During the Los Angeles nuclear attack conspiracy of Day 2, a cabal inside the US federal government (which included NSA Director Roger Stanton, Michigan senator Bruce Gluck, and Colonel Ron Samuels from Fort Benning) allowed Middle Eastern terrorist cell Second Wave to smuggle a nuclear bomb into the United States. The terrorists planned to detonate it over downtown Los Angeles, but before they could do that, the conspirators would dispatch a black ops unit to locate and secure the bomb at the last possible second. This was all in an effort to radically alter the David Palmer administration's defense policy.
However, this was only part of a larger plan orchestrated by a consortium of oil industrialists (including Max, Alexander Trepkos, and Peter Kingsley), who had their mole in the black ops unit kill all the members of the team, thus ensuring the detonation of the bomb. The conspirators also forged evidence that implicated three Middle Eastern countries (including Afghanistan) in the attack. This would prompt a US military retaliation, which in turn would quadruple the value of the consortium's oil holdings in the Caspian Sea.
Origins and planningEdit
Dissident faction Edit
Just over a year after President David Palmer's taking office, there were already members within his administration who were allying against him. Among them was NSA Director Roger Stanton, who was formulating a plot to impose his own policies. For six months prior to Day 2, Stanton and ex-wife of Palmer, Sherry, have been communicating by phone, email, and even face-to-face meetings at a hotel in Hilton Head. Stanton sought her help with identifying like-minded individuals within the administration that could be recruited into his conspiracy. Still resentful of her and David's divorce a year earlier, Sherry agreed to help him.
Some time later, Stanton came into contact with American businessman Peter Kingsley. At this point, Kingsley was well aware of a Second Wave plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles, and both he and Stanton planned to use this to their advantage. They, along with Senator Bruce Gluck, Colonel Ron Samuels, and Sherry Palmer, conspired to allow the terrorists to not only smuggle the bomb into the US but also attempt to detonate it. However, an NSA-funded, covert task force at the conspirators' command—Coral Snake—would be monitoring the terrorists' every move. Then, moments before its detonation, the commandos would move in and secure the bomb without incident, for which the conspirators would receive all the credit. This supposedly would have led to a paradigm shift in US defense policy, underscoring the need for more resources to better combat terrorism.
The Cyprus recording Edit
Although Kingsley assured his co-conspirators that the bomb would never go off, he was actually working at the behest of an oil consortium which included himself, German arms dealer Max, and his intermediary, Alexander Trekpos. Their true goal was to start a war between the US and the Middle East, which would greatly benefit their oil interests in the Caspian Sea. To achieve this, Kingsley hired computer programmer Alex Hewitt to forge an audio recording of Second Wave's ringleader, Syed Ali, conspiring to bomb Los Angeles with high-ranking government officials from three Middle Eastern countries. Kingsley also had Hewitt create recordings of a number of his phone conversations, including those he has had with Sherry Palmer.
Four months before Day 2, Kingsley had Jonathan Wallace, the Coral Snake captain in his employ, infiltrate Ali's safe house in Cyprus and plant the recording. The safe house would inevitably be raided during the day of the attack, and upon discovery of the recording, the US would have no choice but to declare war on the three countries.
Wallace, who led the unit that would track and later intercept the bomb, was also tasked with ensuring its detonation by any means necessary. As an insurance policy, he planted a data chip—which contained proof that the Cyprus recording was fake—in his skin, unaware that Kingsley's men had placed a tracking device on it.
Reactivation of OPCOM Edit
A month prior to Day 2, Roger Stanton issued an eyes only order that the NSA reactivate OPCOM, an old CIA backchannel communications network, over twenty years after it was shut down. Stanton used this to secretly communicate with Colonel Samuels, who commandeered the Coral Snake unit out of Fort Benning.
The bomb enters the United States Edit
Just weeks before Day 2, Second Wave initiated its plot to bomb Los Angeles. Stanton deliberately allowed the terrorists to sneak the bomb through customs; he also made sure they could operate freely on US soil. At the same time, a seven-man Coral Snake detachment, led by Captain Jonathan Wallace, was shadowing the terrorists from the moment they entered the country. Their orders were to intercept the bomb at the last possible moment, but Wallace—who was secretly working for the oil consortium—planned to turn on his men and kill them in order to ensure its detonation.
