These more detailed files were, of course, the ones I liked reading the most. They were filled with cables that described operational meetings in great detailwhat the target or agent was wearing, what their facial expressions were like, how they responded to what the case officer said and did. In just a few months, Id be running meetings like this, and these real-world examples were an education in how much less formal and systematic the recruitment process was than the way it had been taught in training.
In addition to the operational cables, a file might or might not include intelligence reports. Unlike the other traffic, these . It was the information you were actually after when you recruited an agent in the first place. Whether there were a lot of them or just a few of them in the file depended on whether or not the officer at Headquarters in charge of the case was conscientious about putting them in. Most of the intel reports that were there were pretty dull, and it was hard to imagine them being that useful to an analyst. Friends in the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) had told me that the secret intelligence coming from the DO rarely had much of an impact on their analysis, and I could see why. On the other hand, there was an occasional nugget of information that seemed enormously important and useful.
About a week into the file review, I opened a folder labeled
TDTRACER (all the cryptonyms, pseudonyms, and names in
this book have been changed). The top cable was stamped
, which was a complete surprise. My heart
started racing a little bit as soon as I saw it.
cables were more compartmentalized than other traffic, and
normally they wouldnt be in a regular file. I hadnt seen any of these since starting at the Agency, except to sign for their delivery to the office once or twice. Id certainly never read one. Arguably, I shouldnt
read this one without getting clearance, but here it was in front of me, and I was supposed to be doing the file review.
The cable had originated in , where I was going to begin serving in about a month. I was, obviously, particularly interested in cases that took place there, especially more recent ones where the agent might still be active. The cable was dated June 2000, so it was certainly possible that it dealt with an agent who was still being run (this was the summer of 2002). Under the date was the normal range of headers written by a C/O with the pseudonym Franklin D. McCelvoy and then the text of the cable, which ran more or less as follows ( )
AS PART OF ONGOING EFFORT TO DETERMINE THE WHEREABOUTS OF
STATION ASSET TDTRACER, C/O FRANKLIN D. MCCELVOY RAN A 48-
HOUR HOT WATCH OF &NBSP; EMBASSY. WATCH BEGAN 6/19/00 AT
2200 ZULU. WHEN C/O MCCELVOY ARRIVED AT WATCH SITE 6/20/00
AT 0800 ZULU TO RELIEVE HEADQUARTERS SPECIAL PROJECTS TEAM
MANAGER GRIMES, HE WAS DEPLOYED AT IN CONTRAVENTION
TO SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN AT OUTSET OF OPERATION.
VISUAL AND &NBSP; OBSERVATION GAVE NO SIGNS OF TEAM HAVING
Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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