Category Archives: Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 78

Kelly was back from taking Sam home. She found the Brandon house full of activity. Kathy was gathering up all the weapons used in any of the day’s events for dumping in the river. She hated to dump her SOCOM, but if any bullets were found at the cabin, they could match the SOCOM. Shadow was pacing around, sniffing everyone who came in, as if he knew they had left him out and wanted to know what happened. Lou was being discharged from the hospital tomorrow. Storm was taking him to Hawaii when he could travel. In the meantime, she rented a condo in Leesburg.

Storm was in the operational center watching several screens of news and commentary about the day’s events. No one, it seemed, really knew what happened. Storm thought with all the shooting in broad daylight, you would think someone would have seen something. Even the talking heads were stumped, trying to find a thread to tie all the events together. Some were waiting for a group to claim credit. The CIA, FBI and the Pentagon all deferred comment until the investigations were completed. One commentator said she thought some deep national security issue would eventually come out to explain these strange and deadly events. Storm thought. I was involved and I don’t understand everything that happened.

Jack went down to talk to Storm. He wanted her to know that both she and Lou had jobs with the Brandon team as long as they wanted one. He said, “We want and need your computer and organizational skills. Lou has a great operational planning mind. He doesn’t need to be an active shooter. We need him. One lung won’t be a problem. He will have to judge when it’s time to lay up for a while.”

Storm thanked him and told Jack she and Lou appreciated the offer. Please give them some time to work out their plans.

Jack and Kathy had a private talk with Kelly. Kathy asked her about her thoughts. Kelly said, “Everything happened so fast, I didn’t have time to think. I now realize just how dangerous this work is, and I know why you pay me so much. If I’m going to keep doing this kind of work, I need much more preparation and training. All the action I was in, one of you gave me complete direction. On the hillside today, without Jack’s move-by-move coaching, I would have been ineffective, dead or both. Sometime, I may not have one of you at my side. I need to be ready for being on my own. I want to continue with your training program and, at the same time, finish my degree at Pitt. When I’m ready I want to see where my mother was killed.”

Jack said, “Granted. One piece of advice before you go back to school. Kathy, jump in any time. We both saw the budding interest between you and Sam. It is, of course, your business, but you should know the spouse or lover of an intelligence officer seldom can have a career of their own. A relationship between two strong career-oriented people seldom works out. The internal competition puts a strain on the relationship.”

Kathy said, “Very true. I was married once to an intelligence officer. It lasted less than a year. I was glad to get out. Take your time. Get your degree or degrees and stay close to us. You’ve been wonderful. And Kelly, take the SRX with you. It may fit your lifestyle better. We don’t want it in front of the house, in case someone might have seen it at one of today’s violent scenes. I’ll sign the title for you, so you can get Pennsylvania plates.”

It was late, Jack had just gotten back from dumping the guns in the Potomac. Kathy was in bed trying to make her nails presentable when Jack got in bed and said, “You know I’m a traditionalist, and I have a serious question, Will you marry me soon? Here’s the ring to seal my offer.”

Kathy threw her arms around him and said, “Yes, I’ll marry you, with or without the ring. I’ll also stay with you, without the vows. I’m your woman forever and always.”

Kathy opened the ring box, and Jack slipped the three-carat diamond on her finger. “Jack, I love it. When did you have time to get it?”

“We all have secrets. If you look closely, you will see even the diamond has a traditional ‘mine’ cut. And I have another request.”

“It’s yours, no matter what.”

“Shadow is getting a bit long in the tooth. I want to get a puppy for him to train. It will be at least three years before the pup will be ready to work.”

“Okay, as long as Shadow approves. I owe that dog my life. Now come here, and let me show my appreciation.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 77

Richfield got out of his car, moved to the general meeting location and sat down behind a JWM Serializationlarge oak tree. Kelly saw both of her targets adjust their positions to cover Richfield. The adjustments made them better targets. She heard Jack say, “Focus, focus. When this happens, it will be incredibly fast. No time for thinking.”

Five minutes later, another car moved into the parking lot and stopped within several feet of the meeting site. Jack thought Frank is going to use the car as a shield. He figures we might be here and would be shooting from the high ground. Smart guy, but it won’t work. We still have the angle we need. When Frank got out of the car, Richfield stood up and start moving toward the nearest picnic table.

Jack waited five seconds, then said, “Shoot.”

Kelly fired and fired again. Just as she rolled over the log, a rifle slug knocked bark off the log. If I hadn’t moved fast, he would have hit me. An instant later, Jack fired and said, “Stay still, I think I hit him but don’t know how hard.”

Hasani recoiled from the hit on his right hip and rolled into a protected area behind a huge white pine tree. The hip joint felt broken and an artery was spurting. He still had time. Gathering his concentration, he sighted on his primary target and snapped off two shots. His target went down. Frank wondered who shot him. His left ear was gone and his left arm was useless. Instinct took over. He crawled to his car and staying low, drove out of the lot.

Richfield started to get up. Jack yelled, “Sam, stay down.”

“Kelly, what about your targets?”