Timeline of events Edit
Sabotage of bomb search efforts Edit
At 8:02am, the CIA learned that a rogue nuclear device would be detonated in Los Angeles by the end of the day. President David Palmer was immediately pulled from a fishing trip with his son, Keith, and moved to the Northwest Regional Operations Complex to be briefed on the situation. NSA was heading up the search for the bomb and was coordinating with CTU Los Angeles, DoD, CIA, FBI, and local police. NSA Deputy Director Eric Rayburn ordered CTU to bring in former agent Jack Bauer—who was once undercover with a domestic terrorist cell connected to Second Wave—to assist in the search.
At 12:07pm, Roger Stanton arrived at the OC following Rayburn's dismissal for insubordination. In an effort to ensure that the Coral Snake commandos would be the ones who intercept the bomb, Stanton made several attempts to impede the government's search operation.
Murder of Afghan ambassador Edit
At 12:21pm at his presidential retreat, President Palmer, along with his advisor Lynne Kresge and Roger Stanton, met with an ambassador and a high-ranking security officer from Afghanistan, where Second Wave was known to operate. Shareef expressed his country's desire to assist in preventing the attack, and he and Salim requested that the president share with them any intelligence documents pertaining to suspected terrorism in their country.
Stanton was openly opposed to this, stating that sharing such information would expose their own agents in the region, but Palmer insisted that the country could prove helpful in stopping the attack. He then had any information in the files that would expose their agents removed and passed the revised documents off to the ambassador; he also ordered NSA to monitor how the country used their intelligence. However, Stanton had one or more of his co-conspirators sabotage the ambassador's helicopter before it left the retreat. Shortly before 12:57pm, the chopper carrying Shareef and Farhad Salim crashed in an apparent accident, killing everyone on board.
None of the files were found among the wreckage. Palmer ordered an independent investigation to be set up, believing someone on the inside to be behind the crash.
Military evacuation of Los Angeles Edit
Between noon and 1pm, Roger Stanton ordered an evacuation of all military personnel and resources out of Los Angeles, knowing that such an order would start a panic and in turn hinder the government's search efforts for the bomb. Sherry Palmer arrived at the retreat at approximately 1:04pm to inform her ex-husband of the order for the evacuation. David had Lynne look into the matter, and she later found out that there indeed was an order and that it was issued by Stanton. When David confronted him about this, he claimed that he was only acting on information given to him by Eric Rayburn and that he assumed that David had authorized it. After apologizing for his "mistake," Stanton was ordered by the president to assist Lynne in calling off the evacuation.
David would meet with Sherry again at 1:35pm; it was then that she warned him of a cabal inside his administration that was conspiring to take control of his presidency. She offered her assistance in finding out who was involved, to which David acquiesced. Unbeknownst to Palmer, Sherry was actually in league with Stanton and his co-conspirators; she was only helping the president so she could gradually regain his confidence, which the conspirators would then take advantage of.
Ron Wieland's release Edit
Earlier that day, national affairs correspondent Ron Wieland learned that President Palmer had raised the alert level and was operating out of the OC; he was scheduled to give a live report about a potential terrorist threat at noon. Palmer, believing such a rumor would create mass hysteria, met with him at 9:54am and asked him to hold off on the report. Although Wieland said he would consider it, the president had one of his Secret Service agents, Richard Armus, escort Wieland to a holding room where he was detained indefinitely.
However, Armus was also secretly in league with the conspirators. At approximately 3:38pm, he, under orders from Roger Stanton, opened the door to Ron Wieland's holding room and escorted him off the premises to his freedom. The journalist would then go public with the terrorist threat as well as the president's having him detained. Secret Service attempted to locate Armus following his treachery, but to no avail. Palmer was then convinced that whoever was conspiring against him was determined to prevent him from finding the bomb in time.
Downing of Jack Bauer's flight Edit
While undercover with Joseph Wald's terrorist militia, Jack Bauer uncovered a link between the Second Wave terrorists and Nina Myers, the CTU mole who murdered his wife. Nina, now, in prison for her crimes, was brought into CTU for questioning. After successfully negotiating for a presidential pardon, she gave CTU the whereabouts of one of the key orchestrators of the attack, Mamud Rasheed Faheen. Jack, along with Nina and a team of CTU field agents, flew to Visalia and apprehended Faheen. On the flight back, Nina managed to get the location of Second Wave's ringleader, Syed Ali and, by extension, the bomb out of him.
