Chapter 508

Sunday morning I spent several hours in the gym – more than I had in the last several days put together – and felt good afterwards.

I went to the basement and put on the heavy vest and survived with it on for 30 minutes. That settled the question I had about when to start back to Washington; it would be tomorrow.

I called Ed and Bill to let them know. The convoy plans and other logistics had already been worked out and they were waiting on me to say when.

A few minutes before 1100 the girls, the boys and I made our way through the tunnel back to the house to watch Hanna’s program. We ate lunch as we watched.

At the end I breathed a sigh of relief; the editing had been reasonable and I did not come off as overbearing or a dunce. Over all I was happy. I was sure that there would be more requests for interviews now, but I intended to do no more.

The four of us talked about the radio station going out of business. We talked about if there was any value adding it to the business line to use for advertising and changing the format to something that was more compatible with the area.

There was also a discussion about adding a couple more business venues. Marcy wanted to diversify more; her thoughts were that we were in too deep with the government. She ran percentages all the time and the revenue from sources not connected to the government contracts needed to be higher.

I didn’t see that there was going to be a problem because Vicky and Ching Lee both had dozens of requests for security contracts – large and small – from major business and high profile individuals. Evaluating their needs and pricing was going to take weeks.

The fact that I had been attacked and survived only increased the requests for security audits.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with Jenny, Marcy, Lorrie and the boys.

At 1700 Jenny’s phone rang; the C5 was 100 miles out and would be on the ground in a few minutes. I wanted so badly to go see Andy and Bob to welcome them back. Instead Marcy, Jenny and Lorrie went and I stayed with the boys.
Oh well, I would see them Monday afternoon. Vicky and Ching Lee would be back mid-week. I was anxious to hear the stories from their trip.

At 0600 I was sliding across the seat in the Suburban wearing the heavy vest and helmet. There were eight Suburbans in the convoy and both Blackhawks overhead. As usual there were to be two MSP and then two Transit Authority cars joining us.

Both armed Blackhawks were getting staged inspections starting tonight. Several techs from Sikorsky were going to help Robbie’s techs with the work. It would take a week to do the inspection piece-meal like that but Ed insisted they were needed to fly cover over my convoy.

There were multiple changes coming to my Washington travels; the times I left home would be varied from 0500 to 0800. The times I left Washington would vary from 1300 to 1900 and some days I would work from my command center, just to keep everybody guessing.

This whole operation would have been terribly expensive, if the justice department had not been picking up most of the tab.

The trip went smoothly even with all the extra SUVs. The news traffic helicopters had alerted the media group I was coming.

Just as we parked Robert sent me a text, “The Prince has upped the price; you are now worth five million dead and they have added the members of the task force at one million each. As you can guess, we have made small gains in breaking the new codes but have a long way to go.”

“Send me the breakdown of that part of it; use the big black book,” I replied.

There were dozens of reporters – including some of the White House inside press folks – standing by the fence with the big cameras.

“0900 press room,” I shouted out to them after I exited the Suburban and stepped through the side door into the secure area.

Ben was already in the office and coffee had just finished brewing.

“Any dots connecting on the ten you arrested?” I asked.

“Lots of data on the phones and on their computers; they are still being interrogated,” he replied.
“I’m only going to be here till 1300 today; my security team is going to change my arrival and departure schedule every day to keep them guessing,” I said.

“Keep them guessing? Are you implying there is going to be another attempt to kill you?” Troy asked. He and the President had walked in behind me.

“Yes. The bounty is now five million on me. They have also added the members of the Task Force with a one million each bounty,” I said.

“Until we find the money man and kill him, the attempts will not end. The tactics and determination we used against Osama are being used to get me and now the Task Force. They fail to realize that the war against domestic terror will continue on without us,” I said.

“The one thing the Task Force has done is change the way the agencies are working together and the way they are looking at the data. The improved result has been apparent,” I said.

“Troy, can you get me the press room with plenty of coffee and donuts setup for 0900?” I asked.

“I can do that,” he replied.

“I saw your interview yesterday; it was very interesting and informative. I never realized you watched the local political landscape so closely,” the President said.

“I just like to stir the pot; there is an election coming up and that will give them something to talk about. It may improve some things as well,” I replied.

“Most people that do what you did have an agenda,” Troy replied.

“I have an agenda; I want the code updated, permitting relief and the 90 foot limit gone,” I replied.

“Spoken like a true Politician; are you still sure that you are not running for office?” the President asked.

By the time we finished talking all the Task Force was in and seated. I expected the President and Troy to leave; instead they took seats.

“Ben, you are still in charge; you are going to have to work with the Secret Service and Justice for 24/7 security for each of the members. What have you learned from the arrest?” I asked.

“As you have said, they lawyer up upon arrest and refuse to talk. On the other hand, all were apprehended before they could scrub their phones and computers. Still no breakdown from the techs,” Ben said.

“I am beginning to question the efficiency of our computer group as you have done. If I have not heard from them by noon I want to send copies of the files to Robert, if you will allow,” Ben said.

“I’m sure he will look at it if you want; but I have part of his group working on a top secret project,” I replied.

“Should I ask or just ignore that statement? Ben asked.

“Believe me, you want no part of it,” I replied.

Just then I received a large file from Robert in the big black book encryption. Roberts’s team had updated the black book encryptions twice in the last few months trying to speed up the process and still maintain its top secret abilities.

The last one was completed and tested while I was recovering Friday and installed on my JBG portable office. I have successfully used the new process four times to Robert’s satisfaction while he was training me.

The process was simple, but had to be done precisely for security purposes. I had to open the program on the laptop with my fingerprint to activate, then log in and password for that program.

Once that part of the program opened, I had to insert the first thumb drive and log in to it with a different password. There were a total of three thumbs that had to done in order to complete the program. Any variance and the program would not activate. When that was done I dragged the file into the program, then chose encrypt or un-encrypt.

If I chose to watch the screen during the process I could watch thousands of random letters and words and paragraphs about nonsense become complete words, sentences and paragraphs of secret messages.

When the program was done there were transcripts of phone calls and emails confirming the three to Africa in 4 weeks to meet the arms dealer from Hong Kong.

I called Andy; it was time to start the operation.

“Andy, I know you just got back but things need to happen. Get with Robert, he can fill you in. Order all the OPS and RRT men to stop shaving and hit the tanning booth every day; they are going to need to look the part,” I said.

“Get with Mischief and Mayhem, review all the embassy security teams; look for former OPS and Seals. Pick fifty of the best and get them headed to Morton for mission training ASAP. I will fill in all the details this afternoon,” I instructed.

“I’m with Robert now and we both were expecting your call. Your wish is my command Boss,” he replied as he killed the call.

“Uh oh, there is that boss thing again; I do not like this. You are right, I want to know nothing,” Ben said.

At 0900 on the dot I walked out onto the press room stage to the edge and gently stepped down. I poured myself two cups and sat one on the stage. When I turned to get a donut from the table, everyone was standing.

