Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 33 & 34

The Senator
& Ambassador White

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 33. The Senator

Senator Robert “Bo” Weigher was brought back from a far-off dream by the incessant beeping of his intercom. “Yes, Judy, what is it?”
    “Senator, the President is on Line 2.”
    “Thank you, Judy.”
    “Mr. President, how may I be of assistance to you, sir.”
    The senator listened to the President’s reply. “A SEAL team, sir? Why would you be concerned about a SEAL team, Mr. President?”
    …“Yes, sir, you are the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief and as such you do have the right to know about troop movements. But, Mr. President, operations are going on all the time, sir. Most of them never get to my level, even less to the President’s desk. Unless the Joint Chiefs are running this SEAL team on a special mission, it will be next to impossible to find where they are or who sent them.”
    …“I see, you know they’re in Afghanistan. May I ask, how do you know where they are, sir?”
    …“General Wainwright?”
    …“Yes, sir. I know the general. I will look into it, Mr. President.
    …“Yes, sir, I will get back to you as soon as I find out something. Goodbye, Mr. President.”

The call wasn’t a complete surprise. Weigher had received a heads-up call early that morning, from Jac Truborn, who informed him that Rubin Johnson was on a fact-finding mission for his brother. The President had learned about the SEAL team being sent to Afghanistan and wanted to know who sent them. Weigher couldn’t understand how a troop movement the size of one SEAL team could get the attention of the President of the United States. Now the President had gotten Jac Truborn involved in the mess. My God, was that all the President had to do with his time, track troop movements?
    As head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, it was Weigher’s job to know these things, but not even he paid that much attention to the comings and goings of troops. Now he had the President breathing down his neck. What the hell did Johnson want, a report each morning giving the location of each person in the military?
    Robert “Bo” Weigher had seen it all in his days within the government, but this was new even for him. Power in politics was an elusive creature – you could have it in your hands one day and it would be gone the next. Each morning of his life started with a battle to hold on to that power. Presidents no longer held a threat to him – not after Benton’s death. Weigher was the most powerful senator on the hill and a lot of his power had come about because of President Benton.
    A long-time friend among his contacts at the Russian Embassy had sent John Cahill to him with a microchip. After reviewing what was on the chip, Weigher hand-carried it to the only man he knew who could tell him what to do with the information.
    The two men met at their club, where Weigher was told to print off the information and have Cahill give it to Ambassador White, then destroy the chip and forget he had ever heard of it. One simple act and the world changed forever.
    After seeing Benton blown up on television, Weigher knew what real power looked like. And he also knew that his power could be taken away as easily as Benton’s life had been taken away.
    It wasn’t long before payment for his sins came due. The day before the President was to be buried in New Jersey, his private telephone rang. Weigher had been about to end his workday and go home. They were burying Benton the next day, so he would need to be up early for the ride to Jersey. The ringing stopped him at the door. His private telephone number was known to only three people, so, when it rang, it gave him a feeling of dread. No good news ever came over that telephone line.
    Senator Weigher picked up the telephone. “Yes, I know who it is.”
    …“Yes, I read the transcripts from the bug on Tom Warring’s phone.”
    …“No, I didn’t know anything about a journal until I got the transcript.”
    …“Are you sure that’s wise?”
    …“I agree there are a lot of loose ends that need cleaning up, but I’m not sure this is the best way to go about it. Okay. If you say so, I can promise you Mr. Warring’ll not make it to Russia.”
    …“Okay, the professor too.”
    …“Yes, don’t worry, I’ve got the right men for the job.”
    …“I’ll keep you informed. Goodbye.”
    That should have been the end of his dealings in this matter, but once you sell your soul to the Devil, he owns you.
    The President was one thing – he had to go – but those other people? Weigher had never liked the idea of so many dead people on his doorsteps, and now the President was looking into this business with SEAL Team 5. Why were Thad Johnson and Jac Truborn upset about the SEAL team? Well, he still held a trump card – he just might win the game yet.
    The ringing of the telephone made Weigher jump. It was his private line again. Damn, would it never end?
    “Yes, I know who it is.”
    ...“I didn’t tell the fool to try and kill the VP. I just gave him a heads-up to get underground. You’re the one who told me the VP was going over to pick up Zmarak. If you didn’t want me to warn him, why did you even call?”
    …“No, there is no way anything can come back to me. Thad Johnson can look all he wants. I’ll have his people going in circles. Everything is covered on my end, but I think Zmarak needs to go.”
    …“If you say it’s taken care of, then I’ll put him out of my mind.”
    …“Thank you, it’s good speaking to you, too.”
    Weigher put the telephone down and walked to his office’s small bar. He got a glass and poured some bourbon into it. He drank the bourbon, poured another, and walked back to his desk. He needed to get out of the business, go home, sit on him porch, and let the world go by.
    Robert “Bo” Weigher put his feet on his desk, took another drink, and dreamed of more peaceful days.