Meanwhile, Roger Stanton, who had access to the plane's flight plan, ordered a Coral Snake detachment to shoot it down and kill any survivors. At 3:59pm, the plane carrying Jack and Nina was hit by a surface-to-air missile and crashed into a remote area minutes later. The only survivors were Jack, Nina, and Rick Phillips.
At 4:31pm, a team of Coral Snake commandos arrived at the crash site and began searching for survivors. Jack witnessed the team's leader executing Phillips and subsequently killed one of the soldiers with a flare gun. Jack then grabbed the commando's rifle and several magazines; with Nina spotting for him from a vantage point and tossing him ammunition, Jack was able to hold off the soldiers until a TAC team arrived and neutralized the remaining hostiles. After the incident, Jack recognized a tattoo of a coral snake on the arm of one of the soldiers.
Roger Stanton's arrest Edit
Jack called President Palmer and told him the tattoo on the commando's arm was the signature a special forces unit based out of Fort Benning, which was commandeered by Colonel Ron Samuels and funded by NSA. He also told him that their attackers having access to their flight plan meant they were being aided by someone on the inside. Palmer would later meet with Roger Stanton about this, who denied knowing of a Colonel Samuels or any paramilitary group in NSA's budget. Palmer suspected he was hiding something and had his chief of staff, Mike Novick, and Sherry look for a connection between Stanton and Samuels so he could have the former arrested.
After making some calls, Sherry learned of Stanton's order to reactivate OPCOM as well as his using it to communicate with Colonel Samuels as recently as 4pm—the time Bauer's plane was shot down. Palmer had Novick call the attorney general and file for an arrest warrant. However, the DOJ believed that the evidence against Stanton was not conclusive enough to file criminal charges. Palmer was still convinced that he was their best chance of finding the bomb, and with its detonation drawing closer, the president decided to take matters into his own hands.
Palmer started by having Stanton's security clearance revoked; then, at 6:16pm, he had him placed under arrest for conspiracy to commit treason and moved to a holding room outside of the OC for questioning. The president offered Stanton an immunity deal in exchange for his cooperation, but he still maintained his innocence.
Palmer then enlisted the help of Secret Service agent Ted Simmons—who had a background in covert operations—in physically coercing the information out of him. Although Stanton was once trained to resist coercive interrogation, he broke at 8:04pm after being tortured via electrical shock for over an hour. He confessed to Palmer his allowing the bomb to enter the country, that a Coral Snake detachment was tracking it and would secure it before detonation, and his desire to overhaul the president's "passive" defense policy. Infuriated, Palmer demanded that Stanton call his men and have them intercept the bomb immediately, but Stanton said that they had gone dark and that he could only give him the soldiers' last known location.
One of Stanton's co-conspirators inside the OC, who had access to the holding room's surveillance feed, erased the portion of the feed in which Stanton confessed his involvement in the conspiracy.
Zero hour Edit
Between 5 and 6pm, the Coral Snake unit that was shadowing the Second Wave terrorists followed them to Hangar MD7 at Norton Airfield. The commandos then stationed themselves at an outbuilding in close proximity to the hangar and subsequently went dark, not making any communication with the outside until the bomb was secured. Jonathan Wallace used this an opportunity to make his move; he killed three of his men before they had time to react and killed the remainder in an apparent struggle. With the bomb's detonation now imminent and his mission complete, Wallace fled the area.
Thanks to the information obtained from Nina Myers, Jack Bauer apprehended Syed Ali at 7:05pm. After being forced to watch a live feed of his son Asad's staged execution and threatened to watch his remaining son, Fareed, be "killed," Ali broke. He revealed to Jack that the bomb was at Norton Airfield, where they planned to load it onto a plane, fly it above downtown Los Angeles, and then detonate it in mid-air. While en route to the airfield, Jack received a call from CTU Director George Mason, who relayed to him the news of a rogue Coral Snake detachment stationed somewhere at the airfield.