“Welcome back Ambassador,” was said in unison. “Thanks for the donuts and coffee,” was added.

I raised my donut, “Thank you, please be seated,” I replied.

I guess some kind of peace had been reached. The outside group was seated; the elite group was standing along the walls and across the rear of the room or setting in folding chairs. Everyone had coffee and a donut.

As before I sat on the stage and started, “You don’t know how good it feels to be able to say good morning to you. I only have 20 minutes that I can be here. Who wants to go first?”

“Yes Scott.”

“Are you going to work your normal schedule at the White House?”

“No, my schedule will vary day to day split between here and my command center,” I replied.

“Malinda?”

“Is there any more information about the attackers than you can tell us?”

“The investigation continues; to date there has been little information found that connects any of them to established terror groups,” I said.

“In your Sunday interview there was a lot of time spent on local county issues, are you considering running for local office?”

“Absolutely NOT,” I replied.

“Jess?”

“In the pictures of the SUV Sunday you were in there appeared to be blood and they were totally destroyed; how serious were the injuries to your people that were with you?”

“Detailed medical issues of employees is confidential. The only thing I can say is that two of my men have not been released yet. You saw the pictures of my body and I was wearing the heavy vest; my men were wearing standard vests. The bruising on them is much worse. Bad enough that they are under a doctor’s care to prevent blood clot issues,” I said
.
“Harvey?”

“When are the names of the terrorists going to be released? Normally that is done before now.”

“Ben Smith of the NSA is the lead person on the investigation along with Rex Schram of FBI; those decisions are up to them. Because of my involvement I have removed myself from the decision making process on that investigation,” I replied.

“That is all the time I have, as I said it’s good to be here and able to have this time together,” I said.

With the cameras off, I spent a spent a few minutes being sociable and then left for Section 12.

In Section 12 I listened to the discussions as the Justice Department worked out the security details for the rest of the Task Force members. While I was in the press room the terrorists had released the details of the bounty through their Hamas media information site.

I called Ben to my office, “You may want to give team members the option of resigning from the force; a couple of them have family responsibilities that may make the threats not worth the risk to them. Not that resigning will remove the threat now but they need to have that option,” I said.
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Chapter 507

“Welcome to the Delmarva Sunday Report; I’m Hanna Page and today our special guest is Former Ambassador Roberta Jones in the first interview since the attack on her life.”

“Today we are filming the show from the JBG heavily fortified underground command center. I would love to show the audience the workings of the center but for obvious security reasons, the views of our cameras has been restricted to the observation seating,”

“Ambassador, the first question has to be – how are you?” Hanna asked.

“I’m getting better every day; I worked out in the gym for the first time this morning then spent an hour on the massage table to get my muscles relaxed,” I replied.

“Did you know that you were going to be attacked? Was there any advanced warning?” Hanna asked.

“No, no early warning , the helicopter flying cover saw what was going to happen but with only 20 seconds or so there was not any way to take evasive measures,” I replied.

“Is the group that attacked you the same one that was doing all the college attacks?”

“All indicators are that it is a previously unknown splinter group or else a new one trying to make a name for themselves,” I replied.

“The million dollar bounty on my head will bring them out of the woodwork,” I added.

“There were 24 terrorists killed in the attack; were the leaders among those that were killed?” Hanna asked.

“I don’t believe so at this time, the task force and its partners are still working with the intelligence and evidence collected. It will take a while to sort through it all. I would be extremely surprised if the leader was killed; that is just not their method of operation. Most of the leaders aren’t suicidal, just fanatics,” I replied.

“You have only a couple months left on the six month term with the task force, are you going to stay on longer given all the things that have happened with terrorism?” Hanna asked.

“I have not had any discussions with the President about any changes in my term of duty on the task force. The original term was for six months, as you know. I’m sure there will be discussions going forward,” I replied.

“I need to change direction for a minute. There have been some complaints about aircraft noise over C’ville from operations at JBG Morton Field to the county commissioners and in the editorial page in the local paper. Can you address that complaint?” Hanna asked.

“Yes I can. Executive Vice President Lorrie Jones – who oversees the aviation division – and our attorneys have petitioned the FAA for a departure route change from the North runway. That change was approved a few days ago and will be published in next month’s ‘Notice to Airmen’, a publication to all pilots. The change has already been placed in effect by the air traffic controllers at Morton Field,” I replied.

“You are on the record supporting county growth. There are two large projects that have been proposed, yet there are statements that you are opposed to both of them. Why?” Hanna asked.

“The first part of our statement is correct; I support county growth. The more the merrier, growth equals jobs across the total employment spectrum and increases the county tax base. Without growth the county will slowly wither and die as taxes are forced to rise, eventually driving people away. Our sons and daughters will move to where the jobs and better housing and lower taxes are,” I said.

“The problems I have are in the planning and zoning department. There is a serious conflict of interest in the administration of that department. I am surprised that there has been no lawsuit against the county. Also, the zoning rules are a mix of rules taken from other counties and cities that really don’t fit the area or the needs of the residents; sort of a cut-copy-paste thing. There is no flexibility and to appeal takes thousands of dollars,” I said.

“Then there is the suspicion that every time someone in zoning doesn’t like an applicant, application or a project, there is a midnight rule written or other delays until they do stop the project. It also seems like the zoning board is too eager to stop projects or force major changes just over one or two complaints at hearings. I have also heard the complaint that at the hearings the only voices allowed are those with opposition to the application,” I said.

“I have a friend who was told they had to plant $50,000 worth of trees on their three acre lot to be to get a permit to add a two car garage onto their house. A neighbor complained at the hearing that there were not enough trees on the property. Just an example of plain excessive overreach,” I said.

“So you are saying to throw out the existing zoning and rewrite the book,” Hanna said.

“That’s right, written by our own people to serve the real needs of the community and not the special interest groups, and not by and for architects and insurance companies. There also needs to be a quick way to eliminate rules and regulations that prove to be an unnecessary burden, or prohibitive to the property rights of the owner,” I replied.

“Can you explain that or give me an example?” Hanna asked.

“A different friend wanted to put a decorative fence across the front of their property; you know the traditional three board fence out of the new plastic materials that never need painting or replacing. First it was a 500 dollar permit; then they had to get a print from a certified architect for 1000 dollars more.”

“Then all the holes for the posts had to be dug so an inspector could look at them before the posts could be installed. The inspector took four days to show and that was one day after a 4 inch rain. He failed them because they had been washed in and were no longer to depth. They had to be dug again. Five days later he inspected them again. It’s a freaking fence; line up the post with a string line or a laser, measure them out and put posts in the holes. They have to be assembled like a puzzle anyhow and you need to level the post, back fill and tamp. Needing a permit, drawing and inspection is insane. This is nothing more than planning looking out for their own and domain building,” I said.

