[Copyright (c) 2012, John V. Tieso. All Rights Reserved]
Lisbon, Portugal. Amid walked out into the cool morning air from the lobby of the Hotel Solar do Castelo for the first time since he had checked in the day before. This time, the bellman was behind him with several valises, and the doorman was waving for a taxi to enter the drive at the front door of the hotel.
The taxi, a four-door, white-colored Mercedes-Benz, was immaculately clean, and appeared new, or at least a late model. The driver had barely stopped at the curb before he was out of the car and headed toward the bellman, and his passenger. Just as quickly, the bellman placed the luggage in the trunk, and advised the driver that the gentleman was going to Oriente Station, the main train facility in Lisbon, and his connection to the overnight Die Bahn train later that morning.
Bags packed in, Amid entered the cab and it drove off at high speed toward the train station, about 10 minutes away.
Sitting nearby on a bench at the left of the doorway to the hotel was a small man, dressed informally like a tourist, and wearing a Boston Red Sox baseball cap. A small travel bag was at his side, and, attached to it a small camera.
The man was reading the English morning edition of the International Tribune that he could have purchased at the small shop in the hotel lobby. Beside him was a small cup and saucer that might have held espresso.
The man stopped reading and looked up toward the taxi as it screeched to a stop, and the entourage surrounding Amid came out from the hotel lobby. He shook his head slightly as he watched the loading of the luggage. Then, after Amid entered the taxi, the man went back to reading his paper. He continued to do so, as the taxi lurched forward quickly into the main stream of traffic as it headed away from the hotel and toward Oriente Station.
Attached to the camera on the bag was a small and unobtrusive, but powerful, listening device. That device recorded all of the conversation that passed between Amid and the bellman, as well as the instructions to the taxi driver.
As they spoke, two men in automobiles on Rua Das Cosinhas, the main street outside the hotel, were monitoring the conversation. One faced in each direction, so that no matter what turn the driver made, he could be followed easily without arousing any suspicion that he was being followed.
When the taxi turned right, on Cosinhas, to head toward the station, another car down a short distance on the block from the hotel pulled into traffic behind the taxi, maintaining a discreet distance behind the taxicab.
The driver in the other direction, no longer needed, simply pulled away into traffic, and was soon a part of the growing early traffic jams that characterize downtown Lisbon. Eventually, he would replace the car that currently followed the taxi, perhaps a couple of miles down the road on the way to Oriente. He would do so by driving a wide arc around the intended path of the taxi until he was, again, behind the taxi. That way, they hoped to remain anonymous as each car in turn following the taxi to its destination.
Several minutes later, the taxi pulled up in front of Oriente Station where Amid got out. The taxi driver followed him quickly, but not quickly enough to open the taxi door for him. The driver waved for a porter to take his passenger’s bags, and when the porter arrived with his cart, the bags were quickly loaded.
Amid paid the taxi driver, gave him a large tip, and turned so that he and the porter could enter the station. The man in the car, which had followed Amid to the station, spoke into a small microphone he carried in his lapel to report that the suspect had arrived at Oriente and was entering the station. Having completed his mission, the driver simply drove off into the morning traffic.
Oriente Station is a major attraction in Lisbon. It houses the Lisbon Metro, bus links, many shops in its concourse, and a major railway station that links the city with the rest of Europe. Also under construction is a major light rail service to Lisbon Airport. The station has high vaulted ceilings overhead both the station itself, and the metro tracks, all done in Aluminum shining brightly in the day sky. Virtually anyone coming or going in Lisbon goes through Oriente Station at some point in their travels.
Inside, Amid walked through the concourse, followed by the porter. The two entered into that portion of Oriente used as a railway station, where Amid looked at the huge information board listing the various trains and departure times. He located the gate number for his departing train on Die Bahn, and pointed it out to the porter, who then started toward that gate with the luggage. Amid walked back toward the bookshop in the concourse of the station.
The porter located the first class section of the correct train, and soon found an empty compartment. There he stowed the luggage for his passenger and turned the door sign to show that the passenger cabin was occupied. He then spoke into a small microphone hidden in his lapel similar to the one that the driver of the car tailing Amid had used, and gave the location of the car and the compartment number. Then, he returned to the concourse, but did not find Amid.
Amid entered the bookshop, purchased a paper, and went over to the ticket area. He looked at the arrivals and departures board, as if trying to decide on another train. Finally, he turned and started back to the bookshop, where he found the porter looking frantically for him.
“Senor, I was worried that I would not find you, to give you the location of your car, and the compartment where I placed your luggage.”
“Have no worry. I went to buy a book and paper for the train, and walked a bit. Here I am, and everything is all right. We have plenty of time before the train leaves.”
The porter handed Amid the tickets and luggage stubs. He told Amid the compartment number as well. Amid, in turn, gave him a tip for his efforts.
“Thank you, senor. This is very kind. Almost too much for my small service.” He smiled, and Amid waved him away. Then Amid turned and started toward the departure area for the trains. The porter went back to his station, to assist the next customer.
