Chapter 63 – The Riots
At the White House nobody was sleeping. Least of all the President, the NSA Director, the Admiral nor Sally Carmichael.
They were together in one of the situations rooms below the White House watching live footage of some of the rioting in New York, Washington, LA, Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans. They were aware that other cities were also experiencing rioting but they only had six screens.
Reluctantly the NSA Director and the Admiral had agreed to allow the President to brief Sally on the Silver man. She was now an insider, and was now speaking while the three men listened.
‘If I had been briefed on Silver Testament I would have never advised the NSA Director to appear live on Greta the Witch live. I know this was done to leap-frog your Presidential nomination, but with a security operation of this magnitude on-going it was far too dangerous.’
The NSA Director and the Admiral shifted uncomfortably in their seats. They disliked being told the truth by a woman, albeit a very attractive woman, in front of their boss and the most powerful man in the world.
The President interjected, ’Sally, it is all very well to be wise after the event, but we now need a strategy to put the genie back in the bottle, and bring some calm, what do we do?’ He pointed at the TV screens, which showed burning buildings, ambulances taking wounded rioters and Police officers to overflowing hospitals.
The rioters threw petrol bombs, and the fired tear gas and used water cannons. Gun-shots could be heard, vehicles were being set on fire and stores looted. Body bags were being lined up.
Sally paced, she had on a low-cut blouse and short skirt. He heels were high, and the pacing was for maximum effect. At last she sat, and faced the President directly. Crossing her long legs, which all the men in the room noticed.
‘I think you need to go on live-TV and say you have appointed a task force to investigate these claims, but in the mean-time everyone should remain calm.’ We then call in a favour with Fox News, and get them to broadcast an interview with Greta to deny her claims.’
‘But what if she won’t do that?’ asked the NSA Director.
Sally leant forward so the President had maximum view of her cleavage, and said, ’Then you need to make her do it.’
She stood and said, ’I’ll make the broadcast arrangements, and she left.’
JC awoke early, and was in their private gym by 5.30 AM. Greta remained asleep, he showered and made tea. They drank it in bed together.
He then went into his study. This was a secure room JC had purpose built that was protected by an electronic Faraday cage that meant eavesdropping was impossible. He turned on the TV and his cell phone, checked the messages, checked his email and played the answer phone messages. He made a note of each message in a moleskin notebook, numbering them. He watched the Headline news on CNN which was dominated by the riots. He muted the volume on the TV and listened on his computer to the latest BBC News bulletin, and as he did so read the on-line edition of the Daily Chronicle.
He then took a separate sheet of thick monogrammed paper from a drawer in his desk and prioritised his actions and calls. He would shred this paper when he was finished with it, and he locked his moleskin notebook in a safe. There were no other papers or unlocked files in the study, he lived by a clean desk policy.
His first call was to Sally Carmichael the White House Press Secretary, who had asked if Greta would do an interview with Fox News. It was now a little before 7 AM, but Sally had left her cell phone number and said to call anytime.
JC and Greta had met Sally several times at different functions, she was a great networker. He remembered her as tall, attractive and flirty. The sort of ‘PR bunny’ he came across all the time. During his time with the Daily Chronicle he had seen all the tricks of the trade, with many of these types offering almost anything to get the right story in a newspaper.
Today though, Sally was very open and professional on the phone. She was not at all flirtatious, but JC realised that the call was probably being recorded.
She filled him in on the rioting and said that the President wanted to ask Greta’s help to appear on TV and ask for calm. JC said he would talk to Greta and call her back.
He went back onto the bedroom, Greta had taken a bath and was dressed in a silk dressing gown applying make-up. She did so with a little girl enthusiasm. Smiling at herself in a vanity mirror. He switched on the TV, and they watched a synopsis of the rioting. He explained what the White House wanted, and she said it would be fine if Cathy did it.
JC called Sally back, and said Greta would do an interview but with a journalist they chose, not Fox News. They haggled a little of times and places, before Sally agreed. Then using a speed dial on his secure desk phone, JC called Cathy Murphy at the Daily Chronicle in London. It was lunch-time there.
Within 2 hours, the private jet lifted off from London City Airport on route to New York. On board was Cathy, Martha her trusted assistant and Bryan with his cameras. As they lifted off the salespeople were already selling the rights, this was going to be the biggest story yet.
After she ended the phone call with JC, Sally typed out her resignation, printed the two line letter, and sealed it in an envelope. She knew she would carry the blame for this situation, but she was going to jump before she was pushed. Worst still the President still hadn’t screwed her.
The NSA Director realised his presidential campaign was over before it had really got started. He also typed out his resignation. Perhaps he thought, I could screw that Sally Carmichael before I have to leave.
The Admiral realised that the NSA Director’s position was untenable; he decided to speak to the President. It was a great opportunity.