“Another example of how outdated the rules are; there is the ninety foot maximum building height restriction. The original reason for it was the tallest ladder truck in the county was 100 feet. The tallest ladder truck made now is 150 feet. There are hundreds of thousands of buildings worldwide well over ninety feet made possible because sprinkler systems and changes in construction techniques practically fire-proof tall buildings,” I said.

“Several years ago the county changed the rules after arm twisting by the insurance companies to require all housing have sprinkler systems – even in rural areas – adding in some cases $50,000 to the cost of a residential house. Even a house that is gutted for renovation has to have one installed. There is simply no need for such a restriction anymore,” I said.

“The county has an open space rule; if you really are dedicated to preserving open spaces you allow buildings to go higher, not require huge lots for a single house; and you approve the condo complex applications without years of delay,” I said.

“Let’s change directions again. You heavily support the Uganda refugee camp and there those who are critical of that given all this year’s hurricanes in the South and South East. They think the food and clothing you have collected should go to those areas,” Hanna stated.

“Not one person in the hurricane affected areas was starving to death before or after the hurricane hit. The government did an exceptional job responding with critical water and food. They may have missed a few meals but not one was starving to the point that the loss of the one small meal the camp supplies could be a death sentence for small children. That is the reality in the camp for children,” I replied.

“Yes, I agree and was there with you at the camp; conditions there are heartbreaking. I asked the question so you could answer the critics,” Hanna replied.

“To go back to earlier questions; where are the remains of the SUVs you were in when attacked? Do the authorities still have them or have they been disposed of?” Hanna asked.

“We have them back; they were taken to Camp Smith after the MSP finished the investigation,” I replied.

“Camp Smith?” Hanna questioned.

“Camp Smith is one of our training sites for our security division. We do a variety of training there and they will be used in that,” I replied.

“Would it be possible for the camera man to take some close video of them?” Hanna asked.

“I can get someone to take you there for that, I think,” I replied.

The questions were finished in seventy five minutes. The majority of them were on terrorism, my time in the White House, the threats and the attack. A lot of topics were covered. A lot of the questions were hard hitting and I gave solid hard answers; I pulled no punches. I was sure some would be cut to fit the program into the time slot plus ads.
After the cameras stopped and Lorrie was looking for someone to take them to Camp Smith, we made small talk.

“Did you ever listen to WFZZ radio?” Hanna asked.

“The hard rock heavy metal station? No. Gave me a headache. Why do you ask?” I replied.

“It’s shutting down the end of the month, the rock and metal crowd has made the transition to I-pods and I-phones to get away from the five minutes of ads between songs. When the listeners went away so did the advertisers; the ones that were left balked at the higher prices for the ads. On top of that they were always over staffed in every department,” Hanna said.

“Interesting that it has lasted so long with so many country folk in the area. They came to us wanting us to advertize, but we did not think it would reach our active customer base,” I replied.

I was also sure I had opened a rat’s nest with some of the answers in the interview. Let the buffalo chips fall where they may.

Marcy, Lorrie, Jenny and I went over to the house via the tunnel. Lisa and Mindy had been sitting the boys and making supper. With Jason and Jake in Japan and since the attack on me, Mindy and Lisa was spending most of their time with us.

After supper I did turn on the network news from Washington to listen to the world segment, just to see how much it was distorted from the real events that I had access to. Midway through was a plug for Channel 34’s Delmarva Sunday Report with a short clip of the opening questions that was repeated through the news cast and on the other three major networks.

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Chapter 506

Friday turned into a very busy day that I ended up mostly watching go by.

The C5 was loaded with 200 thousand pounds of relief supplies for the refugee camp. The crew and my men assigned to Kampala were going to unload the food and clothing in the hangar at Entebbe Airport.

Hanna Page and her channel 34 news team had another exclusive TV report. Elmo Cartwright was there for the local paper. It was only right for Elmo to be there since his paper was donating half the ad space to help with donations. Lorrie, Marcy and Jenny had the honors of giving the interview about the relief flight. I watched the boys while they were gone.

Channel 34 owner Carleton Page had resisted efforts to be taken over by the big communications giants in Washington and New York for years.

They now knew there was a direct link to JBG through Hanna and the pressure was on to sell again. Hanna Page was his only grandchild; her dream was to run her granddad’s station.

Carleton Page knew he would be out of a job and the station closed if he sold out; the last locally owned station gone. He did work out contracts to sell news stories to the major networks.

Hanna did manage to work in questions on my health; she had caught on quickly to the ways of the White House media teams from the few short times she had been there.

A one minute cut of Hanna’s story was carried by the major networks. Hanna even gave the paper a little bump by questioning Elmo about ads and his papers support.

Hanna asked the girls after the filming stopped if they thought I or all of my mates would be interested on being on the channel 34 Sunday local news show that ran from 1100 to 1230. Their guest had canceled at the last minute this morning.

Marcy suggested that she call me about this week’s show and when Vicky and Ching Lee returned, we would do the show as a group.

Ambassadors Fauntroy, Morrison and Brenardi would handle moving the goods from the hangar to the camp.

The C5 was going from there to Windhoek to bring back Bob, Andy and all the crew with their equipment. Lorrie was combining flights to save money; besides, the State Department was paying for part of the flight anyhow.
A State Department plane was carrying Ambassador Eaton and his family back.

Ambassador Schmitt and the entourage arrived from Kampala early Friday morning. Rachael was sending me loads of pictures of the greeting. Apparently Bob Jackson, his wife and Frederica hit it off OK and were at least smiling in the pictures. It seemed I was worried about that meeting for nothing.

Friday I had guests; Ben-David and Israeli Ambassador Ableman came around 1000. Ben had brought the latest update to the system he had given us. It was just a cover to see me; usually a courier just dropped them off.
We talked for an hour before Ben wanted to see Robert and explain some new things with the update.
“I will have to take you to him; they have moved to larger offices,” I replied.

Ben David was impressed with Roberts’s new offices; Ambassador Ableman and I left the tech geeks to do their thing.
Ambassador Ableman and I ended up in the command center after getting coffee. The executive chairs in there were well padded, reclined and had descent foot rest and an arm rest with a cup holder; I needed all of those today.

We had only been talking a few minutes when the controller announced I had a page from Korea.
Ambassador Ableman started to get up but I told him he could stay, that I was expecting a family call.

“Good evening Vicky and Jake. I think it is close to midnight there,” I said.

“Yes and we are boarding the plane in a few minutes to Japan,” Vicky replied.

“It has been a busy day but we think everything has been done. The building has been purchased, permits acquired, plans drawn up and a contractor hired who is going to start Monday,” Jake said.

“Our senior man from the security detail William Croft is going to take pictures and send them to Jake daily to monitor the progress and construction quality. William worked four years building condos and as a supervisor before the Army Special Forces so he knows what should be done and how,” Vicky said.

“That should have everything covered. Have a safe flight. By the way, how is Ching Lee doing?” I asked.

“Buying lots of traditional clothes and souvenirs; she may need a bigger closet. She is having a good time; we all are. The current crew were not happy about leaving but have warmed up to the idea,” Vicky replied as she said bye and closed the screen.