Jack arrived at the airfield at approximately 8:10pm, and after briefing the assault team, he and the team fanned out to search for the bomb. Shortly before 8:22pm, an agent found five sets of military bootprints less than an hour old outside one of the outbuildings. Believing this to be the staging area used by Colonel Samuels' men, Jack and the assault team began a search of the compound, only to find the bodies of six commandos inside, each with the Coral Snake insignia tattooed on his arm. When President Palmer found about this, he relayed the information to Roger Stanton, who stated that there were actually seven men in the unit, not six. This, coupled with the up-close gunshot wounds on some of the soldiers, led Jack to hypothesize that they were not killed by the terrorists but by one of their own.
While performing a search of every outbuilding at the airfield, one of the search teams—led by agent Steve Goodrich—found the bomb near Hangar 12 at 9:59pm. A N.E.S.T. team attempted to disarm it, but eventually determined it would be impossible to do so without detonating it prematurely. It was then decided that the bomb had to be loaded onto a plane and detonated in the Mojave Desert where there would be the least amount of casualties. It was also determined that the pilot would have to go down with the plane in order to ensure precision.
Jack Bauer was initially going to be the one to sacrifice himself, but George Mason—who had been exposed to a lethal amount of radiation earlier that day—sneaked onto the plane and took over while Jack bailed out. George successfully reached the designated ground zero, and at 10:59pm, the bomb went off. Nobody else was killed in the blast.
Discovery of Cyprus recording Edit
At some point before 10:17pm, the Afghan government permitted CTU to raid Syed Ali's safe house with the help of their intelligence liaison Yusuf Auda. Among the items found was a well-concealed hard drive encrypted with a ZQ function. Acting Director Tony Almeida assigned a team of analysts to decrypting it. On it was an audio recording that took place in Cyprus and made it seem as high-ranking government officials from three Middle Eastern countries (including Afghanistan) were behind the nuclear attack. Audio experts concluded that the voices on the recording were genuine and that it showed no signs of being doctored or altered in any way.
Tony called and relayed the news to President David Palmer, who had the Joint Chiefs of Staff assembled and called for an emergency session of Congress to ask for a formal declaration of war. While it would take weeks to mobilize ground troops for a full-scale assault on the three countries, aerial strikes on key installations were set to commence within hours.
CTU analyst Michelle Dessler was assigned to question Syed Ali on the recording's veracity before his being transferred to Guantanamo; he claimed to have never met with the three government officials and that he was in Berlin at the time the conversation allegedly took place. Michelle believed he was telling the truth, but the rest of the CTU staff—including Almeida—believed he was only attempting to prevent his country from being invaded.
Evidence of forgery Edit
Due to the bomb not going off in Los Angeles as planned (and certain people who knew that the Cyprus recording was forged not being killed in its blast), the oil consortium conspirators were forced to eliminate anyone or anything that could prevent the US from going to war with the Middle East.
Jonathan Wallace Edit
The first of these loose ends was Jonathan Wallace—the man who planted the recording in Syed Ali's safe house. Between 11pm and midnight, Peter Kingsley sent a team of mercenaries to Wallace's location to take him out. Although he survived this attempt on his life, the mercenaries succeeded in killing his entire transport team, and he was forced to find an alternative means of escaping the country.
Michelle Dessler, still believing the Cyprus recording to be fake, asked Jack Bauer—now back at CTU—to further question Ali on the recording's authenticity. However, as Jack was interrogating the terrorist mastermind, Jonathan Wallace shot Syed Ali with a sniper rifle from an adjacent building. Wallace would later call Jack at 11:47pm, telling him that the Cyprus recording was indeed fake and that he would hand over evidence of the fact in exchange for Kate Warner; he was to bring her to the Warehouse on Meridian and Moorpark in thirty minutes. Warner was being held at CTU due to her family's being involved in the attack; with Michelle running interference, Jack successfully escorted Warner past security and out of the building.
Jack along Kate and Yusuf Auda, who wanted to help stop the US from invading his country of Afghanistan, arrived outside the warehouse at 12:19am. Jack went inside by himself and met with Wallace, who revealed that he was in possession of a data chip which contained the source recordings used to create the Cyprus audio. He offered to hand it over in exchange for Warner, saying that her father's company had the necessary DoD variance to authorize a flight out of the country and that he would have to kill her afterwards. Jack agreed, but he and Yusuf made arrangements to intercept Kate before that could happen.
