Written by Adediji Abdulwasiu Adeshina
“Transfer of Power” by Vince Flynn serves as my captivating entry point into the Vince series. This fictional novel sheds light on the United States’ most influential leader, who became the primary target of an Islamic terrorist group backed by Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The group aims to eliminate what they perceive as an intrusive outsider meddling in their nation’s affairs.
Set on a bustling morning in Washington, D.C., the attack’s mastermind, Rafique Aziz, a notorious Arab terrorist, and his gang exploit a vulnerability in American politics. Disguised as wealthy campaign contributors, they gain entry to the White House through the front door, unbeknownst to the secret service agent and other top brass security apparatus of impending disaster awaiting America. With the assistance of Piper, a Democratic leader, Rafique Aziz catches the White House off guard and effortlessly gains access to the Oval Office, bypassing security measures.
As the terrorist group threatens to seize control of the state-of-the-art presidential residence, situated in sprawling Washington, D.C., the CIA receives a critical alert from one of its audacious and brilliant agents, Mitch Rapps. Mitch Rapps aims to halt the White House takeover orchestrated by the terrorists, who have already infiltrated strategic positions, including the underground access.
Despite the president’s chief security detail being alerted to the situation, the terrorists’ leader takes control of the executive mansion, resulting in the loss of numerous lives. Prompt action leads to President Hayes being evacuated to an underground bunker by the Secret Service. However, before the evacuation, over a hundred Secret Service agents, marine officers, and civilians were taken hostage.
The international community reacts intensely to the events unfolding in the White House, particularly Israel, which, as a sworn adversary of Iraq and other Arab nations, stands ready to defend its territorial integrity. The demand issued by Saddam Hussein involved the lifting of United Nations sanctions imposed on Iraq and the recognition of Palestine as an independent state. Tensions rise as America faces a potential war if it complies with these demands.
Amidst this chaotic crisis, as per the American constitution, Vice President Baxter takes charge of the nation due to the severed communication with the entire White House caused by the terrorist group. One would expect the new leader to prioritize the welfare of the hostages and rise above petty politics. However, as we know, American politics often runs deeper than meets the eye. It becomes an open secret that the vice president harbors presidential ambitions, leading him to take actions that hinder the rescue attempt. Each decision made by Vice President Baxter is scrutinized in light of his personal ambition, compromising necessary measures, and the American stance of “no negotiation with terrorists.”
With the president rendered incommunicado and Vice President Sherman Baxter, a weak-willed and power-hungry in charge of the nation’s security this rendered the Pentagon and CIA both inefficiency and ineffective to operate at maximum might thus relying on their secret weapon: the exceptional commando Mitch Rapp. Rapp was sneaked into the depths of the Executive Mansion through an air duct by the Pentagon, a move that saw Rapp systematically disrupt the terrorists’ well-orchestrated plans.
In an attempt to buy more time, Rafique Aziz delivered a live press conference to the American people, issuing a threat to blow up the entire more than 150-year-old American White House if the American military attempts to retake it by force. This press conference successfully creates tension and discord among the main players involved, including the military leaders, politicians, and the masses, exacerbating the already volatile situation.
Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s foremost counterterrorism operative, immediately recognizes Aziz’s press conference as a ploy to extend his time to breach the president’s bunker. Rapp swiftly alerts Langley Control Room, requesting reinforcements. Understanding that the president’s safety is not safe as assured as previously believed, one individual, Director of the Secret Service, Roaches, defies the vice president’s orders, realizing that the president is unwilling to authorize the retaking of the White House.
Roaches, a believer in the intelligence and proactivity of Mitch Rapp, convinces the Chief of Joint Security Service and other military chiefs (except for the FBI director) to take control of the crisis but by first finding possible ways to re-establishing communication with the president in other to render Vice President powerless. Thus, the CIA’s top brass goes ahead to challenge Vice President Baxter’s order of “stay put and do nothing” by instructing Mitch to explore ways to reestablish communication with the president in the bunker. A presidential system of government is truly intriguing with inter-power play by the actors.
Navigating the labyrinthine corridors of the White House, Rapp stumbles upon the device used by Aziz and his team to jam communication networks. Disassembling the device discreetly to avoid tipping off the terrorists, Rapp successfully restores communication with the president.
Having successfully re-established communication with the President, the Vice President was sidestepped down and the president was properly briefed by the top security brass of their discovery and the latest happening. The president was confronted with the critical task of safeguarding himself from a potential jailbreak and possibly falling into the hands of the terrorist led by notorious Rafique Aziz, a scenario that could compromise national security, President Hayes weighs his options carefully. Ultimately, he grants the military chiefs permission to storm the White House and regain control, leveraging on the might of the U.S. military and their advanced weaponry, the terrorists are caught off guard, leading to the successful evacuation of the president, his secret service agents, and all the hostages from the bunker and ventilation.
Rafique Aziz and his top adviser Salim Rusan who mastermind the beachof the Whitehouse security measures successfully through a decoy ploy escaped from the Whitehouse unnoticed but as the faith would have it, a month after they were trailed to Brazil through intelligence gathering by the CIA they were exterminated successfully without putting a fight by Mitch Rapp.
Vince Flynn’s vivid descriptions of the White House evoke wonder prompting me to ponder the true existence of secret passageways, concealed rooms, doors underground ducts, and ingenious deception devices that enhance the retake over of the Whitehouse by the secret service agent in this fiction story is truly in place. The U.S. are mile ahead of other nations through years of perfection of its art and politics that makes it politics, arts, and inventions ever-increasing to behold.
God bless God’s Own Land!