Episode 13
Tom Bishop

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Previously in "Saecula:” An elite Republican cabal conspires to steal the 
2008 presidential election. Confronted with devastating poll numbers
from the disasteroud Islamic War, it sets in motion the ultimate October
Surprise, a terrorist attack on the nation.  

Today: Tom Bishop's Private Army

It was only 6:30 in the morning, and already the June humidity in Washington was stifling, hinting
what was in store when the real summer     arrived. Bishop cranked up the AC in his $100,000 
Jaguar XK and thanked the lord he was now fighting terrorism from a plush air conditioned office
in the nation’s capital and not some putrid tropical river port. He had seen the writing on the wall. 
Just because his countrymen were too dim-witted to realize they were bogged down in a colonial 
war against Islamic nationalists they were never going to win didn’t mean he should forego profiting 
from their stupidity. He did his 20 and out, and used his skills and contacts to start up Poseidon 
six years ago.

Bishop had chosen the name of the Greek god of the sea and the company’s trident logo to reflect 
his career as a Navy SEAL. But the more ominous connection was the fact that Poseidon was the 
brother of Zeus, the principal god in the Greek pantheon, and the one ultimately responsible for 
the conduct of war. The symbolism was reflected in the company’s extensive relationships 
throughout a Pentagon that had come to rely heavily on contract firms for paramilitary activities 
in support of U.S. operations in the war zone.

Just as mercenaries, or as they preferred to be called, private security contractors, had assumed 
greater responsibility for special operations from the Pentagon, Poseidon agents had become the 
primary in-country source of clandestine activities for the government. In 1977, Stansfield Turner, 
the newly appointed Director of Central Intelligence, cleansed the agency of its less than reputable 
elements following months of scandalous disclosures of domestic spying and inappropriate collaboration 
with right-wing Latin American dictators. In the following decades, CIA policy wonks had insisted 
that high technology was the future of sleuthing. The ability to read license plates from space was 
impressive during the Cold War but left gaping holes in the new realities of boutique wars and 
terrorism. The CIA’s superior intelligence gathering, using satellite imagery, communications 
intercepts and atmospheric tracking, was not doing the trick.

While the CIA continued to whine about the difficulty of developing “HUMINT,” or human 
intelligence, Poseidon was years ahead of the pitifully few CIA efforts to recruit spies. Its people 
had became indispensable in the war effort -- and were paid very handsomely for their services. 
Bishop’s lieutenants had originally developed an extensive network of covert assets and sources 
as part of its corporate security contracts. The firm had no difficulty finding moonlighting nationals,
although paying them $1000 a day gave it, what Tom Bishop like to smile and call, a slight edge. 
And Poseidon had no qualms or political constraints to ensure its assets were of “good character.” 
Bishop knew if you wanted to find out what was at the bottom of a cesspool, the people who knew 
the answer already stunk.

So his handlers used the worst of the worse; men, and even some women --  although their usefulness 
in the male dominated Muslim world was marginal, except as prostitutes -- who betrayed their fellow 
Jihadists. His controllers knew enough to not trust any of them, and to keep every asset self-contained
so as to not corrupt any of their other sources. They were constantly alert for “dangles,” or double agents, 
but even they could be useful if played properly. For the most part, the feed provided was low-level 
information and details of how al-Qaida cells operated. On anything of significance, two and often three independent verifications were required for Poseidon to treat the intelligence as more than interesting filler.

Not that Poseidon had to eat the exorbitant wages. Although the government was prevented by Congress 
from budgeting top dollar to retain individual specialists, they could hide millions of dollars in hundreds of contracts to private firms. Add in the civilian contracts, that included both specialists as well as truck 
drivers, roustabouts, stevedores and other grunts, and Poseidon actually had more “troops” in the 
Middle East over the past five years than any of America’s purported “coalition” partners. Bishop felt 
more like a field general than a corporate executive, except when his sales force kicked ass, people died. 
Let the Pentagon supply the riflemen and tankers and chopper crews; they were the cannon fodder of war; inexpensive cogs the military could replace for a dime a dozen. His operators were the elites; the best 
trained; the most skilled; and the highest paid. He was truly dismayed that some would have to pay 
the ultimate price to secure the current assignment.

What absolute bureaucratic assholes, Bishop thought. With what Poseidon procured in contracts from the government, the Pentagon and CIA could have pulled off five times as many ops doing it themselves. 
They had high quality personnel right up the chain of command. He knew; he had stolen a lot of them 
away, from sergeants to lieutenant colonels and both combat veterans and spooks. Bishop employed 
nearly 20 talent scouts, as well as paying healthy finders fees to current operators, to identify and 
recruit the best personnel after the American taxpayers had paid millions of dollars to train them. 
The more Bishop recruited, the fewer specialists were available to the military, and the more the 
government relied on the privates. It was a vicious game of musical chairs, and only Bishop had a 
permanent seat, often taking a good sized chunk of the fees before farming out less important jobs 
to the smaller fish. But this contract was to remain completely in-house. In addition to the $20 million 
contract fee, he had given his word to Bob Haney.

Next in "Saecila:" The "Brit" Puts the Plot Into Action

by  Martin Gresko

Interested in publishing this manuscript?
Or to make comments, CONTACT Martin Gresko at VGABONSUN@hotmail.com
See his biweekly political column http://www.StPetePost.com

 back to  bartcop.com





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