Free Write Wednesday: Scene 7: A Covert Meeting in the Oval?


Washington, DC – White House

Attorney General Richard Pitts, FBI Director Kevin Thompson, and CIA Director Hugh McGuffey were led into Oval Office by Chris. Jenkins was not in the office, and the three men were told to take a seat. Chris explained that Jenkins was returning from a meeting in the Situation Room and would arrive shortly. Thompson was holding his familiar leather-bound notebook and a manila folder which contained a summary report they were providing to the president. 

The door to the office opened. Jenkins was talking with his chief of staff, Fred Whittaker, “…I don’t care what Hutchinson says. He wasn’t in the room briefing me. It’s time to send in some federal aid.” Jenkins stopped and turned to Whittaker. “I suggest you get on the phone with him and make him see that. Those people need help. Just because he’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat shouldn’t result in people suffering. He’s getting the aid. That’s it.”

“Yes, Mr. President,” Whittaker replied. “I’ll go make that call now unless you need me in this meeting.”

“No,” Jenkins responded. “I can fill you in later.” Whittaker continued to his office after acknowledging the attorney general and the two directors with a handshake. Jenkins moved a chair so that he could sit with Pitts and Thompson on his left and McGuffey on his right. He shook hands with each man, then sat down just as Whittaker was closing the door to his office. “Sorry about that, Hugh.”

“About what, sir?” McGuffey asked. 

“The Republican comment,” Jenkins replied. 

“No need for an apology, sir,” McGuffey, a Republican responded. “I agree with you.”

Jenkins acknowledged the statement with a quick nodded of his head. “Everyone seems a bit touchy these days. I can’t open my mouth without inserting my foot.” Both men smiled. “What do you have for me?”

Thompson opened his folder and handed a copy of his report to Jenkins. Pitts and McGuffey retrieved their copy from their folders. “This report outlines possible targets and strategies for responding to the intelligence we have received in Operation Eagle.”

“Finally!” Jenkins exclaimed. 

Thompson let a little laugh escaped his lips. Jenkins hadn’t changed from the days when Thompson worked directly for him—when Jenkins was a Senator. He had heard that exclamation several times. “We believe due diligence is needed here, Mr. President.”

“And I agree,” Jenkins stated as he glanced over the four-page summary. “I’ll read this with more attention this evening. Give me the bottom line.”

“Operation Eagle will be a joint operation involving the FBI and the CIA. Our analysts and intelligence officers believe that we benefit from running a multi-prong operation aimed at disrupting their progress on several fronts. This strategy requires that the FBI focus on recruiting companies in each area of focus, creating faulty equipment that will be purchased and sent to the USSR for example, and then coordinating with our CIA counterparts in the field for the placement of that faulty equipment.” Thompson looked at McGuffey.

“Our agents in the field would infiltrate the areas we focus on, like gas pipelines, for example, receipt of faulty goods and possibly the installation of them—although I’m not in favor of the installation part. I think it puts our agents at undue risk,” McGuffey said.

“I would agree with that—unless it is necessary and it is a one-off opportunity,” Jenkins confirmed. Thompson made a note on the summary to delete the installation of equipment mention. 

McGuffey continued. “Our analyst believe that if we hit them in small-scale attacks, that their suspicions could be displaced and the operation could continue with less risk of discovery.”

“We should be a menace to them rather than a larger, one time assault,” Jenkins said, although it sounded more like he wanted confirmation of his understanding.

“That’s correct, sir,” Thompson confirmed. “This could continue under the umbrella of détente. Nothing changes. They come here, steal what they think is classified information, same as before but when the time comes to supply them with equipment to execute their plans, they’ve been foiled. If we know far enough in advance, we could plant misinformation ahead of their visits. The FBI could be the tour guide at a company, for example. We could cover the shop floors with metals that failed the company tests which in turn would lead the Soviets to believe we are using those metals. It would require close working relationships with those companies and they should not be punished for working with the Soviets.”

“The companies you are talking about have black world access. This operation becomes part of that. No one should know about it who do not have the proper clearance,” Jenkins offered his understanding. 

“We want to go further than that,” Thompson countered. “We want some of our men undercover to work this operation at the companies.”

Jenkins sat back. “With no one’s knowledge that they are there?”

“That depends,” Thompson began. “Our men need to be protected. They will have to choose people they trust not to talk and are loyal to the company to work with these men. If they can’t do that, then yes, they need to be cloaked. That runs the risk of large turnover when the so-called mistakes occur.”

“I still think if you inform the companies who have black world clearance on this operation, they will understand its important and they work with you. Anyone who balks at that, let me know and I’ll have a conversation with them,” Jenkins directed. 

“Yes sir,” Thompson said. “Some are not in that category, but we’ll work the details and make it work. I will see to that personally.”

“Good,” Jenkins said. He turned his attention to McGuffey. “Your group will need to work with our allies and have agents in the Soviet Union, correct?”

“Yes, sir,” McGuffey said. “There is a coordination piece between the FBI and the CIA. We are identifying new agents now—those fluent in Russian and trained in the technology needed. They will be placed in the areas we want to attack. So we don’t arouse any suspicions, it will be a slow trickle into the USSR. Because of that, we believe the FBI’s counterintelligence operation of misleading the collection of their information and materials should start right away. Doing this will confirm that Falcon—the double agent in the USSR—is still feeding us unfiltered information. We should see in the information he provides exactly what we want them to find.”

“Perfect,” Jenkins said.

“When we are ready for larger disruptions, the Soviets should already be experiencing failures from the information they gathered,” McGuffey added.

“We need to be careful, Mr. President,” Pitts said. “This isn’t a quick, one and done operation. The operation needs to exist over several years-possibly a decade. We go too fast, and we risk exposing Operation Eagle and all our agents.”

“I understand,” Jenkins said. “Make it happen, gentlemen. Keep me informed and let me know if you need my help in any way.”

“Yes sir,” Thompson said as he stood up to accept Jenkins’s hand. 

“Thank you, Mr. President,” McGuffey said, as he shook Jenkins’s hand. 

“Our next meeting on this won’t be for a four weeks,” Pitts informed Jenkins. “By that time, Thompson and McGuffey should be about to report on their discussions with certain companies and the progress on identifying agents.”

“Make sure Chris has time set aside for us, Rick,” Jenkins ordered. “Have a good day. I’ll see you in a month for an update.” Jenkins moved to his desk as the three men left the Oval Office. 

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