Two other men now began to watch Amid’s movements as he proceeded toward the train. One, standing with others along a wall, was reading the Economist and smoking a cigarette. The other was just to the left of the forward door of the car which contained Amid’s luggage. This man was dressed as a trainman, and stood with a small stool placed to assist passengers in entering the train. He stayed at that position as Amid approached.
“Car twenty-seven, senor. First class only.” Amid nodded, and stepped up to the first step of the train. As he entered the car, the man, who had been reading the Economist along the wall, left the place where he was standing and slowly walked toward the steps of the next car, where another trainman waited for his passengers.
Amid walked the length of the first class car until he found compartment five, near the opposite end, where his luggage waited. The porter had done well. Two of the valises were stowed on the upper rack while the other, smaller one, he placed on the seat. Since Amid was to be the only passenger in this compartment, he could relax a bit more than usual. He took a seat and began to look at the system timetable as the trainman walked by the window, calling out that boarding was starting for the night train to Berlin.
The man who had been reading the Economist walked through the car he had entered, and crossed to the first class car where Amid had boarded, and walked the length of the car until he found compartment six. This compartment, across from Amid, was also a single person cabin, and he too settled in to relax on the long journey ahead.
When loading of passengers and other necessities was complete, the trainman picked up his small stool and entered the end of the First Class car, where he had a small compartment for the trip. Others along the length of the train did the same. The trainman’s compartment was only three doors from Amid, compartment number nine, on the same side of the train. Today the trainman had volunteered for an extra shift would travel all the way to Berlin. In this way, the trainman could easily see if Amid decided to get off the train at some station before his expected destination.
New Orleans Police Department. Kehane was at the boiling point when he left the meeting with the Deputy Chief. Who the hell do these FBI agents think they are he asked himself. We’re the police department here, not them. They should be responding to us, not us dancing on their string. Coming out of the building to go to his car, he pushed the swinging door so hard that it hit someone in the face. He didn’t even look back as he heard the screaming.
Just moments before, the Deputy Chief indicated he wanted to see him, and Kehane walked down the corridor from his own office to the Chief's.
“You need to see me chief?” he asked.
“I do, Kehane. I just handled a call from Fred Ledwith at FBI. What’s this about manhandling one of their agents—especially one here on leave? Are you crazy? What do you think you gain by these fights with the Feds? You don’t make it any easier for us as a Department. It stops, and NOW, or I will stop you. Understand?” It was clear that the chief was unhappy.
“Chief, these punks think…”
“Kehane, what’s the real problem here? These guys are as good as any of your people, and the guy you hassled yesterday was a key player in solving a major international case. They are not punks, they are professionals; you need to act like one as well.”
“But chief, this is my investigation. They are supposed to be supporting us, and not telling us what to do.”
“Didn’t sound to me like Fred Ledwith was trying to tell us anything—other than cooperation might be difficult in the future if you are going to act like a damned fool every time you need them to work with us.”
“You screamed down a small street, light blinking, and stopped in front of his hotel, yelling at him, and in front of his wife. He is going to be interviewed on Wednesday—at FBI instead of here. And by the way, Ledwith has already told me that if any more manhandling occurs, he will go to the Chief and you’re going to be out of here. Chief gets involved, you are out, and you are on suspension. Got it?”
“Right, Chief.” Kehane was resigned to ending the conversation since it was obvious that the chief had already made up his mind.
“Good, now get out of here before I really get mad.” The officer went back to his papers and Kehane walked out of the office, red-faced, and with his emotions at fever pitch.
“That bastard,” Kehane yelled as he entered his car and turned the key.
Waterfront. New Orleans. Gillespie and his wife Alicia could see the paddle wheeler Creole Queen looming ahead as they reached the end of Decatur Street and turned left down Canal St. toward the waterfront. The ship, a three-decked stern paddle wheeler, was magnificent; painted white, with dual large-sized smoke stacks, it was more than even the description in the pamphlet they had picked up at the hotel described, and they were pleased they would be spending the day on it.
They crossed South Peters, which joined Canal at that point, and walked to the River walk where the ship was moored. At the booth, Gillespie handed in the tickets they had purchased the day before for their trip to the Chalmette Battlefield where the final battle of the War of 1812 had occurred in 1815. Then they waited patiently on a small bench for the OK to go aboard for their cruise.
The brochure that Alicia picked up yesterday said that ship would leave at 1:30 PM, for a four-hour cruise along the river, up to Chalmette, where they could disembark to see the battlefield at the Lafitte National Historical Park before returning to the Riverwalk in late afternoon. That was fine for them. They had not been on a paddle wheeler before, and they hoped a relaxing afternoon might be good for both of them.
Alicia knew that Robert was worried about the death of the guy named Galanto. She could tell that he might have to be involved, and she hoped that would not be the case. This was their first vacation in a long time, and she wanted it to continue for the whole five days.
Robert too, was concerned, but for Alicia. He knew that he could say little to reduce her fears—and he knew that she was feeling fear right now, after the discussions last evening, and being faced with the New Orleans detective. He wasn’t sure what he could say that would be calming, only that he had no intention of getting further involved. However, he also knew that she didn’t believe him for a minute. Gillespie was a professional, and if this investigation required his involvement, then the chances of him staying out were non-existent.