“Can you use this to communicate anywhere?” Ambassador Ableman asked.

“As long as we have the access numbers I am told. I communicate with my team at the US embassy in Tel Aviv quite often,” I replied.

“So if I thought my building was being monitored I could come here and communicate with my people in Israel for critical issues?” he asked.

“I don’t think there will be a problem doing that if you need to,” I replied.

“Speaking of communicating; Ambassador Dansky is at the Kampala embassy. I think I just saw him enter the building,” I said.

“Hambone, bring the Kampala lobby camera to the big screen and back it up a couple minutes,” I instructed. I never asked how Hamilton Burger got that nickname, but I bet there was a story connected with it.

Sure enough Ambassador Dansky was there with Ambassador Brenardi.

“Hambone page Kampala please,” I directed.

When the screen went live, “Hello boss, you gave us quite a scare there for a while. I bet I could beat you on the mats right now,” the controller said.

“Oh but when I get well, payback might be hell,” I replied.

“That’s why you are there and I’m staying here,” he replied as he was laughing.

“I will page the Ambassador for you,” he said.

“I want to speak to Ambassador Dansky at the same time,” I said.

The conversation lasted an hour before Ben-David came looking for his boss and then the conversation went for another thirty minutes. It was an open conversation between friends and allies.

As Ben was leaving, “When you find the people you are looking for, let me know. We may be able to help.”

“I will keep that in mind. It may happen in the next month or so, maybe sooner,” I replied.

I spent two hours on MTAC with Ben Smith, arrest warrants had been issued for all 10 of the people the Prince had phoned with his satellite phone. Four were in the Washington area and two in New York City and four on the west coast. The scope and reach of the task force just kept growing.

Saturday morning I started back working out in the gym with light workout. It was tough and painful but afterwards I felt better. A lot of the men from my security detail were in the gym and giving the hot tub a workout. Then most of them were visiting Amy Crossman – the masseur – for a body massage to help with the soreness.

At 1000 Hanna called to ask if I would consider being the guest for their Delmarva Sunday Report for her station. She would bring the makeup, sound and cameraman and would record the interview wherever I wanted. They could come this afternoon. Marcy had already filled me in on the conversation they had yesterday so the call was no surprise.

I agreed to the interview and the time. I wasn’t going anywhere, not for a couple more days at least; I and my family considered Hanna a close friend.

While I had time I looked at Google Earth using the State Department’s fancy big sized version at Polokwane South Africa. Twenty four hours later there was still no change in activity at the airports.

The Prince would certainly land at the bigger airport and stay or carry out his business at the better hotel.

I wondered how Dad, Jason and Jake with some of my men would take to an elephant and rhino safari, even if it was with camera. I doubted there was time to get any kind of permits to kill either, not that I wanted any killed but saying so would make for good cover. But then I was sure that there were poachers who could arrange it.

At 1330 Hanna, Sylvester and Megan Keith (the makeup girl) stepped off the elevator. Then the search began for a suitable location with the right light and sound reflection qualities. Every place we tried has some kind of problem; echoes, tones, feedback from office equipment and noise from gym.

It was funny how over the years we had gotten used to it and didn’t bother us, yet the TV equipment picked up on it.

There was only one place left that had none of that noise and static and also plenty of lighting, and that was the command center.

We went down to check it out after I gave them specific instructions, “You cannot film any of the equipment or take photographs of the monitors,” I told them.

It worked out great with the camera man filming towards the seats. With the swivel seats and Hanna on one side of the isle and me on the other, we could angle and face one another and still both be in the camera.

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Chapter 505

I called Troy to put the plan in motion; he needed to change parts of his planned 0900 news conference. I sent him the three modesty pictures Jenny had taken. Troy was going to rush the tech department to set up an MTEC screen and camera in the press room.

Marcy, Jenny and Lorrie joined me as we waited for and then watched as Troy and Harry walked to the podium to begin.

“Good morning, a lot of things have happened in the last twenty-four hours so let’s start at the beginning. Yesterday at 1510 the terrorists attacked Ambassador Jones’ convoy as she was heading home,” Troy stated.

“Four dump trucks driven by terrorists slammed into the Ambassador’s convoy, shoving the convoy into the guardrail and shearing the bodies from their frames. The Suburban bodies ended up in westbound traffic, some of them were hit by cars in the mess that followed,” Troy said.

“At that point in the attack, one of the trucks was a suicide truck bomb and exploded, causing further damage to the Suburban’s and their occupants and damaging over 70 cars that were stopped on the highway in the process,” Troy said.

“There were four cars with four terrorists each that then open fire on the Suburban’s and the stopped cars. A JBG armed helicopter providing support for Ambassador Jones’ convoy eliminated that threat,” Troy said.

“Twenty-four terrorists died in the attack. Over a hundred citizens were injured from the initial accident, explosion or when the terrorists changed to soft targets. Unfortunately, 23 people died in the automobiles,” Harry said.

“Six of the Ambassador’s JBG body guards were injured in the Suburban’s, two seriously. The FBI, DHS, CIA, Secret Service MSP, Maryland Transportation Authority and of course the Task Force are investigating the attack” Harry added.

“On a further note, NSA Director Ben Smith has been named temporary chair person of the task force,” Troy added.

“We will take a few questions. Melinda, we will start with you,” Harry said.

“What information do you have on the funeral services for Ambassador Jones? You have said nothing about that,” she asked.

“Funeral services? Ambassador Jones was injured, not deceased. The President and I talked to her immediately after attack and again this morning. In fact, she has sent us some pictures and gave us permission to show them to you,” Troy said.

“Put the first picture on the screen,” Troy instructed the video person. As he was talking, the President walked in and to the side.

“Now the second and then the third,” he directed.

“As you can see, BJ took quite a beating in the attack. She said it is from the seat belt and shoulder harness,” Troy said.

“Scott.”

“Why the elaborate ruse and silence about the Ambassador?” he asked.

“I can’t answer that, her security team was in control and orchestrated her removal from the area. You can ask her that question. Ambassador Jones has said she would do a short video conference call,” Troy said.

“Has BJ paged in?” Troy asked the controller.

A click of the button and the four of us were on the screen behind Troy.

“Good morning Mr. President, Troy, Harry; how is everyone this morning?” I asked.

“BJ, we are fine, how are you? You said you were hurting and it is easy to understand why after looking at the pictures,” the President asked.

“It hurts to breathe and to talk so this is going to be short,” I replied.

“Scott, to answer your question my security team felt it was best to get me out of the area the fastest way possible. Lying on the stretcher was the safest way. I did not want to be a distraction for the rescue teams that had so many injured to deal with. It was best if I was gone quickly and quietly,” I said.

“Marley” Troy acknowledged.

“BJ, are you under a doctor’s care and how soon will you be back to work?” Marley asked.

