They set about making contacts, enlisting support, and drafting plans. Their agents in the intelligence community ordered surveillance on dozens of government and civilian leaders expected to be loyal to the administration. Military contacts recruited key commanders and routed others into vital posts. For example, near Washington, the 3rd Infantry regiment’s commander was suddenly relieved and a new one assigned. The commander of the DC National Guard was likewise vetted and enlisted. At the FBI, arrest warrants for “Treason” were drafted and signed by friendly judges and then held for the right moment. Some hints of these preparations filtered up to law enforcement, but sympathizers throughout the federal government ensured the tips were routed to the circular file.
Timing was everything – all the pieces had to be in place to act. But they weren’t. As the weeks wore on and February turned to March and March into April, the plotters grew anxious. Every passing day made it more likely that their plan would be leaked and exposed. It actually was exposed once – a CNN reporter did a segment headlined “Rumors of a Military Coup in Swirl in Washington” before the executives shut it down. Luckily for the conspirators it was on Chris Cuomo’s show, so no one saw it.