Threat Vector, p.1Tom Clancy
ALSO BY TOM CLANCY
The Hunt for Red October
Red Storm Rising
The Cardinal of the Kremlin
Clear and Present Danger
The Sum of All Fears
Debt of Honor
The Bear and the Dragon
The Teeth of the Tiger
Dead or Alive
Against All Enemies
Submarine: A Guided Tour Inside a Nuclear Warship
Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment
Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing
Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit
Airborne: A Guided Tour of an Airborne Task Force
Carrier: A Guided Tour of an Aircraft Carrier
Into the Storm: A Study in Command
with General Fred Franks, Jr. (Ret.), and Tony Koltz
Every Man a Tiger: The Gulf War Air Campaign
with General Chuck Horner (Ret.) and Tony Koltz
Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces
with General Carl Stiner (Ret.) and Tony Koltz
with MARK GREANEY
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Published simultaneously in Canada
MAPS COPYRIGHT © 2012 JEFFREY L. WARD
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
ALSO BY TOM CLANCY
United States Government
JOHN PATRICK “JACK” RYAN: President of the United States
ARNOLD VAN DAMM: the President’s chief of staff
ROBERT BURGESS: secretary of defense
SCOTT ADLER: secretary of state
MARY PATRICIA FOLEY: director of national intelligence
COLLEEN HURST: national security adviser
JAY CANFIELD: director of the Central Intelligence Agency
KENNETH LI: U.S. ambassador to China
ADAM YAO: operations officer, National Clandestine Service, Central Intelligence Agency
MELANIE KRAFT: reports officer, Central Intelligence Agency (on loan to Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
DARREN LIPTON: senior special agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Branch, Counterintelligence Division
United States Military
ADMIRAL MARK JORGENSEN: United States Navy, commander Pacific Fleet
GENERAL HENRY BLOOM: United States Air Force, commander United States Cyber Command
CAPTAIN BRANDON “TRASH” WHITE: United States Marine Corps, F/A-18C Hornet pilot
MAJOR SCOTT “CHEESE” STILTON: United States Marine Corps, F/A-18C Hornet pilot
CHIEF PETTY OFFICER MICHAEL MEYER: United States Navy, SEAL Team Six element leader
GERRY HENDLEY: director of Hendley Associates/director of The Campus
SAM GRANGER: director of operations
JOHN CLARK: operations officer
DOMINGO “DING” CHAVEZ: operations officer
DOMINIC CARUSO: operations officer
SAM DRISCOLL: operations officer
RICK BELL: director of analysis
TONY WILLS: analyst
GAVIN BIERY: director of information technology
WEI ZHEN LIN: president of the People’s Republic of China/general secretary of the Communist Party of China
SU KE QIANG: chairman of the Central Military Commission of China
WU FAN JUN: intelligence officer, Ministry of State Security, Shanghai
DR. TONG KWOK KWAN, aka “CENTER”: computer network operations director of Ghost Ship
ZHA SHU HAI, aka “FastByte22”: Interpol-wanted cybercriminal
CRANE: Leader of “Vancouver Cell”
HAN: factory owner and high-tech counterfeiter
VALENTIN OLEGOVICH KOVALENKO: Ex–SVR (Russian foreign intelligence) assistant rezident of London Station
TODD WICKS: territory sales manager of Advantage Technology Solutions
CHARLIE “DARKGOD” LEVY: amateur hacker
DR. CATHY RYAN: wife of President Jack Ryan
SANDY CLARK: wife of John Clark
DR. PATSY CLARK: wife of Domingo Chavez/daughter of John Clark
EMAD KARTAL: ex–Libyan intelligence officer, communications specialist
These were grim days for former operatives of the Jamahiriya Security Organization, the dreaded national intelligence service of Libya under Moammar Gaddafi. Those members of the JSO who had managed to survive the revolution in their home nation were now scattered and in hiding, fearing the day when their cruel and brutal past would catch up with them in a cruel and brutal way.
After the fall of Tripoli to Western-backed rebels the year before, some JSO operatives had remained in Libya, hoping that by changing their identities they would save themselves from reprisal. This rarely worked, as others knew their secrets and were all too happy to finger them to revolutionist headhunters, either to settle old scores or to win new favors. Gaddafi’s spies in Libya were rounded up wherever they hid, tortured, and then killed; in other words, they were treated no worse than they deserved, though the West had held out some naive hope that fair trials for past crimes would be the order of the day when the rebels took power.
But no, mercy did not follow Gaddafi’s death any more than mercy had preceded it.
Meet the new boss, same as the old.
The smarter JSO spies made it out of Libya before capture, and some went to other African nations. Tunisia was close, but it was hostile to former spies of the Mad Dog of the Middle East, a fitting nickname bestowed on Gaddafi by Ronald Reagan. Chad was desolate and similarly unwelcoming to the Libyans. A few made it into Algeria and a few more into Niger, and in both places they found some measure of security, but as guests of these dirt-poor regimes their future prospects were severely limited.
One group of former Jamahiriya Security Organization operators, however, fared better than the rest of their hunted colleagues because they possessed a marked advantage. For years this small cell of spies had been working not just in the interests of the Gaddafi regime, but also for their own personal enrichment. They accepted after-hours work for hire, both in Libya and abroad, doing odd jobs for organized criminal elements, for Al-Qaeda, for the Umayyad Revolutionary Council, even for the intelligence organizations of some other Middle Eastern nations.