“I am scheduled to get an MRI today and will not be back until I can wear the heavy vest. I will just have to go day by day. I am going to work from the command center here at JBG headquarters until I can,” I replied.

“How do you feel about Director Smith taking your place on the committee?” Scott asked.

“Ben is an excellent choice, we have worked together on multiple projects, we have learned a lot from each other and think alike in many areas,” I said.

“By the way Malinda, I’m still breathing so no one gets to collect the bounty yet,” I said.

“Harley,”

“Ambassador Jones; given yesterday’s events do you still feel we are making gains in the war on terrorism?” he asked.

“Yes; it is blatantly clear now that we are seriously hurting their cause, by going after our leaders that are fighting terrorism. Before they were going after large group kills for shock effect. Now they are devoting huge amounts of resources for just one person.”

“They have failed to realize the same as we did in the killing of Osama that there was a chain of command ready to take his place.”

“We have a bigger pool of determined leaders capable of stepping in and taking the fight forward. They had a few hundred capable; we have thousands. Yesterday’s attack only showed their desperation,” I said.

“The biggest gains in stopping terrorism are going to be stopping the funding, recruitment, training sites and communications. We have to keep them running, making mistakes as well as killing them,” I said.

“That’s about all I can stand for now. I will try to do this again in a couple days. Mr. President, Troy I will call you after I rest,” I said as I signaled to close the broadcast.

The news cast continued for another hour.

I had been right, Robert’s screen filled up again while I was on the video call. Ben was soon going to get lists to work with.

We needed to go to my office and speak with my people; I had kept them in the dark the last few hours. I spent the rest of the morning at my desk and with small groups of employees. I was in pain but it was bearable with OTC pain meds.

One thing I remembered from boot camp; the gunny was always yelling, “Suck it up soldier! Keep going, don’t stop because hurts,” and keep going I did and I will now.

Doc Burns’ medical group had seen all the members of my security team by noon and they all had MRIs. I had mine after lunch. No further treatment was required, just time and then time in the gym. I had ten days to heal enough to go to the Ambassadors Ball.

Four of those injured had been released. The other two were going to be in the hospital a week. The insurance company wanted them out in 3 days; Jenny put an end to that.

Ed and Bill were already working on rebuilding the security team. The older gas Suburban’s had fared better in attack than the newer diesel model because they were larger and heavier. The new convoy setup would have eight of the rehabbed Suburban’s instead of four new diesels.

After the MRI, I had just settled into my office chair when Andy and Bob paged on VCATS.

“We are done; everything had been repaired. What is the inspection and acceptance process required?” Bob asked.

“I don’t know, call Vicky and inform her, then Victor and Amy; they can determine the process. Once that is done get with Lorrie to schedule the C5; I want the man lifts and the Hummers brought back and of course all your tools and equipment. Also bring back any worthwhile leftover materials. The hangar has to be cleaned out as well before you leave,“ I replied.

“Bob, there is a very slight chance I may need you to go to Korea for a project there. I will know in a couple of days,” I said.

I spent the rest of the afternoon between my office and the EIT office. Robert was making progress in the hunt for the Prince and his two cohorts; enough progress that I could see the noose forming in my mind.

I would be glad to have Andy and the full OPS team back. They would need a couple weeks on the shooting range and at Camp Smith before the next mission. Andy had not met all the new members of his teams because of his time in Windhoek.

Ed and Bill wanted changes done to Camp Smith; Andy would make the final decision on that.

On the way to the house I stopped by Robert’s office one last time for the night.

“I sent a copy of the data from the ten phone numbers called by the Prince’s satellite phone to Ben on the g-mail site. I did not send the data or the recording of the conversation the three had at 2100 Riyadh time. I thought you might like to hear and evaluate it with the OPS team first,” Robert said.

Robert played the recordings of the call and was right, the three were planning a trip to South Africa with diamonds, gold, dollars and ivory to arrange payment for advanced weapons of Chinese manufacture. The trip was planned to happen in four weeks in the town of Polokwane in the northern providence of South Africa.

Polokwane was less than a day’s ride from supposedly closed gold and diamond mines and several huge elephant and rhino game preserves.

That told me that the gold, diamonds and ivory were local black market the Prince had paid South African terrorist groups to secure. There was no end to the black market support for crime and terrorism.

Polokwane had two separate airports that were within ten miles of each other, one with a single 6000 foot runway, built by the owner of the now defunct diamond and gold mines. There was one cluster of buildings for security. It was used for all kinds of illegal activities but beginning to deteriorate. There was one twin engine plane on the runway.

The other airport was run by the government for the big game hunters to hunt the preserves and tourism. There were two large hotels near that airport. It had two runways and looked to be in good shape and had multiple hangars and a terminal building.

There was one sizable plane that looked like it was being dismantled or had been damaged on landing; the tail and a section of the fuselage was several hundred feet away from the main section. There were also a couple smaller planes on the tarmac.

From the layout, this was at one time a booming airport. The closing of the gold and diamond mines had sealed the fate of this area. The jobs and supporting infrastructure died with the mines, making the area ripe and ready for the terrorists who promised them everything and left nothing but poverty and death.

The Prince was negotiating for small drones capable of carrying two small missiles comparable to the Hellfire. Elephant Ivory and complete Rhino horns were a cherished item in China – worth hundred thousands of dollars – were to pay from them along with the diamonds and gold.

The drones were being delivered to Central America and to Alejandro Hernandez; he was the arms dealer who had supplied the heavy machine guns to the terrorists for the college attack.

I spent time in the hot tub before supper and then rested in the recliner. Two little boys decided I was their playmate tonight and climbed the chair to be in my lap. The first bounce on my abdomen and I almost crapped my pants, if I had been wearing any. I read them a picture book to calm them down.
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Chapter 504

Frank, Eric and Ben followed Marcy – who had met them at the elevator – and stopped in front of me.

“We came to offer condolences and help to the girls; we never expected this. Does the President know? I just talked to him a few minutes ago, he didn’t say anything,” Frank asked.

“Only two people know in the leaky bucket known as the White House and only a very few here. I thought that we could turn this into a positive to collect information. So far it looks really good; they have thrown caution to the wind rejoicing over my demise,” I said.

“Ben, tomorrow you will be emailed names and numbers for the task force to work on from a G-mail account with a sender of ‘one-pissed-off-bitch’. Oh, by the way; you will also be named temporary chairperson just in case the information keeps coming and I need to lie low for a couple days or am so sore I cannot wear a vest before I have a miraculous recovery” I said.

“You know all the networks are saying you are dead,” Eric said.

“My team did a great job getting me out of there, leaving the images we wanted the media to broadcast. That gives them something to talk about; we just need to make sure no one official confirms I’m dead. Troy already has a statement to read tomorrow morning that he and I worked out a few minutes ago,” I replied.

“Just WHEN was this plan put together?” Eric asked.

“While I was hanging upside down in the seat belt. Just before the truck bomb exploded and rolled the body upright,” I replied.

“You didn’t get a scratch?” Ben asked.

