The lush and peaceful hills above Fryman Road, in the San
Fernando Valley, were being violated. Close
to two hundred members of the LAPD and Secret Service were swarming over the popular
hiking trails and hillsides like busy little bees. The quiet of the morning was rudely shattered
with the obtrusive chatter of cell phones and walkie-talkies, as the latest Intel
was constantly updated to all agents.
Overhead, the cloudless, blue sky was decorated with news helicopters that
were circling like hungry vultures; intent on a juicy piece of news to increase
their ratings. Police helicopters were hovering and scouring
the area for any possible irregularity or threat. Back on the ground, bomb sniffing dogs had
been employed and were busy investigating every shrub and tree.
It was 7:00 a.m. of the day of the fundraising dinner, and
preparations were well underway for the arrival of the President of the United
States. The cul-de-sac was a hub of
activity, and already littered with police, heavy security, and numerous
catering staff and trucks. News teams
would not be allowed up the hill. No one
was allowed in without a detailed and intensive pre-screening process. The high profile guests and dignitaries would
all be subject to a body search. There
were to be no exceptions.
In spite of all the careful and detailed planning and precautions,
forty-two-year-old White House Executive Security Director, Harry Saunders, was
nervous. And, he was not a nervous man.
The hills and numerous hiking trails surrounding the fundraiser event made for
a logistical nightmare. There were too
many miles of trail, too many places for someone to hide. Even staffed with hundreds of agents and
police, there were too many variables.
But, he had his orders. Seal and secure the area. The second order was harder than the first. Deep in his gut he had a bad feeling. He rubbed the back of his neck. It was going to be a long day.