Kathy had just left Frank’s office. Being inside seemed different. Even though she had once been an inside player, she now felt she had little in common with the bureaucrats manning the work stations. They just didn’t live in the world she and Jack lived in. The only risk here was political. Political correctness ruled the roost. When she told Frank her approach to finding his mole, even he swallowed hard. He did say that was why he needed her help. She had a ruthless efficiency that was increasingly rare on the inside. Anyway, he agreed, and gave her a small office and an assistant who was hired and given a clearance only a few weeks ago. She wanted no one else, especially someone that had been in the office for more than two months. Their heads were already screwed up. Kathy had been happy in the field but could barely stand working at Headquarters. It was without lethal risks, but the process was mind-numbing.
You can’t ferret out moles by being afraid to break rules or correctness barriers – both can be real obstacles. Profiling was a no no. Kathy planned to use her own profiling system to narrow down the search for the mole in CTC. If she didn’t tell anyone, who was to object?
Kathy shared her office with her assistant. She liked having the people she was working with to share the workspace. She knew only what the file told her about Jennifer Collins, a graduate of Connecticut College with a major in Criminology. She seemed to have a rare ability to eclectically extract the essence of information and to organize it quickly in her head. Her file alluded to this ability and, after talking to her for a few hours, Kathy agreed. You didn’t often find personnel evaluation with such insight. Kathy was ready to start breaking eggs.
“Jennifer, wheel your chair over here. We’re going to begin. Are you ready?”
“Yes, I now know what the problem is, but how do we start?”
“Any good investigator starts with a process to narrow down the search field. It means analyzing relevant evidence. First, we must collect the pieces. Only Frank can know all the areas we are poking into. All our requests for data are for his office only. We’re merely helping him. That’s our story. No deviations. Got it?”
“Yes. But why so much secrecy?”
“That’s one of the reasons I picked you to help me. You’re so new, you don’t know looking for a mole is the most sensitive work any intelligence organization does. You don’t want the mole to know anyone is looking for him or her. Also, no one wants to participate in such an investigation. A mole hunt is the same as a witch hunt. Often, innocent people have their careers ruined. In the intelligence business, it’s better to punish a few innocent employees than to be so careful of individual rights that you fail to find the mole.
“In this case, we have a time and a date when a piece of sensitive information was created and when it was passed on to the enemy. That’s a big deal. Frank gave me a list of all the people who heard him talk about the pursuit of a pair of snipers.
“We want all those personnel files. We want to find out where all those people were in the following hour and what they did. They are professionals and shouldn’t have passed Frank’s comments on to anyone. Let’s hope one of them is our mole. Otherwise, we have to widen our search. That, I do not want to do.
“I hope we’ll find our mole in the 14 personnel files on this table. These are the only people with first-hand knowledge. Get over any prejudices you might have about profiling. Profiling is what we do, but we don’t call it that.
“You get half of the personnel files. Look for anyone who is an Arab or has an Arab name, anyone who is a Muslim, anyone with a spouse who is Muslim or Arab. Anyone who has made a trip or trips to Pakistan or Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Syria, Gaza, or any other Muslim country. Especially if they have family or friends from those places.”
After two hours of reading files and taking notes, Kathy said, “C’mon, Jennifer, let’s get a cup of tea or coffee. The stuff they make here is hardly drinkable. I’d forgotten how bad it was. Before we go, we put everything in the safe Frank moved in here. Only the two of us have the combination.”
Over a corner table in a nearly deserted cafeteria, Jennifer said, “I only have two files to go, and I have three people with extensive travel to Muslim countries.”
“I have four. I’ll give you another hour, and then we’ll start to compare notes. I plan on breaking at ten o’clock and picking up at seven in the morning. I hope I’m not messing up your life, love or otherwise. What we’re doing is incredibly important and could end up saving a number of lives.
“I probably don’t need to tell you this, but I will anyway. Do not tell anyone what you are doing or who you are working with. This is dangerous stuff, and I don’t want to wonder what I could have done to protect you.”
It was nearly eleven o’clock when Kathy pulled into the Brandon house. She heard Shadow using his happy bark and knew Jack was home. She met a bounding Shadow halfway to the front door, and Jack a few steps closer. Both gave her a welcome that nearly knocked her down. She hugged Jack and had a brief but good cry on his shoulder while Shadow leaned against her.
Kathy said, “Easy, big guy. I’m still sore and the headache is hanging on. Not as bad as it was.”
Jack said, “If I had known about your helicopter crash landing, I would have dropped the chase and raced to be with you. It scares me to think I might have lost you.”
“Give me your arm. I feel in need of a stiff scotch on the rocks, a long bath and a good sleep. I have to be in the office at seven tomorrow. And, if you think you were worried, I worried more. My man and his dog going after three armed and trained snipers. Thank God, Shadow was with you. That dog is your good talisman. When I learned about the leak in Frank’s office, I was really angry. These missions are tough enough without the bad guys having access to our plans and actions. I’m going to find and fry that bastard. This is now personal, very personal. Be prepared to give me some slack, because you may not see much of me until I find and deal with this mole. What’s the latest on Lou?”
“Lou is still critical but Dr. Green told me he will probably be moved out of ICU tomorrow morning. We need to find another recruit. Lou is through with hard action. I want both him and Storm to stay. Even so, we need at least one more experienced recruit. Kelly is coming on fast but needs time for more training. Relying on OJT is not only unfair to her but dangerous for us. Let’s move inside. You need some food and rest. Until you find the mole, we are all at risk. You remember what happened once in this house. It ain’t going to happen again.”