“One is moving. The other one is on his back and not moving.”

“Can you see their weapons?”

“Yes. The sniper that’s still moving is holding his rifle. The other one’s weapon is several feet away from him. He’s still not moving.”

“Okay, stay put. Hit the sniper who’s still alive again. I’m going after Hasani. We need to get out of here fast. Switch frequencies and tell Richfield to run to the car and drive it down to where you can run down the hill and get in. Pick me up at the entrance. Wait five minutes, then go. I’ll call for a pick-up later. All the weapons were sound suppressed and the wind helped mute the sound, but someone may have still heard the shooting. Most important, call Kathy on her throw-away cell and tell her Frank has been hit but may be trying to get to his house.”

When Jack finished passing instructions to Kelly, he heard the muted sound of her rifle. Jack mused, she is her mother’s daughter. Jack knew where Hasani went down. Keeping to cover, he raced up the slope and stopped behind a stack of deadfall. Looking through a gap in the deadfall, he saw Hasani pointing his rifle downhill. Jack, keeping the weapon in sight, circled behind Hasani and crept up close.

Without looking around Hasani said, “Good shooting, Lieutenant. You missed me in Ramadi. You are a warrior. You are too many for us now, but we will win, even if it takes a thousand years. I am finished. I’ve only minutes left. Can you see yourself granting me a few minutes of prayer before I die?”

Jack said, “Where is the Professor?”

“Give me your word you will kill him yourself, and I will tell you. Do not allow him to be captured.”

“Okay. Now tell me.”

“He is in a log cabin house on the west ridge of Mount Gilead just south of Leesburg. Near a shooting lodge called, Isaac something. I remember because Isaac is a name from the Book.”

“You are a warrior. Die in peace but, first, throw the Dragunov down the slope.”

Jack saw the rifle being tossed and left Hasani to his final prayers.

Running hard, he just made the pickup. Jumping in the back seat, he said, “Fast to Frank’s house but no speeding tickets.”

They saw no police cars racing to the Park and ten minutes later were approaching Frank’s house in Langley Forest in McLean. Jack spotted Storm getting out of her car. Frank’s car must have slid sidewise when he braked hard coming up the circular driveway. There was blood on the small front porch. The door was ajar. Jack, followed by Kelly, never broke stride crashing through the door. Both had their handguns out.

Frank was sitting on the floor with his back braced against the living room couch. He was holding a handgun pointed at Kathy. Jack’s hand flew up. His SOCOM fired. The left side of Frank’s head vanished in a red mist. Jack had Kathy in his arms, checking to see if she was hurt. Kathy put her head on Jack’s shoulder and said, “I’m okay. The bastard was going to kill me. He wanted you to see it happen. You came so fast and shot him, I don’t think he even knew you were here. I didn’t see you or hear anything until the boom of the SOCOM.”

“We have to get out of here. Do we need a wipe-down?”

“No. I wore gloves the whole time.”

“Did you find anything?”

“Yes, I found his secret stuff on these three DVDs.”

Kelly said, “I’ve picked up the brass.”

Jack said, “Good, lock the back door from the inside. Don’t touch anything.”

Kathy said, “Everyone out the front door. It has a snap lock. This house is so isolated, I doubt anyone heard anything. We need to drive out of here slowly, just like we’re admiring the neighborhood.”

Jack said, “Kathy, come with us, we have one more job to do. Storm is back in her car, call her and tell her to go back to the house and monitor the news.”

Getting in the car, Jack said, “Sam, let Kathy drive.”

Kathy said, “Just tell the driver where we are going.”

“We’re going to Leesburg to kill a terrorist. I promised a proud warrior that I would personally kill him and not let him be captured.”

Sam said, “Why did you make that promise?”

“Two reasons. He refused to tell me where the Professor is hiding until I promised to personally kill his friend, and Hasani was a proud warrior who was dying and wanted to spend his last minutes in prayer. I thought it was a good exchange.”

Jack told them what Hasani had said about the Professor’s hideout.

Kelly said, “Okay, what’s the plan?”

“Get Storm on the phone and tell her what I told you. We need precise directions and images of the cabin and this Isaac-something shooting lodge.”

Sam Richfield said, “That’s easy. It’s the Izaac Walton League, a lodge for outdoors people. It’s got a shooting range but most people go there to trap shoot. I was there once with a friend. I’m not sure I could take us directly there.”

“Storm can work her magic. No one has an iPhone or Droid, only prepaid cells, so she can’t send any images but word-of-mouth instructions will work. Now the plan. A very subtle one. We’re going to surround the cabin, and fire everything we have into the doors and windows. Then I’m going to charge one of the doors and toss in a couple of fire bombs. In the back of the SUV, we have a quart of oil, a siphon hose and some water bottles. If he comes out, we shoot him. Sam Richfield gets back into his counter-terrorism official role and does whatever he should do.”

Richfield said, “It just might work. I have my house and job back, and all the bad guys are dead. Nobody knows just how Frank did what he did. He kept everything close, and I mean close, to his vest.”

