I first met Agent Billings in November, 2001 while walking in downtown Orlando and dodging the rain. I passed by the entrance to a bank building on Orange Avenue when this middle aged grey headed guy dressed in a raincoat literally leaped out into the rain by my side and said,
"I'm Kevin Billings of the Secret Service -- How are you, Mr. Barbour?"
The other agent, who looked like an adversement for "Charlie Atlas Body Building" stared at us from across the room with arms crossed and very tense posture that announced to me better than words, "Please give me an opportunity to put my considerable martial art skills to work."
I should note that the other patrons in the coffee shop immediately picked up on the fact that they were the audience to a small drama and ceased their quiet conversations while others pretended intense interest in their newspapers and coffee.
"It's a semi-free country; you may sit where you want to, I suppose," I said.
Billings settled into a the small chair opposite me while a puddle of water formed at his feet and continued, "Mr. Barbour, the reason I'm bothering you in a public place is because you have refused all contact with the Secret Service."
"So what? Show me the law that says I have to talk to you. I have nothing but contempt for you and your ilk....So bugger off! Do you not understand? My case was closed by the government about six months ago. Would you like the U.S. Attorney to explain? I have nothing to say. End of story. Fade to black. Get out of my face."
"I understand your position, MISTER Barbour" said Billings rising to his feet and raising his voice. "You should understand our position: You are a Class III subject who will always be montiored by the Secret Service until the day you die. I offer your best option which is cooperation with us. This means that you will call me at least once a week for a chat. Otherwise, be advised that non-cooperation comes with a large price tag. Do you like your job? "
Billings then gave me his card with his name and telephone number. "Think about it. It would be wise if you called me concerning your decision later today." Billings and the large ape-like creature disappeared into the rain. I tore up the card and threw the pieces on the floor.
The audience in the coffee shop cleared their collective throats and went back to their quiet conversations and newspapers as if they had witnessed nothing of importance. This attitude on the part of the ordinary American public reminded of that wly survivor of Nazism and World War II, Sergeant Schultz of "Hogan's Heroes" and his classic lines -- "I see nothing. I hear nothing. I know nothing."
After the departure of the evil twins the rain poured harder and the thunder from lightening was heard, which was not typical of rain storms in Central Florida in November, but is nevertheless a great ending to a scene from the master director in heaven.
A couple of days later I was fired from my job. The alleged reason was a log I didn't fill out properly. I found out later from a former co-worker that my boss received a visit the day before from a "grey headed middle aged guy who was well dressed in a business suit."
I'm not surprised that Billings made it out safe from the Congo.
Perhaps the puppet master wanted all his puppets back undamaged.
From the article: Billings, a 21-year veteran of the Secret Service, retired in February 2004 to become a security consultant. He worked in Iraq before becoming affiliated with Nexia and AQMI. Nexia's Web site lists him on its board of directors and as an executive officer. In the Secret Service, Billings served on the security detail of President George W. Bush in Washington and Houston, and was a member of the agency's elite counterassault team, a SWAT team ready to repel attacks.
"He was one of the best I've ever had. We're keeping our fingers crossed and hope that they do something diplomatically. I'm concerned about him."
Security consultants Joe Robinson and Kevin Billings are coming home. Jim Leusner Sentinel Staff Writer May 27, 2006, 10:13 PM EDT Three security officials taken hostage in the Congo -- including two from the Orlando area -- were released and were on a plane home Saturday night, the company said. Retired Orlando police Capt. Joe Robinson, retired U.S. Secret Service agent Kevin Billings of Maitland and contractor Seth Taylor of San Diego were freed after a probe into their activities as security consultants concluded.
"The boys are released and they are on their way out of the country," Woody Johnson, a spokesman for AQMI Strategy Corp. of Orlando, said late Saturday night. "They are in the air somewhere over Africa."
For security reasons, he would not name their destination. But he said an AQMI jet with a medical team was dispatched to meet them. "I'm ecstatic that he's out of danger and on his way home," said Billings' former boss, Ric Johnson, retired head of the Orlando Secret Service office. "I've been on the phone since last Saturday calling everybody I know and getting people fired up in Washington about it so they could provide whatever assistance necessary."
The men were acting as security consultants for Oscar Kashala, a physician with dual U.S. and Congolese citizenship who is running for president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. "They seem to be very upbeat and have some medical issues," Woody Johnson said, adding that one or more of them may have malaria, an infectious disease transferred to people through mosquito bites. AQMI (pronounced *AK-meeACME) is run by Orlando venture capitalist Frank Amodeo, 45, who incorporated it in October 2004 in Orlando. Congolese government officials had accused the men of plotting to overthrow the west central African government, which was believed to be a politically motivated accusation.
On May 18, Billings and Robinson had boarded a flight to Paris when they were detained with their driver, Taylor. They were initially released, but authorities took their passports and tickets, telling them to return to the airport the next morning, Middleton said. About 3 a.m. they were arrested at a private home. More than 30 people were detained from various locations. Most were employed by the South African company „©Omega Risk Solutions, which was working on several projects in Congo the country including helping AQMI with security logistics for Kashala. Robinson, a married father of two, left Orlando the city after more than 26 years. He retired as a captain with the Orlando Police Department and had served as a driver, bodyguard and law enforcement liaison for Mayors Glenda Hood and Dyer. He was a deputy chief of staff for Dyer when he left in January to do corporate security for Mirabilis Ventures. For years, he had conducted security training seminars and classes on the side for local, state, federal and foreign governments, former colleagues said.
In the Secret Service, Billings served on the security detail of President George W. Bush in Washington and Houston, and was a member of the agency's elite counterassault team, a SWAT team ready to repel attacks. Billings is married and has two teenage daughters.
My case is officially closed by the U.S. Department of Justice since June 26, 2001 at the completion of over four years in prison, three years probation and a heavy fine. However, the SS continues to monitor my activities and as recently as last week involved me in an ugly incident while in performance of my duties at Central Care Mission.
Related Articles On My Blog:
FLORIDA TODAY-March 5, 2000:
THE BARBOUR AFFAIR
BARBOURISM: THE POLITICS OF RONALD BARBOUR
THE NEW AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
THE MEETING WITH CAESAR AT THE PALACE OF CHRIST