In this work the group had suffered losses even before the fall of their government. Several had been killed by American operators a year before Gaddafi’s death, and during the revolution several more died at the port of Tobruk in a NATO airstrike. Two others were captured boarding a flight out of Misrata and burned with electric shocks before being hung naked from meat hooks at the market. But the cell’s seven surviving members did make it out of the country, and even though their years of extracurricular assignments had failed to make them rich men, when it came time to jump like rats from the ship called the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, their international connections helped keep them safe from the rebels back home.
The seven made their way to Istanbul, Turkey, where they were sponsored by elements in the local underworld who owed them a favor. Soon two of their number left the cell and went into honest work. One became a jewelry store security guard and the other found a job in a local plastics factory.
The other five remained in the spy game, and they farmed themselves out as a highly experienced unit of intelligence professionals. They also attempted to focus on both their personal security and their operational security, knowing that only by maintaining strict PERSEC and OPSEC could they be safe from the threat of reprisals from agents of the new government of Libya, just across the Mediterranean Sea.
This attention to security kept them safe for a few months, but complacency returned, one of their number grew overconfident, and he did not do as he was told. In a breach of PERSEC, he contacted an old friend in Tripoli, and the friend, a man who had switched allegiance to the new government to keep his head attached to his neck, reported the contact to Libya’s new and fledgling intelligence service.
Though Tripoli’s new crop of spies was excited by the news that a collection of their old enemies had been tracked to Istanbul, they were in no position to act on the intel. Infiltrating a team into a foreign capital with a kill/capture objective was no move for a rookie agency just finding its way around its new building.
But another entity intercepted the information, and it had both the means and the motive to act.
Soon the Istanbul cell members of former JSO operatives became targets. Not targets of the Libyan revolutionaries looking to eradicate the last vestiges of the Gaddafi regime. Not targets of a Western intelligence agency looking to settle scores with members of a former enemy spy shop.
No, the five Libyans became targets of an off-the-books assassination team from the United States of America.
More than a year earlier, a member of the JSO cell had shot and killed a man named Brian Caruso, the brother of one of the Americans, and a friend of the rest. The shooter had died soon after, but his cell lived on, surviving the revolution, and now they flourished in their new lives in Turkey.
But Brian’s brother and Brian’s friends did not forget.
Nor did they forgive.
The five Americans had been lying low in the decrepit hotel room for hours, waiting for nightfall.
Sheets of warm rain rapped on the window, generating the majority of the sound in the dim room, as there was little talk among the men. This room had served as the base of operations for the team, though four of the five had stayed at other hotels throughout the city during their weeklong stay. Now that preparations were complete, those four had checked out of their quarters and consolidated their gear and themselves here with the fifth man in their group.
Though they all were still as stones now, they had been a blur of activity over the past week. They had surveilled targets; developed op plans; established covers; memorized their primary, secondary, and tertiary exfiltration routes; and coordinated the logistics of the mission to come.
But preparations were now complete, and there was nothing left to do but sit and wait for darkness.
A rumble of thunder rolled in from the south, a lightning strike far out in the Sea of Marmara illuminated the five statues in the room for an instant, and then the darkness covered them once again.
This hotel was situated in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, and it was chosen as the team safe house due to the courtyard parking for their vehicles and the fact that it was more or less equidistant to where the operations would be carried out later in the evening. The hotel was not, however, chosen for the vinyl bedspreads or the grimy hallways or the surly staff or the stench of pot smoke that wafted up from the you
But the Americans did not complain about their accommodations; they thought only of their tasks ahead.
At seven p.m. the leader of the cell looked down to the chronograph on his wrist; it was fastened over bandaging that covered his entire hand and a portion of his forearm. As he stood up from a wooden chair, he said, “We’ll head out one at a time. Five-minute separation.”
The others—two seated on a bed speckled with rat shit, one leaning against the wall by the door, and one more standing by the window—all nodded.
The leader continued. “I sure as hell do not like splitting up the op like this. This is not how we do business. But frankly . . . circumstances dictate our actions. If we don’t do these mutts damn near simultaneously, word will get out and the roaches will scatter in the light.”
The others listened without responding. They’d been over this a dozen times in the past week. They knew the difficulties, they knew the risks, and they knew their leader’s reservations.
Their leader’s name was John Clark; he’d been doing this sort of thing since before the youngest of the men on his team had been born, so his words carried weight.
“I’ve said it before, gentlemen, but indulge me one more time. No points for style on this one.” He paused. “In and out. Quick and cold. No hesitation. No mercy.”
They all nodded again.
Clark finished his speech and then slipped a blue raincoat over his three-piece pinstripe suit. He stepped over to the window and reached out with his left hand, shaking the offered left hand of Domingo “Ding” Chavez. Ding was dressed in a three-quarter-length leather coat and a heavy watch cap. A canvas bag lay at his feet.
Ding saw perspiration on his mentor’s face. He knew Clark had to be in pain, but he’d not complained all week. Chavez asked, “You up for this, John?”
Clark nodded. “I’ll get it done.”
John then reached a hand out to Sam Driscoll, who stood up from the bed. Sam was dressed in a denim jacket and jeans, but he also wore knee and elbow pads and, on the bed next to where he’d been sitting, a black motorcycle crash helmet lay on its side.
“Mr. C.,” Sam said.
John asked, “You ready for the fly swat?”
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