“I’m black and blue and sore all over, Doc Burns is coming to check me out in a few minutes,” I replied.

“You are not really going to let that guy work on you, are you? You trust him that much after what he has helped you do?” Ben asked.

“Ben, you do not know even one percent of what he does for us,” I replied.

“That is one more thing I do not want to know anything about,” he said.

“You could write a book on what you do know and I could write an encyclopedia on what you do not know,” I replied.

We talked a while longer while the EIT team was working the intelligence. The screens were full of phone numbers and data. The terrorist had indeed thrown their normal caution out of the window. Some calls were 15 minutes long, giving Robert’s team time to fix locations and record the calls.

A VCATS call came in from South Korea, Ching Lee and Vicky were checking in on me again. It was a full room with Jake and Jason.

“We think we have found a building to convert into a dormitory for the men. It is a well built industrial building – three stories with a flat roof – that can be made into an outdoor recreation area. There are ten foot ceilings and is large enough that all forty men can have large accommodations; two rooms with a bath, if you want to spend that kind of money,” Vicky said.

“I have drawn a sketch and will meet with prospective contractors and the governing regulators tomorrow. The way I have it drawn up there will be a buffer of 10 feet on the inside to meet your security requirements. It will be a building inside a building,” Jake said.

“How are you feeling? ZNN has been playing the attack in every cycle; they now have the traffic camera footage, the truck bomb explosion was horrendous. Your Suburban was pushed and rolled twice by the blast,” Jake said.

“The Doc is on his way down. I will know in a few minutes, I’m sore all over, but everything works OK,” I replied.

“While I have everyone here, what is your opinion about promoting Cindy to a Vice President position reporting to Vicky, with all the embassy security administrators reporting Cindy? That will free up Vicky’s time to start visiting embassies and devote more time to special OPS,” I asked.

“I am thinking you have some special plans for the OPS team,” Jenny said.

“You think and I know it,” I replied.

The Doc arrived; Cindy was told to bring him down. No one upstairs knew that I was alive, including Cindy.
After the shock, Marcy offered Cindy the new Vice President position. Mark would be offered a VP position reporting to Ching Lee for the college administrators.

The group followed the Doc and me to the meeting room so he could check me out. As I striped, I started to realize just how sore I was.

“Oh my God,” Jenny said not so softly and then she took a picture of me. I had her take some modesty pictures with my arm across my breast and hand covering my crotch, getting one picture each of my left and right side.
I was horribly black and blue across my abdomen where the lap belt had held me. There was another bruise that went from my pelvis across my breast and over my shoulder from the shoulder belt. Then there was a huge ball sized ugly bruise on my right thigh. The only thing it could have come from was the seat belt latch.

My sides were blue and I wondered what from, then I realized that most accidents are frontal hits that the belt holds. The Suburban had been slid sideways into the guardrail along the guardrail then rolled over several times. Then the violent force of the explosion slamming the body sideways into the seat belts and the roll.

All of this and I was wearing the heavy body armor. What did my men look like who were wearing standard body armor?
“Marcy; I want all the men sent to the Doc’s office tomorrow for complete checkups,” I instructed.

“Complete body MRI’s for all of them and you too,” Doc Burns added.

“Mine is going to have to wait a day or two,” I replied.

It was a long troubled night. I went to bed early after watching ZNN’s continuous coverage and latest speculation. The White House issued a short statement that only fueled the talking heads, “There will be a news conference at 9 AM to update today’s events.”

They were furious! No one would confirm anything for them and the leaky bucket went dry.

Alexandria Williams – our public relations specialist under Ching Lee – made a similar statement to the reporters that had crowed the lobby at 7PM.

“At this time JBG will make no statement on today’s events. Several of BJ’s immediate family are abroad on assignments and are returning home to participate in the crucial decision making processes that are required. We ask that you respect the family privacy.”

I could not get comfortable no matter how much I tried. Over the counter meds did nothing; I finally took some prescription meds. Doc Burns had written out a prescription in Jenny’s name so I would have something for me to take; I hate those kinds of meds.

I was up early – 6AM – and took a long hot shower. Jenny made breakfast for us while I was showering. Today I watched ZNN morning coverage as I was eating. Nothing had changed overnight.

There were interviews with the MSP and Transit Authority who spent their time explaining video in slow motion and discussing the number of dead terrorists and innocent people killed in the accidents and truck bomb. It was laughable when all they were asked was about me.

They could only answer with, “We have no confirmation that Ambassador Jones is deceased, all indicators lead us to believe she is.”

I went over to Robert’s office and listened to the data and calls that had been recorded yesterday afternoon and last night.

One call from the Prince’s satellite phone to the arms supplier was him bragging that he was not going to have to pay out the million dollars because the person had died in the one of the car assault teams.

The calls had dwindled down to a trickle near midnight and ceased all together by 0100. I was tired of hearing individuals patting themselves on the back for the attack on the convoy. The surprise was soon going to be on them.

It was now 1300 in Riyadh, home of the Prince. I was surprised he was not active on his satellite phone. Robert came in and had the same thoughts, even though he had dozens of files with names and numbers for the task force to check out today.

After a brief discussion and planning, we came up with a way to start the calls again.
It was time to light the fire, even if it was sooner than I wanted.

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Chapter 503

Wednesday morning Ed met me in the garage to put me in the heavy vest and walk me to the Suburban.

“Ed, the hair on the back of my neck feels like it is standing on end, not a good sign,” I said.

“I have an itch where I don’t normally have an itch and I haven’t had that since I left the sand box,” he replied.

“Bill said he feels like he was being watched a couple times in the last few days,” Ed said.

“We decided that both Blackhawks are going to make the trip starting today. Both will be flying high,” Ed added.

“When you get back this morning, check in with Robert to see if they have made any progress with the new coding the Prince is using,” I replied.

The trip to 1600 was uneventful and the day so busy I did not think any more about our conversation.

Ed carried the vest inside the White House for me to put on, “Robert said, they are randomly varying the codes in the same transmission; checking with his contacts he thinks it is of Iranian origin and sequencing.”

“That would not be surprising with all the IED’s they had that were Iranian,” I replied.

“That also means that an supposedly trustworthy ally in the Middle East may be on the verge of being flipped, on the verge of civil war or maybe Iran has an arrangement with the Prince,” I said as we were walking out.

The ride home was uneventful until the 301 North intersected route 50; that intersection and ramp was a hi-speed merge into six lanes gradually dropping to three lanes.

The convoy was made up of two Maryland State police cars in the lead, then the four Suburbans, and then two Transit Authority cars bringing up the rear. The convoy was in the hi-speed lane.

From the 301 south ramp four dump trucks merged onto US 50 in the outside slow lanes doing anything but slow. When the convoy started to pass the slower trucks, the trucks steered hard to the left crossing four lanes of traffic. Each truck had taken a Suburban to plow into the side.

Even before the impact the Blackhawk with the mini guns saw what was happening. The pilot started screaming into the radios.