However, at 12:59am, the pair was ambushed by a team of mercenaries sent by Kingsley. Although they managed to escape, Wallace was shot in the neck in the process. Jack had Yusuf drive them to an urgent care center where one of the doctors attempted to remove the bullet. But at 1:58am, Jonathan Wallace died just as he was about to tell Jack the location of the chip. While observing Wallace's X-ray's, Jack noticed a foreign object planted underneath his rib cage; grabbing a scalpel, he cut into a patch on his skin and found the data chip.
Data chip Edit
Although Jack found evidence that would disprove the Cyprus recording, a complication in bringing it to CTU would arise: a wireless transponder embedded in the chip, which is how Kingsley's men tracked them to the warehouse. Yusuf was able to remove the device, but not before another mercenary team arrived at the clinic. Jack ran with the transponder in order to draw them away from Yusuf and Kate as they attempted to bring the chip to CTU. Jack was captured by the mercenaries at 2:20am, and the team's leader, Ronnie Stark, employed numerous methods of torture to force the chip's location out of him. But Jack—with the help of Dr. Spire—managed to escape, killing his captors in the process.
Meanwhile, Yusuf and Kate drove to the intersection of Moorpark and Vineland and waited for Jack to return. However, they soon found themselves being mugged by a mob of citizens, who began to beat Yusuf due to his being of Middle Eastern descent. One of the muggers, Cole, took all of his possessions (including the data chip). Kate begged them to give it back and offered to take them to and let them rob her house instead. Twenty minutes after they left, Jack arrived at the intersection only to find a severely wounded Yusuf, who told him that the chip was at Kate's house in Hancock Park just before succumbing to his injuries.
Jack arrived at the Warner house at 3:57am and killed one of the muggers before he could harm Kate; the remaining two—Cole and Marcus—locked themselves in a bathroom and threatened to destroy the data chip. Jack barged in three minutes later and subdued the two muggers, but the chip was dropped and badly damaged in the process.
Alex Hewitt Edit
As soon as Alex Hewitt—the programmer who created the Cyprus recording—was not killed in the bomb blast, Peter Kingsley dispatched a number of search teams to find and silence him. At some point before 4:58am, one of the teams—led by Eve—arrived at Hewitt's loft in North Hollywood and ransacked the place, retrieving all of the incriminating recordings he created. However, they found no sign of Hewitt.
Late the night before, Sherry Palmer found out that Kingsley had Hewitt create recordings of a number of conversations he has had with his co-conspirators (including Sherry herself). Hoping to erase any evidence that would incriminate her, she called Hewitt just before midnight in attempt to meet with him and get him to hand over the recordings.
Later, at 4:20am, Jack Bauer discovered that the data chip had been badly damaged; Michelle had him send any data that was on it to her so she could attempt to retrieve it. However, all she could find was a coded signature used frequently by programmer Alex Hewitt. After pulling up his file, Tony gave Jack Hewitt's last known address, to which he promptly headed.
When President David Palmer found out that the Cyprus recording may have been forged and that Jack Bauer was in the process of obtaining evidence of the fact, he called off the bombings of the three countries. This move drew heavy criticism from his staff, and Vice President James Prescott and Mike Novick decided that Palmer had to be removed from office so they could reverse his decision. While Novick ran interference, Prescott gathered the Cabinet members to vote on invoking the 25th Amendment. The vote was eight for and seven against the motion, and Palmer was officially deemed "unfit" to continue serving as president. At 4:59am, James Prescott was sworn in as President of the United States, and the bombings were ordered to proceed.
Meanwhile, Jack Bauer arrived at Alex Hewitt's loft, only to find no sign of him. A minute later, Sherry Palmer—also looking for Hewitt—arrived at the apartment. After knocking out her bodyguard, Jack began to interrogate Sherry. She confessed to her direct involvement in the conspiracy, saying that she worked with Kingsley in an attempt to ruin her ex-husband's presidency but had no idea that the bomb was going to go off.