For now, they both decided—without telling the other—that today would be a good, relaxing day, and they would take other things as they came, starting tomorrow. For today, they only had to worry about each other.
Onboard the DB Bahn, Portugal. The train was moving very fast and staying on schedule. Only minutes before it had passed the Coimbra-B Station, and was speeding its way along the Portuguese mainland, headed toward Spain. The sky started to darken, and the evening was rapidly approaching.
Things were quiet in Amid’s First Class cabin. He had read the papers he bought at the bookstore, and part of the book he purchased as well, and was now simply looking out at the landscape as the afternoon sun gradually gave way to a darker evening sky. Now, it was time to make some calls, and let others know that he was safe. The first call would be to his boss Amoud Fatool.
Amid had been associated with Fatool since the early days in Libya, when they were both objects of intense political interest, but for different reasons. Fatool was a member of the Wilson gang that had been organized to sell drugs and arms throughout Europe, especially to those groups that were opposed to the United States and Israel.
For that reason, he was well protected in Libya, since there were no extradition treaties, and, even if there were Libya was so isolated from the rest of the western world that the thought of extradition for anyone that Khadafy protected was ridiculous.
However, Amid had come to Libya a wanted man—an eighteen-year old exile from what had been the Palestinian area of what was now Israel. He had killed four soldiers that assaulted his father in a public square in Nablus. His father was a merchant, and a cripple with a withered right leg, who could harm no one.
However, one day some Israeli troops came through and decided to feast on the fruit at the stand he had in the local market in Nablus. When his father protested, the soldiers beat him and pushed him off the stool that he used to greet his customers to the ground. He was unable to get up.
Amid saw the event from down the street, and rushed back to the stand, where he tried to help his father get away from the attacking soldiers. One of the Israeli soldiers continued to kick his father on the ground, pushed Amid away, and Amid went wild. He grabbed the soldier, took the weapon, an Uzi sub-machine gun from his neck, strangling the soldier that had been kicking his father, and then sprayed the other soldiers with bullets from the gun he had taken from the first soldier. The other soldiers died in the gunfire, and the one held by Amid choked to death in his grasp.
When he realized that the soldier was lifeless, Amid released him, and the soldier fell to the ground. While others in the marketplace helped his father, Amid ran away into the crowd that populated the marketplace. Over the next two days he escaped across the border to Jordan and then into Libya. He found out afterwards that the Israelis had hung his father as a lesson, and Amid vowed eternal vengeance against the Israelis.
Later, he joined Fatool in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, eventually becoming his assistant and confidant, and followed him to Libya where he became the keeper of records of al-Nur-al-Muhammad, the Light of Muhammad faction of the Brotherhood, whose supreme leader was Muammar Khadafy, the leader of Libya.
Over the years that followed, Amid took every opportunity, once he found out who they were, to murder each of the six soldiers who hanged his father, including two by hanging—as a sign of vengeance. It took several years, and eventually he stopped, after he had killed the last of the soldiers, a sergeant who had been in charge that day in Nablus.
Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Service, never identified Amid by name, although they did know there was a soldier killer, identified with the invasion of Nablus, and they would never stop in their attempts to identify him. To this day, the record of the killings of the soldiers by a Palestinian is considered an open case in Israel. His membership in the Brotherhood provided a means of protection and security against his apprehension, as long as he was never again associated with the killing of soldiers.
U.S. Embassy Lisbon. Bernie Minihan sat in his now mostly empty office alone, except for his assistant Yvonne, who had stayed late in case he needed anything on his last day in Lisbon. She knew that he had a flight just before midnight that would take him to the United States, and that this would be her last day with him. They had gone through the office together, packing those things that needed to be sent to Langley, and preparing for storage those items that were part of the Embassy archives. A good deal of material was destroyed, since it fit in neither category, and might prove inappropriate for simple trash disposal.
Yvonne, a striking woman of about 50 years, was well regarded in the Agency as a conservative thinker, careful preparer of activities and reports, and sought out for her knowledge and insights about the local community where she had worked for over 20 years. She was sincerely upset about this latest change in ‘her charges’ as she called them. She considered Bernie among the best that had served there during her years, and she knew that he would be missed.
Bernie sat in the easy chair in his office and thought about the first days after he had been told that Lisbon would be his next assignment. He was in Langley when the announcement was made, and he sat with his immediate boss Rex Ramsey, and the then Deputy Director of Mideast Operations—to discuss the move. Rex would later replace the Director MidOPs, while still staying as Bernie’s boss—that was the real importance of the Lisbon billet.
“Bernie, you have immense potential,” started Rex, “This past assignment in Istanbul was complex, but not well-organized or supervised. I take a good part of the blame for that.”
“We did not anticipate either the official or unofficial reactions of the Turkish Government to what we would normally consider standard procedures. We didn’t—particularly me—respond fast enough to prevent what became a messy incident. The Agency agrees with that assessment, and you are going to an assignment that any field officer would consider very important. You deserve it; I’m happy for you, and I’m glad that it means you stay in my directorate.”
“Thanks Rex, but.”