Jack added, “And we are totally out of it. Lou is out of the hospital today and will disappear with Storm.”

“Kathy, pull into the empty soccer field. I have to get our cocktails mixed.”

Following directions from Storm, Kathy found the Izaac Walton Lodge and located the hidden driveway leading up to the log cabin. Jack said, “Okay! Let’s go!”

Kathy roared up the steep driveway, bounced over a cattle guard and slid to a stop beside a white Ford 150 truck parked at the top of a short flight of stairs leading to the cabin door. Kelly and Sam ran around to the back of the cabin and started shooting. Jack and Kathy opened up on the front door and windows. After a mad minute of firing, Jack gave Kathy a few seconds to reload and start firing. Jack raced to the front of the cabin and hurled gasoline and oil-filled bottles with lighted wicks through the broken windows. In the light of the growing fire, he saw the Professor scrambling from room to room and emptied his SOCOM. He was sure he hit him at least once. The fire raced through the old cabin. The Professor managed to get the front door open and was met with a hail of fire. He fell back into the burning house.

Jack called out, “Load up now. Let’s go!”

Kathy had them on Route 15 south to avoid going back through Leesburg.

Jack said, “Good work, people, four minutes on site. Still haven’t heard a siren. Hey, Richfield, it seems you’ve got to alter your cover story. On second thought, I don’t think you want to tell anyone you were on site at any of the three killing areas. How you play the rest is up to you, just don’t leave trails back to us.

“The rest of us are going back to our house. I think Kelly should take you to your house. You should get back in the game as quickly as you can. With everything that’s gone down, your office has probably been looking for you.”

Richfield said, “The reality is, Frank Batcher will never be charged with being a mole. No one even suspects it. Kathy’s young assistant will never figure it out. She got a promotion and a transfer. Frank’s dead, he can’t harm her. He will end up being a hero. Killed by al Qaeda for his role in saving the city from the snipers. We just don’t have enough evidence to bring any charges or suspicions. It doesn’t seem right, but Frank did a lot of good work and, in a convoluted way, he did help save the city from more destruction and death by involving your team. Maybe American history has other cases of villains we honor today as heroes.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 76

Hasani always followed orders. This time he couldn’t. He knew the Professor was wrong. JWM SerializationEven he wouldn’t be able to protect the Professor’s friend and kill all the other people. How many, he didn’t know. At least three people with guns would be protecting their side of the meeting. He would have to move after every shot or two. Any sniper, no matter how good, is vulnerable when moving. He would play the main role but he needed help. Hasani, two of his trained snipers, and another recent recruit to drive the stolen panel truck, were now approaching the drop-off point.

It was 3:30 AM. If he was operating by himself, he’d have been in his hidden shooting position before midnight. He doubted his team members could get in position and stay quiet for seven hours. Numbers of players always affected the outcome. In this case, he had had no choice. As he defined the mission, the highest priority kill was the Professor’s friend. The others didn’t matter. If his friend had to agree to this meeting, he was already compromised. Hasani believed he was following the Professor’s implicit order. His friend’s usefulness to Jihad was over. Death would be his reward for past loyalty. Dead men cannot give up secrets.

Kelly was working on keeping her focus and trying to get to the state of mind Jack said would come. He said she would know it when it happened. He described it as becoming part of the environment. You were aware of everything happening around you. The noise of the night predators, the movement of insects, the flight of bats and owls and, worst of all, the sound of snakes slithering through the brush. Like her mother, Kelly hated snakes. Somehow she felt close to her warrior mother who must have spent many, many nights in a sniper hide, waiting for her targets to appear. Kelly knew Jack was counting on her to even the odds. She liked Sam Richfield and hoped he would survive the next half-dozen hours. If Jack didn’t spot the back-up shooters before they were ready to shoot, Richfield wouldn’t have a chance. Jack told her even experienced snipers sometimes expose their positions by being careless with the movement of their rifle barrels or being too aggressive in shifting to a better shot-making position. He told her to look for unnatural forms and lines. Straight lines weren’t part of nature.

Struggling to hold her focus, she nearly jumped when Jack’s quiet voice echoed in her ear. He said, “Be alert. A vehicle slowed and stopped on Route 193. I saw car lights pause and then move on. The action is behind us. The shooters may move through our positions to find their own shooting hides. If you think they have seen you, shoot and move and keep shooting. If you see them and have a sure killing shot, take it. I’d just as soon kill them before they get set and hidden.

“More than one shooter will be looking for a place to set up and wait. At least one will have some night vision capability. They will outnumber us. We will still have the advantage. We’re already in place and know they’re coming. The leaves are dry and no one can move at night within 30 yards of our position without one of us hearing them. We should hear something in the next few minutes.”

Kelly thought, my God, this is really going to happen. Mother, I hope you’re watching over me.