“The convoy is being attacked! We need backup up now at the Bowie 301/ 50 merge.”

What I did not know was that with the three of us being uncomfortable this morning, Ed had changed protocol today. When the convoy was traveling this afternoon, the other two Blackhawks and two Bell 407s were to be in the air over the shore, fully manned with heavily armed security personnel.

They were flying a controlled approach practice to the small Bay Bridge airport where we first started our business as cover for being in the air a couple miles from the Bay Bridge.

The dump trucks hit the Suburbans so hard that it shoved them into the guard rail separating the highway.
With all the armor in the body and the high dump truck bumper, when the chassis came hard against the guard rail, the weight of the dump trucks and momentum sheared the body off and it went over the guard rail into the other west-bound lane of traffic.

The body rolled at least once – possibly more – into the oncoming traffic that I could hear crashing into other cars and Suburban. I was hanging upside down by the seat belts, so was everyone else in the truck. It is impossible to release the seat belt latch with your body weight hanging on it.

Rescue crews have a tool to cut the seat belt but they usually have someone in there to help you get oriented feet down; to have your body weight drive your head and neck into what is now the floor with all the other junk that was now resting on it is not a good thing. It kills you or you run the risk of being a quad.

I was going to grab the seat in front of me with one hand and cut the belt with the other to let me fall on my side.

Just as I was reaching for my knife there was a tremendous explosion that rolled the body one more time and buckled the side. The armor plate on the inside of the side and rear windows had saved me from the one inch thick pieces of flying glass.

I was now back upright in the seat and ready to get out and fight back.

One of the dump trucks had been a truck bomb. They had to know that in a four vehicle convoy, the VIP would be in one of the center two vehicles.

The hand-held aviation company radio was still working and screaming, “Stay in the trucks, stay in the trucks.”

I could hear bullets hitting the Suburban’s body; we were being shot at with semiautomatic rifles. The armor in the body was still intact even after being sheared off the chassis and being rolled at least twice.

Moments later there was a definite change in the gunfire and then all of it stopped. The change had been the Blackhawk with the mini gun. There had been four cars following the dump trucks with fighters to pick off survivors. That was what the first shots were.

The gunner in the Blackhawk had opened fire on the shooters with the mini gun. A few quick burst ended that problem. Traffic was now completely stopped on a major highway in both directions with debris filling the roads.

Ed had been in the front passenger seat, “Is everyone in here OK?” he asked.

“I think my arm is broken,” came from the back, everyone else answered, “OK.”

“BJ stay in here, we will check things outside. Other helicopters from Morton are on their way and should be here in a few minutes. As soon as they get here I will get you in one and get you away from here,” Ed said.

My mind was racing, trying to think how to turn this fiasco into an advantage.

“Ed, if they think I am dead it may lead to a bonanza in communications to our advantage. Work this as if I am dead but make no official statement to that effect,” I said.

I waited while things were checked out. I could hear the helicopters coming in the distance.
I could hear the Blackhawk pilot talking to a news helicopter over the hand held aviation radio lying on the floor on the general frequency, ordering him out of the immediate area. The media helicopter refused.

“You have 10 seconds to clear out of the area or I will order my gunner to shoot off ten inches of your main rotor blades. Your call; ten, nine, eight, seven, six,” the pilot stopped counting so I assumed the news helicopter withdrew a distance.

Ed was directing the JBG helicopters where to land and where the men were to set up security. A Blackhawk and a 407 were directed to land in the highway in front of the stopped traffic in each direction.

Ed , with several of my men assisting, forced open the door enough to crawl in and talk to me. “I have six men hurt.”

“Do they need to be life star or can they go in one of our helicopters?” I asked.

“Two are going to need life star and they are on the way,” Ed replied.

“Put the other four in one of the 407s and send Bill to be the company representative until I get an administrator there,” I instructed.

The news helicopter had pulled back but was still sending video of the aftermath and it was being broadcast. The media also had been listening to 911 call center radio traffic and quickly figured out that it was my convoy that had been attacked.

They were broadcasting what they knew with exaggerations and speculation. What was once one news helicopter was now six. Looking at the carnage and Suburbans, they were speculating I was seriously injured.

Ed and I decided on a plan to get me out of the area with as little risk as possible. No one had any idea if more terrorists were waiting in cars in the traffic jam. A person lying is a lot harder to hit than one walking – for the average shooter – and it would work just fine with the planning.

Ambulances were now filling any space they could get into. Ed sent several men to borrow a striker stretcher from them and a hospital blanket. It was rolled to the door that had now been pried open. Ed quietly informed only the men necessary of the plan.

Then with those men assisting or standing to block as much view as possible, I was pulled out like a rag doll, placed on the stretcher and covered completely with a blanket including my head, playing dead for the media.

Then they openly rolled the stretcher to one of the Blackhawks. I lay on the stretcher completely covered while a couple seats were removed. Then the men slid me off the stretcher onto the floor. As soon as the door closed I was on the phone – the phone to the office. My portable office was placed in with me and three men.

“Jenny, don’t say anything until everyone is out of your office, close the door and then connect me on a conference call with Lorrie and Marcy,”

“BJ, they are saying you are dead on ZNN,” Jenny said.

“That’s the way I want it to stay until tomorrow morning,” I replied.

I filled them in on the plans.

“There are six JBG personnel hurt on the way to AAGH. I will call Vicky and I will be at Morton very soon; I will get out of the helicopter in the hangar and into your Suburban,” I said.

“We don’t know how tight the surveillance is that they are doing. Get a hold of Doc Burns to meet the helicopter; that will make it look like he is there to write a death certificate.”

“Have the Doc call the funeral home he is connected with to send a hearse. We need to make it as real as possible and you know the media will be watching closely.”

I called Vicky and Ching Lee in Korea and filled them in. Then I called the President’s phone that someone else always answers first.

“Troy, get the President somewhere private; do not announce who is on the phone! I need to talk to both of you,” I said.

I talked to the President and then to the security team to plan out tomorrow or the day after, if intelligence gathering was still productive.

All four helicopters took off at the same time. The gunship had stayed airborne; one to AAGH and three to Morton. I left a skeleton crew at the wreck site to account for all the weapons, JBG equipment and the remains of Suburbans that were going to be delivered to the junk pile at Camp Smith.

Ed also tasked the men with taking as many pictures of the terrorists and as many IDs as they could before the police ran them away.

After the change to Marcy’s Suburban in the hangar, she drove into the garage, closed the big door and turned the power to it off.

When we walked into the command center to meet with Robert, ZNN was still broadcasting from the wreck site, only now with land crew and a helicopter, and they were still speculating I was dead. Speculation that was helped by the MSP marking out an outline of my Suburban in the paint to indicate a fatality. MSP did not know I was alive, Ed had told them to make no statements that I was dead. He also told them there was an official blackout on any news or statements about JBG.

I had been right; one of the news helicopters had followed us back to Morton. They had landed and broadcast footage of the Doc and the hearse. They even followed the hearse to the funeral home.

