Release Date: 01 September 2007
Connecticut Senator Tom Felice, a decent, four-term, highly honored Democratic member of Congress, fights for his life in a private room for high-level politicians at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He is within mere steps of the grievously wounded and mutilated soldiers whom he had betrayed and from which the VIP patients in Ward 72, like the disgraced Senator Felice, are carefully segregated. Felice was snared by French security agencies, invisibly assisted by the Mossad, in a Paris hotel room while accepting a bribe from a Syrian terrorist. Expelled from France as a persona non grata, he suffered a debilitating stroke aboard the US Air Force plane returning him home. Major Monica Howard, a US Army Medical Corps physician with the Felice congressional delegation on the aircraft, skillfully lessens the stroke's potential lethality. A mere few hours earlier, she had colluded with Mossad agents. Back in Washington, Felice's colleagues vote his expulsion from the Senate as the Justice Department files charges against him for abetting terrorism. In Connecticut, a Byzantine plot unfolds, ultimately removing the acting Republican lieutenant governor, Eileen Martino. Only months earlier, she had replaced the former governor whose crimes of corruption led to his imprisonment; crimes in which she is now being incriminated. Martino's political collapse brings to office the next governor in the line of succession, a popular state senate leader, Domenic Guillermo, a Democrat, who appoints Bill Rice, a well-known and Washington-based Connecticut lobbyist, to the seat of the now-resigned Senator Felice. How did it come to this? Senator Felice was induced by Tyler Hendricks, his formerchief of staff, now a lobbyist, to legislate the transfer of a $720 million defense contract from a Utah company, earmarking it to the lobbyist's Canadian client. The contract would provide the US Army with an anabolic steroid for use by US Special Operations troops operating in Iraq and Afghanistan at the every edges of human performance. A terrorist cell operating in Canada dispatches four Syrian doctoral students in the reputable York University molecular biology program to infiltrate the company and contaminate the steroid's preparation with a deadly bacterium. Belatedly, Canadian intelligence and other agencies raid the company, following the French seizure of Senator Felice and his terrorist co-conspirator in Paris. But in Washington, greed, personal ambition and political power beggar troop welfare. Senate Republicans shamelessly exploit their Democratic colleague's humiliation and anticipate a Republican replacement to Senator Felice, a move which would critically alter the margin of Senate control. But House and Senate Democrats from the New England delegation move aggressively in two directions; first cooperating with the party leaders in Connecticut to keep the seat in Democratic hands; then, to transfer the Canadian contract to an Israeli pharmaceutical company which had only recently established operations in Rhode Island and on the Connecticut "pharma" coastline. Curiously, the US lobbyist for the Israeli company is appointed to the Senate seat mere hours after the acting governor quits, her successor sworn in and Senator Felice, now facing life-threatening surgery, resigns. Feckless US and Canadian intelligence agencies are slammed by elected political overseers for theirineptness: they were idle during the scandal, fearing political repercussions incurred from tracking a Senator or interfering with seemingly "normal" business transactions. Nor did Congress' hypocritical scorn of defense contracts with foreign companies matter much in the face of effective lobbying. The story envelops terrorism in greed. Elected political leaders are easily deceived by slick lobbyists who readily exploit their relatively low compensation levels and high-living aspirations. Indirectly, lobbyists seize the reins of elect
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