Terrorist in America? Bad Form, old boy.

Screen Shot 2016-01-09 at 10.50.54 AMIn my 5th novel and 3rd bestseller, Give Us This Day, my hero, Brooke Burrell is trying to stop a impending and devastating ISIS attack on New York City, but she is halted in her chase of the bad guys in order to appear in Federal Court to answer charges of illegal government profiling of suspected terrorist. Now, as an author when you go there in a novel, you best know of from what you write. That means research.

Here’s why you should never research. Nightmares! Because real life is much scarier than my book could ever be. In fact, since 2014 the government admits to have captured or killed 113 people implicated in terrorist plots in the United States. HUH? Did you read about this? Was this the lead story on the day I was on vacation? Nearly 6 times the number of terrorist who perpetrated 9-11 were caught or killed since 2014!

Some of them, had travel histories and social media postings that all but said, “Hey, stupid American, look over here, I am going to destroy you, your family and your country.”

Yet in spite of the most expansive immigration and border control systems and budgets of all the countries in the world, at least 113 potential mass murderers waltzed through the system on the way to their dance of death.

Just like Brook Burrell faces in my book, the federal government’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies are caught between our sacred constitution, with it’s civilian protections, and the threat poised by those who intentionally defeat our screening system.

If I wrote how these 113 did it, how they infiltrated, invaded and successfully evaded our federal government’s defensive apparatus as part of a book, no editor would buy it, no reader would believe it and no one would ever read one of my books again.

But here’s the unbelievably scary reality; these intenders of death and destruction eluded our defenses, not by some novel way of avoiding detection using skillful spy craft, or James Bond styled, electronic evasion; where they passed an electronic device over a scanner, thus jamming it and walking through our national front door.

No, they are here, aiming their sights on you, me and the country we love, because they checked the “No” box on the official questionnaire that is the paper document which is all that stands between your family and death by terrorist attack…QUESTION 38

The congress just approved funding to allow 170,000 migrants from countries – known to have been visited – by most all of the 113 to enter our shores. Of those I am as sure as the government that those of them coming here to kill us will surely be stopped at the border by Federal Form  DS-156U.S. Department of State Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form to the United States of America. Question 38(C): “Do you seek to enter the United States to engage in export control violations, subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose?” Check one: yes/no.

That’s it! Just check the “NO” box and you are good to go! BUT read the fine print at the bottom: A “YES” doesn’t automatically signify ineligibly!!!! What a great country… to bomb. But let not your heart be troubled, the system does work – kind of– as the government recently revealed after one migrant was found to be a terrorist; “(he) swore untruthfully on his formal application when applying to become a naturalized U.S. citizen,” See they eventually found out… (all comfy now?)

Sounds like Fiction? Well, It’s Only Fiction… ‘Till It Happens that untruthful bit of genius, that effective means of evasion which defeated and outsmarted our state department’s “State of the ARK” detection system is exactly the same box the San Bernardino terrorists checked off on their entry form as well as the Boston Bombers, the 9-11 hijackers. Add to that the countless other’s, some American citizens, who have similar suspicious travel records and social postings of the likes of, Edward Archer, who yesterday fired 13 shots a Philadelphia policeman and later admitted to authorities he did it as an act of terror for ISIS.

Folks, if I wrote all this in a book, nobody’d believe it.

Post Script: Amazingly, Officer Jesse Hartnett, survived this latest terrorist attack on American soil.

Post Post Script: Also, notice that this computerized U.S. form specifically calls out Nazi’s (1930’s and 40’s) but not Al-Qaeda, ISIS or any other known terrorist organization of today – a form adapted to be filled out on a computer after 9/11/01!!!

Marginal Notes on Benghazi

On page 130 of my novel, The Hammer of God, the Ambassador to Egypt is kidnapped. This becomes the center issue of a dramatic debate, which is, I am sure, as old as terror and as fresh as yesterday:  Do you negotiate with terrorists?

As I was writing the scenes that take place in the Oval Office, the words got heated between the Secretary of State and the President. Both entrenched in their diametrically opposed positions, with the President not wanting to accede to the kidnapping and thereby instantly create an open season on US Ambassadors worldwide, while the Sec State wanted some back channel trade to release a mastermind terrorist that America was holding – in a super-max in the middle of the country.  To help me keep the beats of this ethical dilemma straight, I made a note: “The President is saving all future Ambassadors, the Sec State is trying to save the current one.”  This sub-textual motivation helped me keep the arguments between my characters aligned.

Yesterday, I was cleaning my desk, and found my notes from the blog I wrote, “Benghazi and Impotence”. Posted on September 15, 2012, when I ran across something that, even though I had seen, had no meaning on Sept. 15th but I believe does today.  I will attempt to retype it as I wrote it in marginal chicken-scratch of my early 2010 draft of my novel (pictured below).

The writing process: Plot twists and chicken-scratch.

“DS inside plot SS .  Take Amb, trade Sheik, back ch.  B&R disobey ‘unmolest’. Start real FF w/Friendlies.” Bring back CS to unc? Does JeA have GF?”

Okay, so that’s how I really write (misspellings and all) and it even took me a minute to decipher what I jotted down two years ago, here’s the handy-dandy index:

DS inside Plot SS – The kidnapping of the Ambassador was a plot hatched within the Diplomatic Security Service at the Direction of the Sec State. The plan was to force to force a back channel, out-of-the-news prisoner exchange of the Ambassador for a terrorist mastermind Sheik who was caught and held in America.

Continue reading “Marginal Notes on Benghazi”