Jack shielded his watch dial, now on the inside of his wrist, and looked at the time, 4:00 AM. If Hasani is here, he will place the shooters, so I expect a fair amount of movement. He won’t set up his own position, until he is satisfied with the others. Because of the short-range shooting, less than 70 yards, and limited targets, it will be one man to a hide, no sniper/spotter teams. He whispered to Kelly, “Unless you are in danger, don’t shoot. I expect three shooters. We need to spot them before Richfield gets here. If we kill them when the light is good, the chief sniper won’t have the cover of darkness to shoot and move. I think he will stay in his hide until Richfield and maybe Frank show up. Copy?”


Hasani could not believe his two men could be making so much noise. True, the night was very dark with overcast skies, and he was the only one with night vision optics, but they just didn’t believe there was any danger in the park at this time of night. The paths would be quieter, but he didn’t like the confining nature of a path. It was too easy to predict the position of an enemy if they followed a path. They were also very easy to trap with sensors or explosives. Making your way through the brush was safer, if noisier. At least these American Muslims weren’t talking or smoking. If one of the US counter-sniper teams was in the area, these two men wouldn’t be leaving the park alive. Their clumsiness would provide cover for him to do the killing. All he needed from them was a distraction.

Kelly heard something moving through the brush. She froze and slowly turned her head in the direction of the sound. Through the greenish world of her night vision optics, she saw three armed men 30 yards above and west of her position. One of them was wearing night optics. They were spread out at ten yard intervals. Waiting until the sound disappeared, she alerted Jack and gave him her report.

She could still follow their green forms slowly moving up slope and now north of her. Fifteen minutes later, she could make out only two men, moving higher on the slope above the parking lot. She couldn’t be sure, but it looked like the two men moved 20 yards up the slope and then separated. Kelly searched with her glasses but could see no further movement. Kelly adjusted her earpiece and checked with Jack.

He said, “I was also able to follow them for a while. I lost them when it looked like they all paused for a minute or so. I believe the leader is Hasani. I’ve seen him before with my night vision gear. When they paused, he was placing one of the shooters in the point position. Guiding on his position, the other two will move up the slope and then split, forming a triangle of shooters above the meeting site. Keep a watch on the area. Especially locate the shooter in the point position. He is your primary target. Locate him when the light gets better and plan your shot. If you can find the man farthest from you, take him next. I think Hasani is somewhere near your ten o’clock position. I’ll take him. I expect him to move at the first shot. Remember to compensate for the downhill shooting. If you move, move quickly and burrow into the leaves and brush, and stay still until you have a shot. Patience, patience.”

Hasani settled into his hide and made some improvements in his concealment and view of the parking lot and picnic tables. He was glad he opted to leave his .50 caliber Barrett rifle at the log cabin. It was too heavy to move through brush and wasn’t optimum for shooting at this range. He selected the Dragunov SVD. Half the weight of the Barrett, it had been a main sniper weapon in the Sunni Triangle. He was very familiar with its performance and optics.

Kelly now appreciated the discipline her mother and Jack developed by remaining motionless in a concealed sniper hide for hours, and even days, waiting for a shot that may or may not come. It wasn’t patience that was required, it was super patience. For her, the hours dragged by. It was just after 10:00 AM.

An hour ago, she noticed movement in the area she had been searching since the light improved. Focusing on the area, she made out the outline of a body and a poorly concealed rifle barrel. Jack said, “Good. Plan your shots. I haven’t found Hasani yet. So when you shoot, roll behind the log you’re snuggled against and don’t move. If you’ve hit the second sniper, stay behind the log with your head down. If not, I’ll talk to you. Count on Hasani firing on your location.”

Jack checked his watch. It was time for Richfield to show up. Using Google shots of the park, Jack had Richfield set up behind a large tree trunk to shield him from downhill shots. Only when and if Frank arrived at the actual meeting site, was he to expose himself. When Frank got out of his car and into the open, Kelly would start shooting. In a perfect world, the snipers would all be down before Richfield was in the open. Jack thought, we might get two of them, but Hasani was a special case.

At 10:15, Richfield drove into the parking lot in one of the Brandon cars. A few miles away, Kathy was checking the back door of Frank’s house. Storm and Kathy saw him leave five minutes earlier. Kathy took the time to examine the back door with a magnifying glass, searching for very thin wires or a hair across the door opening. Seeing nothing, she got her picks out and started on the dead bolt lock. It was a well-known brand and not difficult to pick. Frank knew if someone with professional skills wanted in, they’d get in.

Kathy wasn’t hunting for a safe. She knew Frank’s philosophy, the best hiding place was in plain sight. Something he could get to in a hurry and small enough to move if he had to. What she was looking for would not be on paper, but most likely on flash drives or DVDs. DVDs fit in with his theory about hiding things in plain sight. Frank had a large collection of DVDs on the bookshelves in his living room. There was a DVD player in his study, as well as the living room. The largest collection was in the living room. She would start there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 75

Coached by Jack and Kathy, Sam negotiated a meeting place and time with Frank. Jack JWM Serializationwas surprised and a little alarmed at how easily Frank agreed to the Great Falls Park meeting site. Obviously, he was confident he could manage the circumstances. It was a one-on-one meeting. Only Sam Richfield and Frank would be meeting at the designated site. There was no discussion of guns or no guns.

