“SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines” reads the headline in last weekend’s New York Times. My name is listed as a contributor at the end of four pages of derring-do. Because I worked for the Times last year and have no interest in joining the Shit-on-the-New-York-Times Brigade, I have nothing to say about the article itself except to say I’m glad, especially for the reporters, that it finally saw the light of day.
Twice every year, the FBI assembles the National Mission Force for Marble Challenge, a complex inter-agency test of the ability of the blackest parts of the federal government to find and “render safe” a ticking nuclear bomb. It is the domestic counterpart exercise to Vital Archer I wrote about yesterday that takes place in Canada, and a drill that has become more and more sophisticated over the years, folding in not just conventional and unconventional military assets but also scientists from the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the dark, they come in, shielded from public view by a police perimeter and an inner line of uniformed guardians. The target is reserved for the Tier I forces: They’ve practiced hundreds of times, rappelling onto the roof, banging down doors, hop-scotching down corridors, sweeping rooms. When it’s all clear, the scientists are ushered in with their detection gear and their “render safe” machines and tools. The orders are crystal clear: Do everything and anything to get to the nuke before it explodes, take no chances, shoot to kill.
More information has come in on the Invincible series of exercises, following on the Invincible Shield exercise I wrote about yesterday. Two inscrutable documents, called Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPRs), now make reference to Invisible Sentry 15, held at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. The Purchase Requests allocate more than $350,000 to ICE Corp. (Intelligence, Communications and Engineering, Inc.) to prepare the documents and supply role players for this mysterious Joint Special Operations Command war game. One senior inter-agency role player will be paid $24,005.00 to participate. That would be some retired general to "play" a CIA or White House official. Pretty sweet gig for an exercise that only lasted 10 days.