IN THE DARK AND SECRET HEART OF WASHINGTON THERE IS A short and very covert list. It contains the names of terrorists who have been deemed so dangerous to the USA, her citizens and interests that they have been condemned to death without any attempt to be made at arrest, trial or any due process. It is called the ‘kill list’.
Every Tuesday morning in the Oval Office the kill list is considered for possible amendment by the President and six men; never more, never less. Among them are the Director of the CIA and the four-star general commanding the world’s biggest and most dangerous private army. This is J-SOC, which is supposed not to exist.
On a cold morning in spring 2014 a new name was added to the kill list. He was so elusive that even his true name was not known and the huge machine of American counter-terrorism had no picture of his face. Like Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-Yemeni fanatic who preached hate sermons on the internet, who had once been on the kill list and was wiped out by a drone-launched missile in north Yemen in 2011, the new addition also preached online. So powerful were his sermons that young Muslims in the diaspora were converting to ultra-radical Islam and committing murders in its name.
Like Awlaki, the new addition also delivered in perfect English. Without a name, he was known simply as the Preacher.
The assignment was given to J-SOC, whose CO passed it down to TOSA, a body so obscure that ninety-eight per cent of serving US officers have never heard of it.
In fact, TOSA is the very small department, based in Northern Virginia, tasked with hunting down those terrorists who seek to hide themselves from American retributive justice.
That afternoon the Director of TOSA, known in all official communications as Gray Fox, walked into the office of his senior manhunter and laid a sheet upon his desk. It simply bore the words:
The Preacher. Identify. Locate. Destroy.
Under this was the signature of the Commander-in-Chief, the president. That made the paper a presidential executive order, an EXORD.
The man who stared at the order was an enigmatic lieutenant-colonel of the US Marine Corps of forty-five who also, inside and outside the building, was known only by a code. He was called THE TRACKER.
THE KILL LIST
Tasked with what seems like an impossible job is an ex-US marine who has risen through the ranks to become one of America most effective intelligence chiefs. Now known only as The Tracker, he must gather what scant evidence there is, collate it and unmask The Preacher if he is to prevent the next spate of violent deaths. Aided only by a brilliant teen aged hacker, he must throw out the bait and see whether his deadly target can be drawn from his lair.
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