Richfield would carry his Browning and Frank would surely be armed. Jack wondered if Frank would have the FBI or the police standing by to cover him, but decided that would be too big a risk for Frank. He had to get rid of the people that could compromise him, not arrest them. Their testimony would be damning. No, Frank was too smart to use the legal system.

Just after midnight Kathy dropped Jack and Kelly near the entrance to the park. They both carried Stoner SR-25 rifles with sound suppression and ghillie suits they would put on at their shooting site. Richfield knew where to stand to shield himself from shots coming from the angle Jack was sure any shooter, especially Hasani, would use. The sun angle at the time of the meeting would be a critical factor in the selection of a sniper sight. Jack expected there would be more than one shooter.

He had debated whether to have Kathy or Kelly with him to protect Richfield and kill Frank. Kathy wanted to be with him, but she was the only one who could take advantage of Frank’s concentration on the meeting to enter his house and search for data incriminating Jack, his father and her. She knew Frank’s habits, his thought processes, and had been in his house a few times when she worked directly for him. Kathy had experience in surreptitious entry operations and knew the methods intelligence operatives used to protect their hiding places.

Frank had been living alone for the last two years. He had no close neighbors and landscaping shielded the house from direct view from the street. Storm volunteered to be her driver and warn her of anyone approaching the house.

In selecting the second shooter, Jack’s instincts told him, even with the limited practice Kelly had in using a rifle, she was a better reaction shooter than Kathy. Kathy still had the fatal killing flaw of thinking too much. Also, she had been one of Frank’s prized officers. She once had great respect and admiration for him. Jack thought those past feelings might cause her to delay a shot for a few seconds. All the doctrine preached “to be tentative is to die.” Kelly did not have a tentative bone in her body. She had shown her willingness to shoot quickly and with deadly efficiency.

By 1:00 AM, Jack finished positioning Kelly. She had her lines of fire and instructions on what to look for and when to fire. With her camouflage suit and nearly buried in dead leaves, an opponent would almost have to step on her to see her. Jack selected a position 25 yards to Kelly’s right, a little closer than he liked for the mission, but he wanted to be able to support her quickly. Both were equipped with low-powered line-of-sight transceivers and night vision capability.

Jack knew, no matter what Frank planned, his back-up would be in place before sunrise. He also knew it was a job for more than one shooter. He had some doubt Frank would show up. If his back-up shooters could kill one or more of the people who had evidence he was a traitor, without exposing himself, why would he.

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 74

Secure in the isolation of his log cabin hideout, the Professor closed up his throw away, JWM Serializationprepaid cell and called for Hasani. When Hasani came into the largest room in the cabin, lighted only by the flickering fire, he could tell his friend and mentor was worried about something.

Hasani said, “My friend, what is the problem? We will soon restart our sniper campaign. I have three teams ready to go. The glory of our martyrdom is close. I thank you for the opportunity of bringing our battle to the heart of the enemy. It is more than I ever dreamed was possible. Your wisdom, faith and courage have brought us this far. Do not worry.”

“It’s not the coming battle that worries me. My old friend, who has helped us for so long, needs us now. He wants us to delay our attacks until an internal danger is eliminated. A few people have discovered his role in working with us. He had to agree to meet with them tomorrow at 10:30 AM in a wilderness park along the winding road with the sharp curves you love to drive on the way to McLean. At the crossroads of Route 193 and Old Dominion Road is the entrance to Great Falls Park. The park is located on the Potomac River where the river is a racing flood, smashing through huge boulders and over sharp drops.”

“Yes, I know the place. I met with one of my teams there last month. It is a beautiful place. The shot will have to be close. Less than 100k meters, since I won’t know exactly where the targets will be. I don’t want to move around to get a better angle.”

“Good! I want you to be there to kill all the people he will be meeting. If something goes wrong, give my old friend the gift of death. He has served well and does not deserve to be dishonored. I’m asking you to go alone, because I don’t want other witnesses. You know, I have never been sure of the true faith of our American converts.”

“I will be there, waiting before the sun comes up tomorrow.”

“Go with God, my friend.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 73

Jack slowed and glided to the curb, just down the street from Richfield’s house in Vienna. JWM SerializationKathy had briefed Jack on the inside layout. The house lights were on, and they could see someone moving around inside. Kathy said, “I was wrong. I expected the house to be empty and Richfield gone. You thought he was innocent and it looks that way now.”

Jack knocked on the door and when a man meeting Richfield’s description opened the door, Jack asked him if he was Sam Richfield. When he said yes, Jack showed him his badge and asked if they could come in. He and his partner had a few questions.

Richfield looked carefully at the badge and said, “I’ve never been to Pittsburgh.”

Jack said, “We know. You are not a suspect of any kind, but we believe you can help us. May we come in?”

Sam said, “Okay, but I don’t have much time. I’m expected back at the office. My boss called.”

Kathy said, “We only need a few minutes. We won’t keep Frank waiting.”

Sam looked startled and said, “What’s going on here? Who are you people with the Pittsburgh police badges? You should leave now!”

