Secret Service, Secret Mission

All is calm right before the craziness that is GMA's production.

Sept. 17, 2008 — -- The wake-up call came at 2:45 a.m. That's how dedicated we are to you, America.

We had to wake up so early because before we could board the train today, a Secret Service dog had to go through our bags. So we stood in the cold at 3:00 a.m. and watched the furry little guy go sniffing through everything and then we were allowed to board.

Today I spent the pre-show period down in the "Good Morning America" offices where the writers, producers and higher-ups get everything in order so that the two-hour-long show runs smoothly, at least on the editorial side. After witnessing the rehearsal yesterday, I know that there's a lot to coordinate and a great show to produce.

But at 5:30 a.m., it's relatively quiet.

That fact unsettles writer Allison Girvin.

"It's the calm before the storm. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. How many more bad clichés can I come up with?"

I guess it should be noted that, as a representative of and not a part of the show's actual production, I've had to make room for myself wherever possible (currently in a bathroom that has been turned into a screening room). The case is the same for Rick Klein, author of The Note on, and Aaron Katersky of ABC News Radio, who were also in the office this morning.

And it's relatively calm for us too, now, except for Rick, who is typing furiously on The Note in anticipation of the McCain interview. But once the show starts Rick will go into hyper-drive with his political reporting, Aaron will be dictating notes in that deep baritone and I will be running around the farm, shooting behind-the-scenes footage, maybe interviewing a certain country music star and desperately trying to avoid the wrath of the Secret Service.

"Want to go on a mission?" he said.

"Of course." I love missions.

"Hold on, I'm not done," he said, but he could've stopped there, I was sold.

He went on anyway. He talked about a senior producer called "Colonel," who had outlined the mission to him. My ears only perked up when he related a dire warning.

"When I asked where to get the goods," Mark said, "he gave me a location on the train but warned me that there was a crew sleeping nearby in an open room, surrounded by equipment. The crew is ex-military — one was a member of Mossad, one a marine and I think one was a Vietnam vet. They're known to snap to attention at the slightest sound and snap necks soon afterward. If they wake up, speak English and pray."

Now I know you're dying to know what we were after, but like the prize in the case in Pulp Fiction, I'm afraid identification would only tarnish its legend.

Well, looks like things are picking up already.

Check back after the show to see both how the show went for us on the inside and, far more importantly, if I survived to tell the story of the mission.