Jenny, Marcy, Lorrie and I stayed in the command center. We were doing a VCATS with Vicky and the rest of my family that was in Korea.

All fifteen members of Robert’s team were busy. The Prince’s phone and dozens more from the group went active. The Prince even made a conference call to a dozen phones in the US that we did not know about until now.
Marcy answered a call from the lobby attendant, “Send them down, we are in the command center,” she replied.
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Chapter 502

Happy New Year.

I was going to have one busy week when I returned to Washington; Tuesday was the first of the many Senate hearings that I needed to testify to. The email had an attachment with prospective questions. That was something I had never been sent before testifying.

That was only one of the three Congressional hearings for the week where I needed to appear and testify. There were three more the following week.

Balthazar Khamini was still among the missing but the noose was closing. There had been several more sightings in the area. He had been back to the Gas and Go twice more, like it was a normal stop in his travels. He had paid cash each time. The email stated that the FBI had installed all new high quality cameras and they were being closely watched.

Vicky scheduled the new staff for the South Korean embassy. Ching Lee, Jason and Jake were going to make trip with her. The first swap was going to keep the staffing at current levels, while additional housing was acquired for the planned expansion of the security group there.

The employees there were not going to be told they were coming back to the main office for a month until after Vicky was there. According to their personnel records there were no wives, concubines or other women in Korea with them as spouses.

They were going to be interviewed in depth, go through the weapons training and given updates on all the new procedures. Then they would get a couple weeks off before shipping back with the additional men, if the housing problem had been corrected.

Jake and Jason were going to help deal with location and the fiasco that was called the Korean real estate system. On the return trip they were going to stop over in Tokyo; Ching Lee and Vicky wanted to do some sightseeing and Jake needed to meet with officials there to finalize the final payments on the nuclear power plant meltdown cleanup.

Another email that was sent to both Vicky and me from Frank and Victor detailed the woes of Baines. Hammond Baines had been brought back to Washington in handcuffs. The things he had been printing off before his forays into the Seoul night life were highly classified.

Of course he was given a lawyer immediately. The agencies would be ten years and still not know everything he had given away to our potential enemies or who his contact people were. Over the last few months alone he had printed out thousands of pages. It was unknown how much more was loaded on thumb drives.

Every comment he made would be in exchange for a better sentencing deal. Then there would be the point at which he started lying to gain a better deal. One thing was for sure, he would not be making any trips to Camp Smith.

Clayton Albright had lost all of his clearances, and upon his release from the hospital was going to answer a lot of questions. Someone with real rank was going to decide if he was going to be able to quietly retire with benefits or go to jail with none of the above.

Another meeting that was flagged as important and mandatory was with the NIA (National Intelligence Agency) at the White House on Monday morning. The big dogs were wanting to know what I knew about Korea; the how and when.

They were already headhunting to find a scapegoat to cover high level asses for the Hammond Baines affair. It sounded almost like a possible movie title to me.

By the time I had finished looking at just the important things, we were in the landing pattern at Morton Field. It was back to the heavy security again. There had been another threat called in while we were gone; it came in from another burn phone.

“If you think all that heavy security will save you from Allah’s fury you are mistaken. Your days of living are numbered, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye. It’s coming sooner than you think.”

The context was different and there was none of the factual information that was contained in the other group of messages. The tower pings indicated that the call came from one of the big liberal California universities with thousands of international students. It was generally considered to be a hoax copycat call.

I departed the G5 to step into the heavy vest, even though federal officials considered the call a hoax; Ed and Bill were taking no chances. In public I would be wearing the heavy vest if JBG was supplying the security.

The good thing was it was freaking cold on the tarmac at Morton after four days in the mid eighties in Florida and that wraparound vest was warm.

We spent the rest of Friday in our offices, and finished out the day with our extended business meeting. Saturday we would spend the day getting ready for the first Ball at the German embassy.

At our meeting I found out that Cindy and Susie Q had contacted Julie Harris – the hair dresser we normally used – to come to the house to eliminate the security fiasco that would have happened if we had gone to her shop.

They had gone to her shop and made a list of every single item she needed and either purchased it from her or ordered all of the remainder on Monday.

One of the upstairs spare rooms was now our private hair salon. It made me angry to have to do things this way, but in the end it was the best way. With the Horsey House hotel and the crash pad hotel at Morton, we no longer used the rooms except for house guests.

Crash was still in one room when he was not over to Marlene’s. Crash still loved to fly and did often, if there was an empty seat. He spent a lot of time at Morton in the shops and the restaurant telling war stories about the bombing raids over Europe and Japan with the pilots and drinking coffee.

Crash had lost everything in the house fire when his nephews tried to kill him. The exception was all his memorabilia from the war. It had been in his falling down hangar including several large photo albums from his years as a pilot in the Army Air Corp. Crash had chosen dozens of pictures from those albums, they were copied and hung on the wall beside his crop duster on display.

We had intended to have an air show at Morton but things did not work out with all the things we were involved in; time just got away from us and the summer was gone.

It was going to happen next summer. Lorrie and Robbie were already working quietly on putting it together. We were going to have a reunion of the survivors of his bomber groups and fly in of some of the aircraft of the war. While they were scarce, there were still a few in flying condition.

I spent an hour with Robert and the EIT team. They had been working a week on tracking Crown Prince Sultan al-Zahab, Prince Abdulraouf al-Zahab and Abu Barazan.

“We have been working with all the emails off all the captured computers you brought to us. It has been slow but we are making progress.”

Saturday afternoon was spent getting ready for the ball. The ball was a blast; it was one time that all six of us girls were dressed to the nines and had elegant dancing partners, even if we were paying them to guard over us. We danced to everything the band played.

And then there was Rachael at fifteen; she put all of us to shame in the beauty department. She could have easily passed for eighteen or twenty-one and she had been practicing her dancing as well.

This New Years ball was a family affair that included teens. There were several young men who took every chance to dance, especially with Rachael, and any dance that required any physical contact. She was hit on for every slow dance.

The embassy photographers were everywhere, and as usual the participant received a thumb drive of the pictures and the German embassy would publish many of them on their web page as a major social event.

Rachael would have plenty to contribute to her foreign studies class on Tuesday.

Monday started the Washington merry-go-round again; heavy security, heavy vest and hours in the hot seat, first at the NIS meeting and then testifying before the congressional committees.

Vicky, Ching Lee, Jason and Jake plus 20 new members of the security team left for Korea.
Monday night, Robert wanted to see me before he left for the day.

“They started today using new communications methods and phone numbers. They have changed their encryption and it is going to take us a few days to break it. There is a lot of traffic using it in the Washington area,” he said.
“Do the best you can do and keep me informed,” was the best reply I could give.

Tuesday was no different; more time on the hill and more meetings, just more of everything. I was going to be glad when my six months was up on this jig. There were too many politicians, too much double talk and too much media demand for access.

Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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