Jack said, “We’ll leave when we’re ready, and we may take you with us. So settle down, and let us tell you a story that may save your life and your father’s.”

“Okay! You have my attention.”

Kathy handed Richfield the alias driver’s license she took from the hiding place in his cellar and asked, “Is this yours?”

“My picture is on it. I assume you know where I work.”

Kathy said, “We know more than where you work. Where did you keep this document?”

When Sam didn’t say anything, Jack said, “We’re not recording any of this. There will be no notes and no reports. Now please answer.”

“I don’t see any harm in answering that question. Documents are kept in the office. I check them out when I have approval to use them.”

Kathy said, “Is that your answer?”


“Please look at these pictures.”

She passed all the photos taken earlier in his cellar across the table. Richfield’s expression was real. The wide eyes, breath catching and face color couldn’t be faked so convincingly.

Jack said, “What do you have to say? Please be careful.”

“I can’t believe this. I’m not permitted to keep these things. Someone must have planted them.”

Kathy said, “Now we’re getting someplace. We happen to agree with you. Do you recognize the hiding place?”

“Yes, I made it to hold things I sometimes had to keep overnight.”

“Did anyone know about your safe place?”

“Of course. Those places have to be on the record in case something happened to me.”

“Who knew besides Frank?”

“Maybe Alice, his assistant.”

Jack asked, “Why would these documents be in your cellar?”

“Honest, I’ve no idea.”

“When are you expected in the office?”

“I should have been there 15 minutes ago.”

Jack looked at Kathy who took the cue and went to the front window to watch the street.

Richfield asked, “What is she doing?”

“Unless we’re very wrong, some bad people will be coming to see you very soon. Do you have a weapon and know how to use it?”

“Yes, but …”

“No buts. Just go and get it. Make sure it’s ready to use.”

“You’re letting me go get a loaded weapon?”

“Yes. You’re not a prisoner. You may not know it yet, but without us, you’ll never see the sunrise tomorrow. Also, if there’s trouble, another shooter is always a good thing. You’ve got one minute to grab your weapon and whatever else you want. Don’t worry about clothes. Dump your cell phone. Now go!”

Jack moved up beside Kathy who was studying the street in front of the house. Jack said, “If anyone comes, they’ll park right in front and come in fast. They’ll either kill him right here or take him away to a remote place, ask him a couple of questions and then kill him.

“I’ll stay here. Go to the back door. Check and see if the back way is clear. We’re going out the back, behind a few houses to our car and then home. I’ve put the Minhs on alert. With them, the Vietnamese gardeners, and Kelly on guard, they should be okay. Frank won’t want a shootout in McLean.”

Sam Richfield came back with a 9mm Browning and a small bag. Jack grabbed the bag and said, “Let’s go out the back door. You lead. Go right behind your neighbors’ houses and right again to the street. Head for the black Cadillac SRX. Don’t stop. Don’t shoot unless I say so, or you see someone drawing down on us. Go!”

The way was clear to the car. Kathy slid behind the wheel and was getting ready to start up when a black Chevrolet Suburban braked hard in front of Richfield’s house. They all ducked down to watch. Three men burst out of the car, up the steps and smashed through the door. When they were all inside, Jack said, “Okay, Kathy, let’s go. Sam, did you see anything subtle about that? I don’t think you called for that ride.”

Sam said, “Holy shit! What’s going on?”

Kathy said, “Sam, that was your execution squad coming for you. They’ll place incriminating evidence in your hiding place and make sure someone finds it after you’re dead. They must have been sure you were there, otherwise they would not have broken the door down. Leaving evidence like that is not good.”

Jack said, “Here’s the quick version. We’ve been helping Frank for the past few years. I discovered there was a mole when I was trailing the two snipers in the mountains between Frederick and Hagerstown. I captured one of the sniper’s cell phone. When I checked it, I noticed a voicemail message. I played the message and heard someone warning the head sniper that a man with a tracking dog was after them. Frank and I worked up a trap message telling the snipers the tracking dog broke a leg and the man turned back. Frank said he made the test message available to a limited number of his senior staff.

“He brought Kathy in to find the mole. She was told to conduct an investigation, but very discreetly. He then gave her information steering her to you. You were to be the mole.

“Kathy found your cache of documents and showed photos to Frank, who confiscated her cell phone and transferred her assigned assistant to Afghanistan on short notice. Instead of immediately taking you into custody for interrogation, he did nothing. Later he met with us and sketched out a plan for using you to capture the ringleader of the sniper terrorists. My small team would be totally committed in the take-down. We believe Frank intended for the snipers and their leader, a man referred to as the Professor, to kill all of us in an ambush. Frank also said your father was close to the Professor, when they both were going to Princeton, and must be involved with his son, the mole. With all of us dead, Frank’s position would be protected. How’s that for a story?”

“Unbelievable, but you made me a believer. When you told me to go get my weapon, I opened my mind. The sight of those three hoods smashing into my house removed all doubt. Thank you both for saving my life. What do we do now?”

