Back at my desk, I turned to McCelvoys cable again. I found the line that was sticking in my head: "SUBJECT COULD CURRENTLY BE LOCATED IN EMBASSY IN OR NEIGHBORING COUNTRY WHILE UNDERGOING INTERROGATION, , OR ANYWHERE IN v OR THE ." It was quite a list of possibilities.
There was a contractor working in named William. There
were a fair number of these guys around, retired case officers who
got bored in retirement and came back to work desks in their old Divisions.
William was more impressive than most of them. He was
probably as close as there was to a George Smiley at the Agency,
meaning he was extremely smart and highly compassionate. He also
looked the part of the wise old hand, with white hair and square,
William had taken me under his wing as soon as Id arrived in the office. Everyone at the Agency was friendlyyou called your bosses by their first names, and even the Chief of the Division knew my name. It was a requirement of the culture that you be nice, and people knew how to do it. But Williams kindness felt more genuine. He asked questions about my personal life and talked to me about things that had nothing to do with the Agency. He went down to the cafeteria with me for lunch at least once a week. He even invited me to his house for an anniversary party where there were only eight or nine guests. Several of them were very high- ranking Agency officers, and William introduced me to them as "an extremely promising young C/O."
I was also fortunate because Williams final tour before retirement had been as Chief of Station in . I asked him endless questions about the operational environment and the people and the customs, and I felt the things I was learning would allow me to hit the ground running when I got there.
The day after I read the TRACER file, I went over to Williams cubicle. He turned away from his computer and motioned for me to sit down.
"Im working on the file review," I said.
"Hows it coming?" he asked.
"Not bad. Im getting there. I ran into this caseTDTRACER."
William nodded slightly.
"You remember it?" I said.
"Bobby Goldsteins case."
"He was the C/O?"
"Yup," William said.
"Andrew L. Seegram?"
"I think that was his pseudonym. It sounds right."
"You were COS then?"
"Its funny, the last cable is . And its by a different C/O. From the way it was written, I thought it might be from the DCOS"Deputy Chief of Station"or something. I hope it was okay that I read it."
"If it was in the file, I wouldnt worry about it."
"Whys a in with the regular file?" "Probably just misfiled."
"And the whole thing just kind of stops in the middle. Where are the rest of the cables?"
Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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