“Let me add something,” interrupted the Director of Ops, “Rex is right, Bernie. You need to put Istanbul behind you, and look forward to your new assignment. We tagged that position as the regional head of the Interagency Terrorism Task Force against a lot of opposition from the FBI, and others. We won because we could show that a senior field officer with a lot of ‘street smarts’ in this area would be in that position. You are now in that position. Do good things, and make us proud.”
“Gentlemen,’ responded Bernie, “It is obvious that I will not make the case for someone else going to Lisbon. I have never said no to the agency in nearly 20 years, and I won’t do it now. At the same time, I want you to know that you are sending a very irregular person to fill a large set of shoes. I hope you really do know what you are doing sending me to replace Joe Black. I have no earthly idea why you think I have even a few of his qualifications.” Bernie sat back in the chair, and sipped his coffee.
“I selected you, and I will stand by my decision, Bernie. Joe would be proud to look down and see that you are going in for him. His heart attack and subsequent death left us all stunned as we raced to find a successor that could fill his shoes. We believe you are that person.”
“Go to Lisbon and do what you know how to do. That’s all I ask,” responded Rex in his most fatherly way. No more was said, and Bernie went to Lisbon. The agency was pleased, and he did a good job. Now, it was time to return to Langley to do something else. Bernie was just as anxious about the new assignment as he had been about the move to Lisbon.
Pop, thought Bernie to himself, here I am again. A new situation and a new dilemma. What do I do? In his heart, he heard the answer—Go do what they tell you to do, and do it well. Make me proud as you always have, his long-deceased father told him in his heart.
Bernie felt he confided in his father often. He truly missed his father’s advice and counsel; even after his death, while Bernie was still in school, his thoughts would be toward what his father might think he would do. Bernie had never been disappointed. He was not going to be disappointed now.
Bernie got up from his desk, and started toward the door to his office, turning off the light as he emerged into the outer office space.
“Yvonne, everything is done, and it’s time to leave.”
“I will miss you, Bernie Minihan,’ she responded, as she walked over and gave him a hug. “ Go home, and marry Sarah. She’s waited long enough.” Yvonne had tears in her eyes, as Bernie walked through the door, and down to the driveway at the Embassy door, where a car waited to take him to the airport.
Waterfront. New Orleans. Gillespie could feel the cell phone buzzing in his pocket. He didn’t really want to answer it, since he and Alicia had been having such a wonderful day, seeing the sights of the river from the paddle wheeler as they neared Chalmette. However, he knew he had to take it, and he had a pretty good idea who it might be.
Taking the phone from his pocket, and looking at the number, he opened the phone cover, and said, “Yes, Jim. I’m here.”
“Sorry to bother you Bob, but I thought a quick call, and an offer to pick you up in the morning might be easier than you trying to find the office in rush hour traffic.”
“Good idea, Jim. What time do you want me to be in front of the hotel?”
“How about eight?”
“That’s fine. See you at eight.”
“Have a good evening, Bob. See you in the morning.”
“Will do. Thanks for the call.” Gillespie closed his phone, ending the call, and looked over at Alicia, who was waiting to hear about the call. He wondered what he would say.
NAS Pensacola, FL. Captain Hershman paced the room as he heard the briefing on the Emden Crown.
“Sir,’ said the briefer, “We have been exhaustively reviewing and analyzing the scans from the Emden Crown over the past thirty-six hours, and we have tried several different ways to get a good determination on what might be happening on that ship. We even sent out Spirit-two, the more advanced EC to do some additional scans before we set up the briefing.”
“All right, man,” responded Hershman, “What do you have to tell me?”
“Sir, we are still not completely sure, but we think that there is some form of radiation in hold number two on that ship that should not be there. It may be in the tank walls; and it might be nothing more than a watch, or something similar that was left inadvertently during the last set of repairs. The problem we see is that whatever it might be is co-located within an LNG pod. The natural gas is allowing it to perfuse at a very slow rate. I want to emphasize that we do not believe, at this point, there is a danger from this ship. We only know that something is happening in hold number two, probably involving some form of radiation.”
“What do I do next, then?” responded Hershman.
“For lack of any other evidence, we believe this ship should be considered a class two danger—higher than normal, but not yet serious, and that the normal procedures for dangerous cargoes should be started.
“Get me Joint Forces Command,” responded Hershman. “I want to speak to the J-2 right now.”
“Aye, Aye, Sir,” responded the yeoman in the room. He picked up the red STU-3 secure phone and told the operator he needed to speak to Norfolk, and the priority was urgent. She put him through immediately.
“Captain Shindler, please,” asked Hershman. “Jeff, this is Hershman. I have a ship in the Southeastern Atlantic, bearing out of Nigeria, with a bad shadow on its scan.”
“OK, what do you have for info?”
“The ship is the Emden Crown, bound from Port Harcourt, Nigeria to New Orleans, with a load of natural gas. We have done four scans, with a widening profusion in the central hold, unknown origin, but assumed to be radiation, and undetermined potential. Spectrum analysis confirms the radiation. We don’t know the exact form, and it appears to be a small sample. What do you want us to do?”