“We take you to our house for the night. I’ll ask our attorney, as an officer of the court, to take our statements including the photos and records as affidavits. I’m not sure we want to go the legal route, but I want the option.

“Tonight, we call Frank and demand a meeting on our ground. We tell him to come alone, we want to go over our options. We have no desire to bring any charges against him. Our aim is to work out a win-win solution.”

Later that night, lying in Jack’s arms, Kathy said, “Did you notice Sam looking at Kelly? He did everything he could to get close to her.”

“I noticed she wasn’t running away. Romances can start anywhere. From what I see, I like Sam Richfield, but I feel like Kelly is our daughter. Maybe nobody is good enough for her.

“Another subject. Frank is the only person who knows my father was once a KGB officer and never became a US citizen. He will use it to make us back off. I would like to find and destroy that information. Our estate just went over the one billion mark. In some circumstances, the government could take all of it.”

“The money doesn’t worry me. Jack, have you ever counted up the laws we have broken? Never mind we were on the side of the angels, the law and order Mafia would lock us up in a heartbeat. No one would come to our rescue.”

Jack said, “It’s clear. Frank goes down or we do. I swear Frank will not continue his life of deception and death. He played us, big time. Now it’s our turn.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 72

The next day Kathy and Jack were waiting for Frank to arrive. The sandwiches had just JWM Serializationarrived. Jack tipped the waiter and said to Kathy as the door closed, “Frank is never late. The guy makes a religion out of being on time. It’s two minutes until twelve. Wanna bet he’ll be here in two?”

“No way. If I thought he’d be very late, I’d try to seduce you in this beautiful suite. What is it, the honeymoon special?”

“No, the management just likes to take care of its bill-paying clients. I don’t see why we can’t stay for a few minutes after he goes.”

“Make it a few hours and you might have a taker.”

A few seconds after noon, a tap on the door broke up their banter. Jack checked and let Frank in. Frank greeted them and said, “Sorry, I’m a little late.”

Kathy said, “Yes. I wanted to start without you, but Jack was sure you would come along.”

Frank sat down at the table and poured himself a cup of black coffee. Looking up at Kathy he said, “I just can’t believe you were able to find the mole so quickly. If this story comes out, you are going to be a counter-intelligence legend. That reminds me, give me your cell phone. It may be legally dangerous for you to have the images of the documents you found in Richfield’s cellar.”

Kathy dug into her purse and slid the iPhone over to Frank, saying, “It’s your phone anyway. I’m going to pick up an iPhone 4 with my own brand of encryption.”

For the next hour they discussed various plans for dealing with the Richfields and the Professor. When Frank left, they had a plan that should work. A minute after the door closed behind Frank, Jack hung out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and said, “I could hardly wait for him to go.”

He looked over at Kathy who was shedding her clothes. She said, “Come on, big guy. Don’t keep your bride-to-be waiting.”

When the passion ebbed, Kathy said, “Your trip in the wilds didn’t hurt you any. You’re still a fantastic lover.”

“Only when my partner is a tall, sexy, shapely blonde who knows all my buttons. I forgot you’re also a dangerous and intelligent lady. Now let’s get a shower and order tea and some pastry. I have something we need to talk about.”

Kathy poured the tea and asked Jack what he wanted to discuss.

Jack said, “Now, bear with me. I’m feeling my way. My father told me not to trust anybody all the time and most people not at all, when the stakes were high. I thought it was strange when Frank asked you to hand over your cell phone with the images you took in the guy’s cellar. He could have asked you to destroy them which you would have done without question. Instead, he didn’t trust you to destroy them. What legal danger could there have been?”

Kathy started to say something, but Jack said, “Let me finish. You found his mole. No question. The mole is the key to finding the Professor. The logical move would be to pick up Sam Richfield, interrogate him, and make him give up the Professor. Any time, any day, the terrorists led by the Professor could take dozens, maybe even hundreds, of lives. Yet, here we are developing complicated plans to take down the terrorists. And guess who is leading the charge? We are! We’re good but not that good. The teams the Government can put together make us look like what we are. A very small team of specialists who can and have made contributions.

“We’re not the A team. Frank is. In the plan we just discussed, if one thing goes wrong, we get wiped out. Given advance knowledge, the Professor and Hasani could ambush and kill all of us. We are the only people who even know about a mole. Does what I’m saying make any sense to you?”

Kathy was silent. She stood up and began striding back and forth across the room. She turn toward Jack and said, “It only makes sense if Frank is playing us and protecting the mole and the Professor. If you are even close to being right, we’re in serious trouble. Our proof of the existence of a mole is gone.”

“Not quite. I copied the images on to my iPad just to be on the safe side, in case something happened to your collection. Right now, I don’t see how that can help us.”

“I’m going to run a little test. Give me your phone. I’m going to call the young woman Frank assigned to help me.” Kathy called Jennifer’s cell. She answered and Kathy said, “Where are you?”

“Kathy, I won’t be able to help you anymore. I got a spot promotion and an immediate transfer to Afghanistan.”

“Wonderful! Who told you about the transfer?”

