Understood Andy,” to acknowledge his release of the command.

“Boss; A1 and A2 are open with no restrictions,” I replied.

A1 and A2 were code word for the armories, the one at Morton where heavy equipment and the drones were stored and the one at the gun club where ammunition and other weapons were stored. No restrictions meant he had my approval to get anything he wanted from either armory.

“BJ, I called all the RRT they are on the way to Morton field; Lorrie says the planes will depart in two hours at the latest,” Andy replied.

“Vicky, don’t forget to send 900 MHz radios and several satellite phones,” I replied.

“Robert; I think the LBB is what you need to use instead of the BBB; Andy may be pressed for time,” I said.

LBB and BBB referred to the encryption codes Robert had developed for the Kampala attack. Little Black Book of codes were 25 different codes. The Big Black Book was 250 codes. Andy didn’t have time to deal with the BBB even though Robert had improved and spread up the deciphering process.

“Understood, BJ,” Robert replied.

I sent Vicky a text, “Load two of the boxes in the Morton armory marked LZ17B on the plane going to Andy. Put on the box attention to be opened by Andy only,”

“Boss I am sending two LZ17B units to you. When you acknowledge possession I will send the manual. Do not attempt to power up until you have read the manual. The results could be catastrophic.”

“OK I definitely will wait on the manual,” Andy replied.

The LZ17B was from Ben David and one of Mossad latest nonlethal riot control devices; they were experimental. They emitted a rapid pulsed high intensity laser flash in broad spectrum 20 to 50 meters wide 10 meters high with a range of 50 meters. They also emitted a directed very high frequency pulse tone over the same area that temporally damaged the inner ear causing massive pain and created drunken sailors on a badly rocking ship.

On the low setting it would temporally blind for 20 minutes and cause disorientation for up to an hour. On the high settings blindness and disorientation could last days.

Anyone using optics that was hit with the pulse the effects multiplied. There were 24 special glasses and ear muffs in each box that the operator and anyone with or behind the operator needed to wear in case the laser beams or tones were reflected back and that could happen with any shiny or highly surface.

“BJ I do have one request, I think it is time we hired another 20 former special forces to add to our special OPS team,” Andy said.

“Vicky, have Mischief and Mayhem get started on that,” I replied.

“OK BJ,” Vicky replied.

“Boss, do you think you can get the men in without being seen and the Ambassador and his family out with out being seen?”

“Yes we can do the personnel transfer in the garage. It is connected to the embassy with a tunnel,” Andy replied.

“Boss” I said.

“I know BJ; you would not ask us to do anything that you would not do your self. I know that tomorrow morning when the sun came up you would be standing on the roof in full gear beside me with out hesitation. Your plate is full; find and KILL Saif. We have this under control we will have 70 men and ladies in here when the rest of the team arrives it will be tight quarters but we will make it work,” Andy replied.

“10-4 if he gets in my sights he is dead but not before he makes a trip to camp Smith if I have a choice in the matter. The doc is willing to do a physical on him,” I replied.

“Boss if they have done any research on us they know that frontal assaults and truck bombs do not work very well. If I remember the embassy has thick walls and they are high. Watch out for an all out mortar and RPG attack,” I replied.

“My thoughts exactly given the location and intercepts,” Andy replied as he closed the screen.

“Lorrie is sending both G650’s the 737 is in California and is not due back until late,” Vicky added before she and Robert closed the screen.

“Mr. President, someone needs to make the decision as to if the Ambassador Eaton and his family stays or returns with the aircraft,” I said.

The president made a motion to his aide, “get the Sec of State on the phone.”

Cell phones started ringing, and text by the dozens by the special tones, laptops came out of brief cases and went into use.

A few minutes later when things settled down Ben Smith said, “Am I the only one that noticed that BJ was having two conversations in one. One was for public consumption and the other one in secret in code?”

“What?” Rex asked. He was the assistant director of the FBI.

“Andy opened by calling BJ Boss at the beginning; then BJ called Andy boss and the whole tempo of the conversation changed and codes were added. Things like A1, A2, no restrictions, LBB, BBB, and whatever LZ17B is must be one bad SOB; catastrophic results.” Ben said as he was staring me down. Then he added.

“What the hell is mischief and Mayhem, WWF fighters? I know one of your training sites is called camp Smith. What else goes on there? A visit to Camp Smith to see the doc, what kind of doc; what kind of physical takes place there?”

“Oh wait a minute; I have seen your medical work. Don’t answer that I don’t want to know.” Ben responded.

In my best sergeant Shultz voice, “Colonel Hogan I see nothing; I know nothing. Commandant Klink will be furious if he found out. It is very cold on the Russian front and you know I do not like cold.”

The President must have been a Hogan’s Heroes fan, “General Hochstetter, there has never been an escape from Stalag 13,” he said in a Col Klink voice with a laugh.

The president took a call from the Secretary of State.

“Ambassador Eaton and his family are to come back on one of your planes,” the President said.

I sent Vicky and Andy a text to make sure that the Ambassador got the word to be ready to fly out when my men arrived.

The more I thought about the conversation with Andy and the follow up with Ben, I came to the conclusion that it would be better if we took Saif alive and did it quietly.

I was sure the President and most of the federal agencies want a big firefight and Saif’s body carried out on a stretcher in a body bag for the cameras.

What we really needed was three days to question and torture him if necessary to get every contact, location of planned attacks and where the explosives were, and then they could blast him away like Bin Laden.

He would never allow himself to be taken alive. Saif would never allow the remote chance that the Hawks would overrule the Doves in our government. Convincing them to look the other way while extreme torture by the Doc could do was carried out on him for information he would readily give after several sessions.

He was not worried about sodium pentothal, water boarding, sleep deprivation, or lie detectors; they were child’s play. People of his level had been well schooled while hiding in the caves; even trained on how to ignore or accept the effects of those things if they were captured.

Doc Burns and I had many conversations when he was checking out how my injuries had healed after my brushes with terrorists.

While he was a great doctor, I also found out his great hatred for murders, rapists and terrorists. The Doc even flew to other states to perform death row executions and never had one go bad. The local doctors wanted no parts of executions; it was a kiss of death for a medical practice. An outsider was always flown in.

I also found out he was a student of history – specifically torture – and had done an in-depth study of Nazi Joseph Mengele.

But it didn’t matter if we caught him alive; he would be lawyer up and be paraded in the media, immediately destroying any hope of exposing the people in his network. They would disappear immediately, only to continue their deadly activity another day.

Then again, maybe not.

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