Chapter 34. Ambassador White

Thad had just got word that his Vice-President was on the way to Walter Reed. He had a piece of metal in his leg and two blown eardrums. “Mad” couldn’t describe the rage Thad was feeling. The report forwarded from Max had said they were set up and the Afghans were waiting on them. Did these people think they could attack his White House and there be no repercussion?
    The report was impossible to believe – it was hard for Thad to think of an American selling out his country like that. Who knew? Who was the leak? Thad had told no one about the mission. He was sure Max wouldn’t tell anyone. So how did they know they were coming?
    The people who knew about the mission were few, and most of them were now dead. He would find out who it was that sold out the VP to be killed. He didn’t know who they were, but once he found them…By God, heads would roll.
    The intercom broke Thad’s line of thought. “Mr. President, Mr. Truborn is on your private line. Shall I put him through, sir?”
    “Yes, please…Hello, Jac.”
    “Thad, I just heard about Max.”
    “Damn, Jac, I just got the report. How the hell did you find out?”
    “When the Vice-President is almost killed, it’s hard to keep that secret. From what I understand, when that soldier saw that silver-plated .45 of Max’s, he almost shit himself.”
    “Jac, I’ve got to get to the bottom of this. When they came after Max they attacked the White House. If this stink is left over from Benton…I’ll find the bastards.”
    “Thad, please wait until you’ve had time to calm down before you start doing anything. Get the full report. This may have nothing to do with the VP. The ambush may have been set for some other purpose and Max walked into something unknowingly.”
    “If Max said he was ambushed, I have to believe he was ambushed, Jac. Someone in the government is playing a dangerous game, and I will find them sooner or later. Have you spoken with Rubin yet?”
    “Yes, we met last night for dinner.”
    “Are you going to be able to help him?”
    “I don’t know. I told him as I will tell you now. I don’t see it being possible for anyone to have that kind of control, but I am looking into it all the same.”
    “Well, thank you for helping, Jac. I need to plug this hole before something happens that will endanger world peace. How do I know that next time it is not a nuke being sent someplace instead of a SEAL team? But I promise I will not do anything that will make me a laughingstock on the Hill. However, I will not let this rest until someone is in jail or dead.”
    “Give it a day or two and it will more than likely work itself out. In the meantime, if there is someone out there to find, I’ll find them for you.”
    “I’ll talk to you again soon, Jac. Look after my brother.”
    “I’ll do that.”
    Thad put the telephone down and couldn’t help but wonder, that was a strange conversation. Thad knew Jac well enough to know he wasn’t the kind of person to sit back and wait on anything. So why would he advise Thad to do nothing?
    Thad extracted the CIA file on Ambassador White; something was going to have to be done about White – but what?
    Thad opened the file and began to read the CIA report on his ambassador. Thad had asked for and gotten what he felt was a full background report.

Ambassador Thomas White:
    Under President Benton, Thomas White, at age sixty, has been able to fulfill his lifelong dream. Although he came from old New England money like President Benton, he doesn’t show the appetite for the fame and rigors of public office. Ambassador to the UN is something Thomas believes to be a higher calling than a public servant and after all that is all he thinks the President is. It may be at the top of the food chain, but to White, it is still public service.
    As ambassador, he is among his peers. He loves the attention, the title, and the magnificent feeling he gets as he is introduced to the elite of the world. He lives for the dinner parties and the private gatherings on the yachts from around the world. However, more than all these things, he loves the way people hang on every word he speaks.
Thad was wondering what kind of report they had on him.
    At sixty, White still has the body of a thirty or forty-year-old and for the first time in his life, he has a job that gives him a sense of being his own man. When playing tennis, White is capable of running opponents into the ground. Women of all age groups are attracted to the ambassador; his charismatic ways with the ladies border on becoming legendary.
    Ambassador White’s need for recognition is close to paranoia and could make him unstable in the future.
    White expressed a concern to one of our agents that some of the illegal dealings the past administration was pulling overseas would become known. If that happened the Benton administration would go down, but so would White’s ambassadorship.
    White met with Cahill and we believe he passed him a large folder. They spoke very little to each other and Cahill hadn’t looked into the folder that our agent could see. Cahill left and we lost interest in him until the bombing. Sometime after the DNA ID’d Cahill as the bomber, White received pictures from us of him and Cahill. We waited but there was no reaction from White.
    Thad felt sorry for White. He was a good ambassador, but a pathetic excuse for a man. The Russians, and whoever was behind Benton’s murder, had White in their back pocket. Thad knew White would have to go. He could prove to be a danger to the country. However, Thad didn’t think White had the will power or expertise to move a SEAL team around the world. That took someone with knowledge of how the military operated.
[Editor’s Note: The novel from which these excerpts are taken can be ordered from Amazon, as either a paperback or a Kindle book.]

Copyright © 2017 by Ed Rogers

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