“Mr. Batcher just told me. He said he had talked to you, and there was no further need for me to help you. The problem went away. He said my transfer was very sensitive, and I shouldn’t talk to anyone about it. He said not even you, but I just couldn’t go away without saying goodbye to you. I hope we have a chance to work together again. I’m sorry, but my ride to the airport is outside. I have to go. Bye for now.”

Kathy had the iPhone on speaker so Jack could hear every word.

Jack said, “Okay. What do you think now?”

“I’m scared! You have to be right. Otherwise, nothing makes any sense. I think Jennifer might get killed for her role in helping me. Take her away, and only you and I know about the existence of any mole. We have photocopies of alias documentation, most likely done by the Agency, ostensibly for Richfield’s use in a CIA operation. I do have Richfield’s alias driver’s license. I did not give it to Frank. What do we do now?”

“Frank’s been in this business a long time. He knows we’re a danger to him as long as we’re alive. I believe he intends to make us the fall guys. We either get killed or arrested as traitors. We need some official help or we need to kill Frank and Richfield.”

“I’ll bet Richfield’s house is now empty, and he’s in the wind. A search of the cellar will turn up nothing. To get official help, we need real evidence. What we have is useless, a CIA officer working in counter-terrorism with three sets of alias documentation. Means nothing. You still have those recorded phone calls warning the sniper team you and Shadow were chasing. Again, nothing to convince any skeptics.”

Jack agreed and said, “Now we know how the so-called mole learned so quickly about our activities. Richfield wasn’t the mole. It was Frank who kept the terrorists one step ahead of us at every turn.”

“Your father made Frank’s reputation by helping him to track down and arrest members of KGB sleeper cells in America. There was no reason for him to double-cross your father. For twenty years, he was Frank’s mentor. He never knew the real Frank. Did your father ever tell him about the mountain hideaway?”

“No. He told me no one knew about it. Maybe we should think about locating there for a while. I hate to expose Kelly, Storm and Lou to this kind of trouble. They didn’t sign up to have their own government after them.”

Kathy said, “I would bring Kelly to the cabin but not Lou or Storm. Lou’s need for regular medical care will make him too easy to find. And Storm is not yet committed. Maybe in the future, but not now. I believe she resents what happened to her father and feels we had no business exposing him to such danger.”

“I believe Frank is the problem. With him gone, we are all okay. He needs us dead, not arrested and talking to law enforcement. The problem is he knows we will quickly figure out what’s going on. He knew asking for your cell phone and not having his own plan to pick up the mole you found, gave him away. Once we had those phone calls I found on the sniper’s abandoned cell phone, he had to manufacture a mole.

“Putting you in charge bought him time and let him track our activities. Richfield is probably no mole. Frank arranged some way of putting those documents where you would find them. In the same way, he gave you a stack of personnel files. He wanted you to find Richfield and go away, believing you did a first-class investigative job. Case closed. Back to business as usual, continuing to use us to make himself look good. He miscalculated how little time it would take you to find Richfield and to smell a rat.”

Kathy said, “The son of a bitch wants to set us up to get killed in action at the hands of the Professor. He can then either let the Professor disappear or kill him as well, depending on which option is the best for him. If we play it right, we can use his plan against him. If our deaths can be attributed to the Professor, so could Frank’s.”

“Exactly! Whatever the action, we have to keep that part to ourselves. We’ll send Lou and Storm away. If they lay a good enough false trail, they should be safe. What do you think about Kelly?”

“I think we should include Kelly. She has good instincts and is totally committed. Besides Frank knows about her and could see her as a danger or a way to get to us. She’s safer with us.”

“Okay, I agree. She needs to know the whole story. Will you brief her?

“You got it.”

“Starting now, we have to be super careful. Frank is a very dangerous man. He is entirely ruthless and a little sick. I believe he likes us, you especially. Still, he’ll kill us at the first safe opportunity he gets. Okay, let’s get out of here.”

As they were going down in the elevator, Jack said, “Our car is in valet parking and is probably safe. I don’t put it past Frank to put an explosive device or a beacon on our car. He knows the valet will be getting the car for us, so any pressure switch will be on the passenger side. Please humor me and get in the back seat. I’ll check the car over back at the house. Until this is over, the car has to be checked every time it’s out of our control.

“While I’m checking the car, tell Storm to get rid of her cell phone and take Lou to Hawaii as soon as he can travel. Get her a cashier’s check for $500,000. Tell her to use cash. No credit cards. Their contracts will be honored for the next year and then we’ll see about the future. Tell her the risk is real, but no details. Also, no contact with family or close friends. In Hawaii, she can get a prepaid cell phone and a new notebook using a different name or a variation of their names. Ask her to send a postcard to our lawyer, Lee Jensen, every month indicating their hotel. Don’t scare her to death but impress her with the need to be careful. The sooner they are away from here the better. Tell her to make the plans but don’t implement them until you tell her to go.”

“Got it. Storm is not going to be happy.”

“Being alive is better. This should all be over, one way or the other, in a month at the latest.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Intelligence & Politics