Jack's interrogation was cut short when he discovered that Hewitt had been hiding in a panic room the whole time. And after learning that he was the one who engineered the Cyprus recording, he—with help from Sherry—persuaded Hewitt to help disprove it. He would achieve this by creating a completely new recording with the same specifications as Cyprus and playing it for the president. However, while working on the recording, Hewitt began to suspect that he was being used and that he would likely be prosecuted; he then tried to escape. Jack pursued him but was forced to shoot Hewitt when he pulled a gun on him, which caused the programmer to fall over a ledge and hit his head on the pavement. He died of head trauma at around 6:23am.
Sting operation by CTU Edit
With Hewitt dead, Jack had one last play to stop the US from attacking the Middle East: to set up a wired meeting between Kingsley and Sherry and get the former to admit the Cyprus recording's falsity. Using the same software Hewitt used to create Cyprus, Jack created an audio sample of Hewitt talking to use as proof of his being alive. He then had Sherry call Kingsley and offer to hand over Hewitt in exchange for the recordings that incriminated her. After hearing the "proof" that she in fact had Hewitt, Kingsley agreed to meet her at Gate #18 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in thirty minutes.
CTU set up a live feed of the meeting with the White House. Regional Division Director Ryan Chappelle sent a TAC team to the the Coliseum to provide support, but with the meeting's scheduled time drawing closer, Jack decided to go in alone. Kingsley met with Sherry at 7:34am and was eventually deceived by her into admitting that Alex Hewitt forged the Cyprus recording with the president and his entire Cabinet listening. However, Kingsley soon came to the realization that Sherry did not have Hewitt and was setting him up. He ordered his sniper, Scott, to kill her, unaware that Jack Bauer was there and had already killed his man. Grabbing Scott's rifle, Jack proceeded to take out nearly all of Kingsley's security detail; he then made it down to ground level and got Sherry to safety. After killing Kingsley's last remaining man, Jack found himself held at gunpoint by Kingsley himself. Just before he was about to execute Jack, the TAC team arrived and neutralized Peter Kingsley.
Satisfied with the evidence against the Cyprus recording, President James Prescott called off the bombings at 7:43am and subsequently had David Palmer reinstated as President of the United States.
Contingency plan Edit
When Max found about Kingsley's death and the calling off of the bombings from Alexander Trepkos, he immediately initiated a fallback to prompt the US into going to war. He called one of his associates and gave her the green light to assassinate President David Palmer. At 7:57am, as the president was addressing a crowd in the middle of downtown, the assassin planned to make her move. When he concluded his speech, Palmer began shaking the hands of various crowd members. The woman pushed her way through the crowd, slowly advancing toward the president. She then tried to get his attention so he would shake her hand, which he then did, unaware that she was wearing a film coated with a biological agent on her hand. The assassin then fled the area and called Max, telling him her assignment was complete. At 7:59am, President David Palmer noticed his right hand was bubbling and collapsed to the ground, breathing heavily.
The president was in critical condition following the incident, and some time later, Vice President James Prescott was again sworn in as acting president.
- Senator Bruce Gluck and Colonel Ron Samuels were never heard from again following their being implicated by the government; the two—along with Roger Stanton—were likely prosecuted for their involvement in the conspiracy.
- Mike Novick was fired for allying himself with Prescott and the other dissenting Cabinet members and was eventually replaced by Wayne Palmer. Novick would later become re-affiliated with then Senator Charles Logan, who himself would ascend to the presidency four and a half years later.
- President David Palmer survived the attempt on his life but was in too poor of a condition to continue serving as president. Vice President James Prescott served as acting president while Palmer recovered, until he himself was targeted for assassination six months later. With Prescott in critical condition following the attempt on his life, Palmer decided to retake office.
- Although his contingency plan failed, Max was never implicated in the conspiracy. However, he would orchestrate another plot against the United States six months later, during which he would be killed by Jack Bauer.
- Alexander Trepkos was neither named nor implicated by the government. According to Wayne Palmer, however, "the man behind the attempt on [David Palmer's] life" was arrested. Because Max had been killed two and a half years prior to his saying this, it is likely Palmer was referring to Trepkos. ("Day 3: 1:00pm-2:00pm")
- In exchange for her cooperation, Sherry Palmer never went to prison, and her involvement in the conspiracy was never made public. However, she would become involved in another political scandal three years later when President David Palmer sought her help with dealing with one of his opponents.