A deranged American president wins election with the aid of Russian hacking. Over the following months, he becomes increasingly brutish. His wild, rabid Tweets and tempestuous acts dismay even his closest supporters. He flirts with nuclear disaster. America’s basic democratic foundations are challenged. Yet Congressional leaders refuse to act. Difficult to believe this is real life.
In fact, it’s also the plot of my novel “Deep Strike”.
How does it end? Don’t want to give it all away, but in my book, the hero, Steve Penn, an ex CIA agent, manages to convince Russian president Vasily Kozlov to turn against his former ally, President Stokes. Indeed, Kozlov first threatens to destroy Stokes financially by cancelling hundreds of millions of dollars of loans from Russian banks that have kept Stokes afloat.
Next Kozlov orders his hackers to literally hijack America’s major TV networks. Then, from his office in the Kremlin, Kozlov personally reveals to millions of stunned American viewers the facts of a secret meeting in Iceland he had during the campaign with Walter Stokes, at Stokes request. Here are excerpts from “Deep Strike:”
“You Americans should not be fooled,” said Kozlov. “Your president is not out to benefit America, but only himself. Look. This was five months before the U.S. election.”
The screen was filled by a video of Walter Stokes and Vasily Kozlov with their interpreters sitting across from each other in a teak-paneled library. The scene had been captured by two hidden Russian cameras. “Russian Ambassador’s Residence – Reykjavik, July 8,” read the caption underneath.
The meeting concluded, the two men rose and shook hands. Stokes grinned broadly and clapped Kozlov on the shoulders. “Vasily,” he said, “this is a marvelous deal. It’s going to make both of us very, very rich, You don’t know how much I’m looking forward to showing you around my new spread in Texas. We’ve got a great relationship ahead of us. You can bet on it!”
In the Oval Office, watching the broadcast, Stokes stared in disbelief at the monitors. But all he could do was Tweet.
“All lies, all lies what u hearing from crazy Kozlov. U.S. television has been hijacked. all lies, ALL LIES. @PresStokes
“That is not me. Was never in Iceland. Never. Just actors. Fakefakefake @PresStokes
“Following that meeting,” continued the Russian president, “our security services informed me that President Stokes employed the services of three local prostitutes in the most lascivious manner. We have tape of that as well as similar shameful erotic excesses of the man who has become your president. We are making those tapes available on Wiki Leaks.”
“Klepto Kozlov” is lying, folks. Tape is a fraud! Not true! Believe me. All the tapes are frauds. Don’t believe a word! DISGUSTING! @PresStokes”
“What can you Americans do about this?” Kozlov looked gravely at the camera, “It is not for me to interfere in your…”
Suddenly the monitors in the Oval Office were filled with visual static and went black for a couple of seconds. When the programming resumed, it was the normally scheduled broadcasts.
There again on CNN was Wolf Blitzer: “We are back after an incredibly successful Russian takeover of America’s major broadcasts. This has been an amazing fifteen minutes. We are putting together a panel of experts to discuss what this all means. Meanwhile…”
In his Kremlin office, Kozlov turned from the camera, a grim smile on his lips. He had destroyed Stokes. Now to deal with his own opposition.
In the Oval Office, despite his closest advisor’s attempts to restrain him, Stokes was still venting his rage.
By attacking America’s President, Klepto Kozlov is attacking our beautiful country itself. We will not stand for it KOZLOV BEWARE!@PresStokes
Either Klepto Kozlov retracts lies & undoes thievery of his hackers, or I take action. No weapon is off the table! Not even the nukes. @PresStokes…
In Corridor Nine of the E Ring of the Pentagon, in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Colonel Arnold Lawson, tasked with monitoring social media, forwarded the latest flurry of presidential Tweets to Admiral Len Coop, chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
“Shit,” said Coop. He shot off a message to the other four Chiefs: “Looks like what we were concerned about is actually happening. Meet in the Tank in five minutes. Bring only yourselves.” [[
And the Tweets continued:
KleptoKozlov don’t forget who is world’s strongest nuclear power. Don’t screw with us. USA.USA!@PresStokes
In a frenzied daze, Stokes hit a key to begin another Tweet. Nothing happened. He pounded the key again. Still nothing. A notice came up: “Your Twitter account is no longer active. Contact Twitter.com/admin.” …
A “BREAKING NEWS” alert, suddenly appeared on CNN. It was CNN Pentagon correspondent Jim Dreyfuss. “Wolf, I’ve just been informed that all commanders of U.S. nuclear forces have been instructed by Admiral Len Coop, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to execute no orders from the president unless those orders are first confirmed by the chairman himself. We are…”
The reporter paused for a moment to listen to a message in his earpiece. “Excuse me Wolf, but things are breaking real fast here. The chairman has also just ordered all U.S. military units on full alert. No troop movements to occur without specific authorization of the chairman. General officers known to be sympathetic to Stokes are being relieved of their commands. Chairman Coop has also apparently been in touch with his Russian counterparts to ensure that calm is maintained on both sides. That’s all at this point, Wolf, but obviously this is a very fast moving situation.”
[Meanwhile, our hero Steve Penn] put in an encrypted call to Republican Senator Bill Gurd in the Rayburn Building, one of the Senate’s more honorable members, but one who had also been fearful of acting.]
“Jesus,” said’ Steve, “It sounds like a military coup.”
“At least a partial one,” said Gurd. “I just spoke with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He put in a conference call to me and the other leadership. Gave us an ultimatum. Either we act and get rid of Stokes, and at least preserve the façade of civilian government or the military will do it themselves.”
“So what’s stopping you?” said Steve.
“Most of the leadership is ready to act,” said Gurd. “But a few are still holding out. The White House is threatening to release some pretty strong, embarrassing stuff that could be used against some of us-- personal sex lives, finances, etc. Stuff the Russians hacked from the Republican National Committee prior to the elections. They’d been holding onto it for something like this.”
“Blackmail? This late in the game?”
“Exactly,” said Gurd.”
If you’re interested in finding out how things end, I invite you to read “Deep Strike”—available in Kindle or soft-cover formats on Amazon.