“Notify Joint-Navy Norfolk of the potential problem. Provide all information to them, and be prepared to assist in further scanning and surveillance. We will confirm that they are the lead operational headquarters should further action be required. We take responsibility at 1441 hours, this date. Confirm.”
“Pensacola confirms transfer of responsibility at 1441 hours. Two EC-3s will be on the tarmac for further missions at your direction. Hershman.”
“Ok Dave,” Shindler replied to Hershman, “Now that the formalities are over, what do we really have?”
“Wish I knew Jeff. The scans are really not very distinct. I attribute that to the large cargo of gas. It’s just too early to get concerned very much. If it is something small, then the profusion will dissipate, and it becomes nothing. Wish I had a better answer, but I don’t.”
“Appreciate the heads up, though,” Shindler responded, “Better we start watching and monitoring at an increased level than have a real problem later. Use your discretion on this, but keep us and Norfolk in the loop. Back to you later, Dave.”
“OK, out here.”
When Captain Shindler hung up the phone, he called a meeting of his J-2 staff two hours later, with the intelligence senior staff, to review the documentation that was rapidly arriving from CENTCOM at Pensacola. He included Hershman to ensure that CENTCOM intelligence continued any required monitoring. Over the next hour, they jointly developed a plan for further scanning and monitoring, just in case a problem developed.
Hotel St. Louis. New Orleans. Agent O’Neill pulled up in front of the Hotel St. Louis just before the time he had agreed to meet with Robert Gillespie. O’Neill parked across the street from the entrance, just behind another car he assumed to be a rental that the doorman had brought to the front of the hotel, as was the custom on in the Quarter. He opened the front door, and climbed out of the car as he saw Gillespie emerge from the hotel.
“Bob, over here,” shouted O’Neill.
Just then, out of the lobby from another direction came Detective Kehane. Gillespie turned to see who had come through the hotel door after him.
“Agent Gillespie,” said Kehane, “I need you to come with me to Police headquarters. You are a material witness to a murder in this city.” Both Gillespie and O’Neill stood there amazed.
“Are you for real, Kehane?” O’Neill shouted as he crossed the street.
“Very much so,” responded Kehane. “I have an obligation to the city, and he goes to our headquarters.”
“It’s OK, Jim. I’ll deal with it,” responded Gillespie to O’Neill.
“Gillespie and Kehane went over to Kehane’s car, and entered it, driving away shortly thereafter. O’Neill took out his cell phone, and called Fred Ledwith.
“Sir, Kehane was at the hotel, and arrested Bob Gillespie as a material witness. Said he was taking him to NOPD headquarters.”
“Get to the NOPD headquarters yourself, Jim. I’ll call the chief.”
“Thanks, sir. On my way.”
Ledwith called the Chief of Police, and raised hell again over the treatment of a senior member of the FBI Staff. The chief shared his concern, and said he would meet Kehane and Gillespie at the door when they arrived. It would not be a pleasant scene.
O’Neill arrived at NOPD Headquarters at Broad Street within minutes, and parked in the visitor area. He took the elevator to the main floor, and, as he exited the elevator, the chief was standing in the corridor.
“Chief, have they arrived yet?”
“No, O’Neill, they haven’t. However, they should have, by now. This whole mess concerns me. Kehane has had a burr under his britches for the last few days, and it seems to be causing him to do stupid things. That’s not like him, even if he does have his own views on working with you Feds.”
“But, that’s my problem not yours, although it sure seems like you are getting involved today anyway.” The chief looked toward the front door, and saw Kehane coming in with his hand on the arm of Robert Gillespie.
“Kehane, what is going on here?”
“Just bringing in my witness, chief. Just doing my job. That’s all.”
“You have gone far beyond that, Kehane. Agent Gillespie, I’m sorry that you have been subjected to this treatment. You are of course free to go and this officer will not bother you again.”
He stopped his statement as he heard a commotion in the main lobby as a number of people entered. Looking over, he saw both Fred Ledwith and the U. S. Attorney enter the lobby, along with a small coterie of staff.
“Chief,” said the U.S. Attorney. This investigation is now a Federal investigation, and the FBI is designated as the lead agency, by order of the Attorney General, and a writ from the Special Intelligence Court of the United States. You will release Agent Gillespie immediately, and call off your officers. They have no further function here.” He looked specifically at Kehane as he made the last statement.
“Someone want to tell me what is happening here?” asked the chief.
“Happy to, chief,” answered Fred Ledwith. “Shall we go to your office, and discuss it in private? We have a lot more to talk about than the situation with Kehane.”
“Let’s go, Fred. This is becoming very confusing. As I started to say to Agent Gillespie as you men were arriving, I want to apologize to Agent Gillespie for the treatment he received at the hands of this officer. I can assure you it will not happen again.”
He extended his hand to Robert Gillespie, who reciprocated in a solid handshake. Then, he turned to Kehane.
“You will be in my office in an hour. At that time, we will discuss your suspension from this force, Officer Kehane.” His use of the word ‘officer’ was not lost on the detective.
“Gentlemen, would you join me in my office?”
“Happy to,” responded the U. S. Attorney.
