In last week’s installment, we introduced (or reintroduced if you’ve read Blood Orange) the character of Brad Rafferty, a naval officer and highly-regarded intelligence officer. Now that we’ve pulled him in and circled back with Clifford Jones, the story is going to accelerate. We left the last chapter with our yet unnamed hero working with Jones to break into the GTMO video server and medical records server. It will be interesting to see where the story leads this week. Please enjoy this latest installment of Road Kill.
Road Kill Part 21
As Jones went off to begin his work, Rafferty, Ben and I sat around the conference table waiting for someone to ask or answer the question that was on our minds. What now? If we were able to identify which prisoners were involved in the plan, what would we do with that information? With only four of us involved in this with Donovan’s support, did we have enough manpower to stop the plan from moving forward and bring the Secretary of State to justice?
Rafferty seemed to anticipate the questions Ben and I had. He leaned forward with his elbows on the table and tented his fingers as he spoke.
“Your analysis included the mug shots of 15 prisoners. I don’t think the hope was to turn all 15 of them into accomplices in this plot. There is probably a subset of three to four that the Secretary of State was hoping to turn. The prisoners selected would likely have to be ones that would have the most leverage against them to convince them to participate.”
“What kind of leverage?” Ben asked.
I saw where Rafferty was going and explained that they would be individuals that could either benefit the most from helping out through a pardon and relocation, or those that had the most to lose by not participating. Things like seizing their assets and prosecuting friends and family members. They could also be threatened with letting information slip to their terrorist leadership that they had given U.S. interrogators valuable information that could hurt their organization.
Rafferty nodded his head and then continued.
“The video files and the medical record data will tell us who made it far enough in the process. They would put each prisoner through a series of tests and the number would be winnowed down with each test. The chip removal that I talked about would probably be one of the last steps. Those that made it that far will likely be identified through the medical records.”
“So what do we do once we identify them?” Ben asked.
“That’s where Donovan’s resources are going to come into play,” Rafferty answered. “He’s built up a trusted circle over the years. It’s almost like he’s anticipated something like this happening in the government and he’s been preparing for it.”
By telling us this, Rafferty was revealing that he was part of that trusted circle. In my mind, given his reputation, any doubts that I had about Donovan’s motives melted away. When I think of Rafferty, the movie The Last Boy Scout always comes to mind. He truly is the embodiment of that concept. Ben needed more convincing.
“You seem to know a lot about what Donovan is up to. Is he on the level or is he just trying to overthrow a politician he doesn’t like?”
Rafferty shot Ben a look that answered the question before he uttered a word.
“I would trust Donovan with my life. He is the ultimate patriot. He has worked to wipe out corruption in his own organization, often to the consternation of the Washington elite. He loves this country and this was just the tipping point for him. He couldn’t let this country face irreparable damage and become a power that absorbs assets from other nations. We are not China or the Soviet Union.”
“Okay, okay,” Ben backed down. “I’m convinced. So how are Donovan’s resources going to help us?”
I knew the answer to this, but I let Rafferty explain it and my contribution amounted to nodding my head as he spoke.
“The operatives that work for The Mother Ship have all of the expertise that you’d expect of someone in that role. They are weapons and hand-to-hand combat experts. They are highly intelligent, in supreme physical shape and they think quickly on their feet. There is one characteristic that separates them from the typical special ops person. They can blend in. They look like hipsters and middle income moms and dads. There are some with tattoos, hair and beards to rival any biker. They can infiltrate an organization or a group without being noticed. This gives them a distinct edge in trying to gather information and prevent bad situations.”
I knew about these operatives from The Mother Ship. I had seen them come in and out whenever I was at home base and they truly did blend in to different demographics just as Rafferty had indicated. If we could have access to some of these personnel and place them in strategic places at the Soccer Match, we just might have a chance to stop this attack before it happened. We just needed to get them the inside access they needed.
“Before we can move forward with using Donovan’s people, we need to find out who were dealing with,” Rafferty said. “That will help us figure out who we need and where to put them.”
That made sense. It also meant that we couldn’t move forward until Jones had some results from the facial recognition utility. As if on cue, Jones came into the conference room with the look of a surfer that had survive the ultimate wave.
“Of the 25 GTMO inmate pictures that you gave me, I was able to match them all to the video surveillance. I keyed in on the video cameras that were at the entrance of a secluded interrogation room and at the entrance of the infirmary. I then looked for the frequency that the camera caught one of our guys and the timing.”
“You were able to do that already?” Ben asked.
“My utility is quite efficient,” Jones answered. “I’ve actually spent the last 30 minutes verifying the results.”
Rafferty looked at me and raised his eyebrows. He then turned to Jones.
“So what’s the bottom line?”
“I’ve narrowed it down to eight men. These eight visited the interrogation room five times each. That’s more than any of the others. They also were recorded entering the infirmary less than 24 hours after their fifth visit. If your theory about removing the RFID chip is true, that’s probably why they were there.”
“So who are the eight that made the cut?” Rafferty asked.
Jones handed him a stack of photos.
“These are the guys.”
Rafferty leafed through them.
“Interesting group. I recognize some of them. I need to get into the prisoner database and check them out. I’ll just get a dump of the current prisoners with the data elements we need so that it won’t arouse suspicion. We can sort out what we need after I get it. Do you have a computer I can use?” Rafferty asked Jones.
“Of course. It has an untraceable IP. I’m trying to stay an anonymous civilian in this one.”
“Good luck with that,” Ben quipped.
Jones gave Rafferty a laptop who quickly logged on to a secure site that gave him access to the GTMO prisoner logs. He exported the data and brought it up in a spreadsheet. From there, it was quick work to filter out who he didn’t want to see. He limited it to the 25 prisoners that were part of the original search and then added a column to flag the eight that Jones had discovered.
“What I need is a list of those inmates that visited the interrogation room four times. How many of those do you have?”
“There are three,” Jones answered.
“Great. Give me a list of them. It looks like I’m headed to GTMO.”
“Are you going to try to talk to some of the eight?” Ben asked.
“No. I have a feeling, with only a couple of weeks leading up to the soccer matches, they are long gone. They’re probably at some secret location training for their disgusting mission. I want to talk to the guys that almost made the cut. I want to see what they were asked and what eliminated them from the group. That will give us some insight as we move forward to stop this.”
I was certainly glad to have Rafferty on board. He could get in and out of GTMO without arousing suspicion. He frequently had to interrogate prisoners as part of his ongoing nuclear weapon analysis work. He would not be questioned for an impromptu visit to GTMO.
“While I’m gone, I need you guys to look at the eight prisoners that made the final cut. Look for special skills, similarities and anything else that you think might give us some insight into how this will go down.”
We only had about two weeks left. They would be hectic weeks, but I had no idea how dangerous they would be.