“Bob, you better come along, and hear what we now know,” added Agent Ledwith.
“Love to, Fred.” Gillespie joined the group, as they left Kehane standing alone in the lobby looking dumbfounded, and went to the second floor offices of the Chief of Police.
Dulles Airport, Virginia. The United Airways jet came in low over the fields that surround the Dulles International Airport in suburban Virginia, and touched ground on the south-to-north approach runway—one of the longest at the airport.
This runway can accommodate the largest of jets, and had been used for many years for the old Supersonic Transport jets, the SST’s, built by Air France to enable shorter runs across the Atlantic Ocean, between Europe and the US and other overseas locations.
While the SSTs were now gone, the larger trans-continental jets were well known for their amenities, even in coach class, and made the trip across the Atlantic less time-consuming and uncomfortable.
United Flight 305 was a DC 10 direct flight from Lisbon headed for Washington DC, with a further stop at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois. As was usual these days, it was fully loaded with both passengers and cargo and, as it touched down heavily on the runway, it jerked a second as it stabilized and slowed down to taxi to its arrival station.
The plane came to a stop at its usual position at gate D7 and the jet way was quickly extended to allow the passengers to deplane. These overnight flights did not always result in rapid deplaning, since many of the flight patrons were asleep during most of the transoceanic leg of the flight.
This evening was no different, although a number did move quickly to exit the place—among them Bernie Minihan, the passenger in seat 6-B.
Bernie picked up his magazine, and rose to open the overhead compartment that held his travel bag, and his overcoat. Removing the small bag, he put his magazine in a side pocket, put on his overcoat, and prepared to go down the short length of aisle that would take him to the jet way.
As he turned to the door, he could see the jet way ahead, and standing in the well of the jet way was Sarah.
“How did you get down here?” asked Bernie, as he hugged his fiancé, and kissed her.
“Sometimes, it pays to get pushy, and tell them you are important,” responded Sarah. “I simply told the TSA punks that I was on official business. They had no idea what to do, so they let me through. Probably were afraid not to when they saw CIA on the credentials.”
“I’m glad you’re here. Rex said you might come to meet me. Let’s go get my luggage, and get out of here. I have a hotel reservation in McLean.”
“I know, but you aren’t going there. You are going home with me, and we will worry about getting to the Agency in the morning.”
“Sounds good to me. No complaints here,” Bernie responded, as he put his hand around her waist. They walked together down the jet way, and out into the concourse that would take them out of the airport.
United Stated Central Command, FL. For two hours, after the call from Norfolk, Central Command had been poring over the information it had received from the first two sets of scans, hoping to clarify their understanding of what may be on the ship in Hold Number 2. The scans from Emden Crown were inconclusive, or at least non-conclusive, but they were serious enough that the intelligence staff was concerned. That concern raised the threshold for the entire command.
The Pensacola EC-3 Squadron was ordered to conduct additional sightings over the evening and nighttime hours, with three different EC-3’s, from fixed angles. By the time the last of the sighting and scans information arrived back at Central Command, the command knew what it had to do.
The message traffic between Florida, and Joint Forces Command in Norfolk was instantaneous.
COMMANDER UNITED STATES JOINT FORCES COMMAND
FROM COMMANDER UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
SUBJECT: POTENTIAL HAZARD TO SHIPPING AND SECURITY
Ship identified by NAS Pensacola, EMDEN CROWN, bound from Nigeria to New Orleans. Location is 9 degrees 12 minutes west longitude, 12 degrees, 16 min north latitude. Ship may possess hazardous substances, leaking into liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo. Recommend interdiction, and boarding outside expected New Orleans zone destination to determine extent of problem. Recommend designation of Task Force Command and small staff to Support New Orleans Fusion Center (NOFC) supported by CO, USCG Sector, New Orleans.
EMDEN CROWN last sighted leaving Gulf of Guinea, and into open ocean. Determination to be made on point of interdiction, and boarding.
CF: IATTF (Langley); DIR FBI (SpecOPS); US DHS (Drug Interdiction); US DHS CMDT USCG; CO, NOSC; COMLANTFLT
The results were equally expeditious. The Director, FBI, ordered that the Agent-in-Charge, New Orleans Field Office, notify the United States Attorney of the potential threat, and determine Federal jurisdiction. That request came at the same time as the interaction between the NOPD and the local FBI office.
The decision on the part of Fred Ledwith was not hard to determine in either circumstance; neither was the view of the US Attorney. The possibility of a tanker arriving with a hazardous substance, still unknown, was enough to get the FBI involved, and the instability of the port as a result of a mysterious murder also seemed to cry out for Federal intervention.
A call was made to Washington to the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, and concurrence reached on asking the Federal Court for a writ supporting the Federal investigation under the Patriot Act.
Within an hour, the US Attorney’s Office had requested the determination from The Special Intelligence Court on the advisability of asserting Federal jurisdiction, since this had the earmarks of a potential terrorist plot.
With the opinion of the senior judge of the court, the FBI notified DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that it would assume jurisdiction of all current investigations involving waterfront activities in the Port of New Orleans. DHS requested that notification to the New Orleans authorities be delayed until the following morning, in order to coordinate with the ODNI on next steps. The Federal case had begun, leading to the events occurring shortly thereafter at the NOPD.
Office of the Chief of Police, New Orleans. The chief, Fred Ledwith, and the US Attorney marched into the office on the second floor of the NOPD headquarters building. None of the three was particularly happy. A moment later, Agents Gillespie and O’Neill followed them into the offices. The chief sat down at a chair near the middle of a conference table in his office, and asked the others to join him.
“Ok, theatrics are over. What do we have here Fred?” the Chief asked in a very calm and collected manner.
“Chief, there seems to be two separate, but inter-connected issues here that are causing Federal intervention. Let me start by saying that we generally defer to your office on matters that could involve Federal issues, and let you and your staff sort them out. We normally give you what assistance you request as needed. That effort has worked well and we want it to continue.”
“So, now we have the Galanto killing coming up. That by itself is not a problem for us. However, we have another, even more significant problem that complicates this.
There is an LNG tanker coming into the Mississippi River Delta over the next several days that appears to have a significant problem. It has been watched since it left Bonny Island, Port Harcourt, Nigeria two days ago. Scanning by high-level aircraft shows patterns of perfusion—leakage—in one hold of the LNG tanker.
We don’t know yet what it is, and we won’t be able to interdict it for another three days to board it, and try and determine what is on board,” explained Fred Ledwith.
“What concerns us is the combination of the two, and how they may be related. It may be a coincidence that the assumed arrival of the ship occurs just at the point that the Longshoremen are in turmoil over the death of Galanto.
Normally, we would have worked with you to let this stay a local matter, but with Kehane screwing up by the numbers, and the sensitivity of the issues, we felt that we needed to take over before any real damage might be done.”
“An important part of this is the killing of Galanto. We now know that one of the men involved was someone named Amid Moustaffah.” Ledwith looked at Robert Gillespie as he mentioned the name. Gillespie’s ears perked up quickly.
“Moustaffah is the assistant and confidant of a man named Amoud Tabriz, also called Fatool. He runs a big part of a group called the Muslim Brotherhood out of his offices in Cairo and Paris.
Gillespie here just finished a messy case in Boston involving Fatool, and nearly got a bullet for his efforts. He is the only man we have that has ever seen either Amid or Fatool.”
“OK, Fred. I agree we may have a real problem here. What do we do next?”
“In all honesty, chief, I haven’t figured that out yet. I need two good men from you to join a task force we will be creating, to sift through what we know. We intend to work with the New Orleans Fusion Center to analyze the threats and work out a resolution of the problem.
Our staff here has little or no experience in these types of actions, and our experience is your people don’t either, so we asked Washington for assistance. The two officers you have on the case now would work just fine with Kehane out of the picture, and we will add more from our office, and those coming in from other offices, to round out a team to deal with this situation.”
Gillespie’s heart sank. He knew what might be coming next, and dreaded it. Worse, he didn’t know how Alicia would react, but he had a real dread of having to tell her that their vacation was over.
Ledwith smiled, as he looked at Gillespie. “Bob is one of two men on our team with the information we need. The other, his boss in Boston, is on recuperation leave, and will be staying there, at least for the present. That means I need to use Bob Gillespie, and have asked the Bureau to detail him temporarily here. We intend to let him finish his vacation here in New Orleans. He and Alicia will then go back to Boston, and he will be detailed back to us in about a week. Fair enough, Bob?”
“Thanks, Fred. Couldn’t be better for me. At least Alicia won’t kill me.”
“We have him for what information we need, and I will coordinate that as necessary. Everybody understand?”
“What else can the Department do to help, Fred?” asked the chief.
“I hoped you would ask, chief. You know how much I respect your department. I need the two men, but I also want to keep the communications lines open. That is why I recommend using the existing capabilities of the Fusion Center. That gives us access to continuing intelligence from many sources, some of which may provide to be valuable here.
Your guys know the local community; the center has experts from a range of agencies, such as the Coast Guard and Civil Defense that might be important if the situation warrants. I hope you will join our senior-level coordinating group.
We will also take some lessons from the operation in Boston, and try to apply some of it here. That’s why I want Bob available. The team will also have members from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; they coordinate intelligence activities among the domestic and other agencies, such as the CIA
At some point, we will probably also have to involve the Interagency Terrorism Task Force for their experience dealing with terrorism cells and this guy Tabriz and his cohorts. FBI will coordinate that when we need their expertise.”
“You can have whatever you need, Fred,” replied the chief. “We have offices over by Riverfront Park that we use for big events. It’s secure, and has all the communications and technology you will need. Will that help?”
“Sure will chief. It’s closer than our offices, and puts us right where we want to be. O’Neill, work with the chief to secure that building space. Lock it up tight and get it ready, if necessary, to connect to the Fusion Center. We will use that as our coordinating group HQ as this thing expands.”
“Yes sir,” responded O’Neill, who also nodded to the chief.
“OK, that’s about it for now. Glad we could get you in the loop chief. I really hate to be at odds.”
“No problem, Fred,” responded the chief. “If you guys are leaving, I have a small personnel matter to complete. Then, how about lunch Fred, at Le Perpignan, as usual?”
“Love to. The two men shook hands, and the Federal officers rose to leave. “See you at lunch.” Ledwith shook hands again with the chief, as they left the offices, expecting to see Kehane in the outer office. However, only the receptionist was there, behind her desk.
“Sally,” said the chief, as he came out of his office, “Where’s Kehane?”
“He was here chief, but just long enough to leave his badge and gun. Said he quit, and walked out. Looked pretty steamed, if you ask me.”
“Too bad,’ mused the chief. “ Call personnel. Have them come up to see me, and call Internal Affairs to come and get the gun and badge, and notify them that Kehane is suspended pending dismissal.
Make sure the announcement goes out on the wire to all precincts and departments. I don’t want people out there thinking he still has authority to act. I also want to see Lieutenant Lambert when he comes in.”
“Sure thing chief,” responded Sally, as she started to make her calls.
Aboard the Emden Crown. Tiklas Korinakeu had been sailing on ships for over twenty years. A Greek like the captain, he started as an ordinary seaman aboard a large, ocean-going fishing ship, a sea-going factory that processed fish from the smaller boats. Over time, he had progressed, first to learn the job of a helmsman, and, coming under the mentorship of a senior officer on a large freighter, he gradually learned enough to take the examinations in Greece, and become an officer. This was the first officer’s maiden voyage in his current position.
Korinakeu liked the larger ships—and the challenge they presented. His last ship, as second officer, had been a large oil tanker, and like the Emden Crown, had started its voyage in Nigeria and carried heavy oil to Southern China. The ship then went to Vladivostok and took on oil from that port for delivery to Japan, Korea, and Hawaii.
At Hilo, Korinakeu signed off, and flew to Greece for a vacation, before he joined the Emden Crown in Nigeria. Now, he was on the deck of a truly large ship, as the first officer to a captain whom he greatly respected, and he looked forward to a successful voyage.
“Position, helmsman, if you please?”
“Aye, aye sir,” responded the helmsman. “Position is 11 degrees 41 minutes north longitude. 23 degrees 53 minutes west latitude. Open ocean. Korinakeu reached up and flipped the intercom switch that would take him to Engineering. “Engineering, give me your readings.”
“Engineering, here. All engines normal, at two-thirds speed. Pressure normal. Sensors to the holds normal. We are looking at one sensor in the number two hold that is showing a slightly higher heat level, but nothing to be alarmed about.”
“What does the sensor say?” asked Korinakeu.
“Just shows a higher heat level, Mr. K,” responded the engineering officer. “We get these every once in a while. None of the others are reacting the same way, so it is probably malfunctioning, and needs to be replaced. This one is near the bottom of the hold, so replacement will be in New Orleans, when we offload and air the hold.”
“All right, but make sure that we get readings into the log every three hours on that sensor. Out here.”
“Will do, sir,” he heard, as the line switched to off.
Korinakeu checked with the other major departments, and completed the update to the log on the computer because he knew that the captain would soon arrive on the bridge from his lunch.
The captain always ate after most of the officers, so they could go back to their stations. He usually had a sandwich and some coffee, leaving his big meal to the evening, when he could enjoy the camaraderie of the dinner table.
“Calm day, K.” the first officer heard as the inside door to the bridge opened, and captain entered.
“Captain on the bridge,” announced the helmsman.
“I will take the con,” said the captain, saluting his first officer.
‘Captain has the con,” responded the first mate. “Log the change, helmsman.”
“What is happening on this lovely day, K?”
“Very quiet, sir. Everything normal. Engineering has one sensor in the third hold they are monitoring, a heat sensor, but they feel it is nothing.”
“Yes, sir. Happens every once in a while with these types of sensors. We can get it replaced in New Orleans. All other sensor equipment shows normal in all holds.”
“Good. Did you tell them to continue to monitor and log it?”
“Yes sir. Entry in the log every three hours.”
“Amazing isn’t it? No more logbooks for the official record. Everything on computer and all the entries are flashed to the company data banks. This is an age of technology, isn’t it K?”
“Sure is, captain. Too much technology, if you ask me.”
“I agree there. We have to do what they tell us and use it. Tell you what, though. I still keep a personal log in my safe—sentimental, I guess.” They both laughed, and looked out over the flat ocean, and the bright blue sky. Few clouds were even evident on this particular day.
“By the way, K. Any more scanning or plane sightings?”
“Not on the record, sir. Probably just some American Air Force or Navy plane on a training run. They do that a lot to keep their abilities up.”
“You’re probably right. In any case, we have nothing to hide. We’re just an LNG tanker on its way to make a delivery.” The captain shrugged his shoulders and began to walk around the bridge, reading screens, and looking at the latest weather reports. Then, he returned to where his first officer was standing.
“Why don’t you go below, and relax for a while. Everything is quiet here.”
“Thank you, sir. I could use a few minutes of relaxation.” The first officer saluted and turned to go out from the bridge. He would exit through an inside door that would take him toward his compartment.
“Check and maintain course, helmsman,” the first officer heard the captain say as he closed the door behind him.