Free Write Wednesdays: Scene 6: Operation Eagle Begins

And some of my patrons get the first look at the characters named for them!  Keep in mind, they aren’t supposed to be you. I’m using your name as we talked before.  Enjoy!

  

Washington, DC – FBI Headquarters

Kevin Thompson hurriedly walked into the conference room, which was located adjacent to his office, to greet CIA Director Hugh McGuffey and the other men who were working the counterintelligence operation known as Eagle. After the usual handshakes and introductions, Thompson moved to the front of the table placing his leather-bound notebook and a few other files in front of him. After his secretary rolled a coffee cart containing some snacks, coffee and assorted beverages into the room and then quickly departed, Thompson began the meeting. 

“Thank you for agreeing to meet here today,” Thompson began. “It was very helpful for my schedule to meet here. I appreciate all the juggling of schedules on your part.” Thompson saw the acknowledgment of his statement. “As you know, we are in a unique position thanks to the work and sharing of information by French intelligence—” Thompson nervously cleared his throat. He wondered why he was nervous. Dismissing the thought, he pushed his glasses back up his nose. “—the DST. Our analysts have translated and studied the material. We are here to review the action plan put forth by them, realizing that this operation requires the assistance of both the CIA and the FBI.”

“I just want to be clear here,” McGuffey interjected. “The president has tapped you as the leader of this operation, correct?”

“Yes,” Thompson confirmed. “But he understands and expects our agencies to work closely together and place our loyalty to our country first. If we do that and accomplish our objectives, well, let’s just say there will be plenty of credit to be passed around. There will also be plenty of blame if we don’t succeed. I suggest we put our agency loyalty aside and work together for the betterment of not only our country but our allies as well.”

McGuffey couldn’t agree more with Thompson’s statements. “Well said.” He looked at the four analysts sitting at the table. “The last thing Director Thompson and I want to hear are complaints about how you are not working together. It isn’t the time for that.” The four individuals nodded their heads in agreement. 

“We’ve read your analysis and proposals for next steps. We are here today to discuss the plan, agree to it and authorize the intelligence officers who will be leading the project with its execution. Each of you will report to Director McGuffey and me. Understand that means you now have a dotted line reporting relationship across agencies. I know the four of you have been working a lot of long hours. We need to keep this operation top secret—highly classified—so our teams will be small, but effective starting out. Because of that, you may be asked to do some things beyond your current job description. If you have a problem with that, we need to know now.” The four men were silent while they looked at one another. “Ok, let’s get started.”

CIA Analyst, Ken Minor, was ruggedly handsome, some would say scruffy looking, with his salt and pepper black and thick gray hair. Minor was Thompson’s contact in the CIA for over fifteen years. In fact, Minor was the second man on this project. Thompson brought a handful of documents to Minor to translate before approaching McGuffey and Jenkins, confirming the information they received from DST agent Beaumont was indeed what the DST said it was. “I have one clarification if I may. Are you, Director Thompson, the lead on this operation? I mean are you reporting directly to the president and not the Attorney General?”

“I report to both,” Thompson replied. “The Attorney General and President Jenkins will be briefed on this operation extensively. I’m assuming, Hugh, that we will meet with President Jenkins and the Attorney General concurrently, since you serve as the head of the Intelligence Community in your role.”

“That is correct,” McGuffey confirmed. “I think that meeting is a separate meeting from the weekly intelligence briefing he receives.”

Thompson nodded his agreement. “I’ll talk with Chris about getting that meeting on the president’s calendar. To answer your question more directly, Ken, President Jenkins tapped me as the leader of this covert operation. It has to do more with my working for him in the past versus anyone’s ability to lead. He is just more comfortable with me. I’ve assured him that Director McGuffey is every bit as loyal to this country as I am.” Thompson turned his gaze to McGuffey. “I consider you an equal in this, Hugh.”

“We discussed our roles before this meeting, and I still agree with our outcome. The FBI will focus on the US-based initiatives while the CIA focuses on international initiatives. The six of us will work together to ensure we lead with one clear voice. The direction provided to our field agents to execute the plans we put in place needs to be accurate and concise. Each agency leads the discipline we excel in—we won’t get in each other’s business.”

“Ken translated the early documents I received,” Thompson said. “I’ve worked with Ken in the past. I knew I could trust him. Ken, Jim Murphy is your FBI analyst counterpart on this project. Jim, Ken suggested you to me because he has had experience working with you. I’ve reviewed your background and know that the FBI analyst part of this operation is in good hands.”

“Thank you, sir,” Murphy said. “I look forward to working with everyone.”

“That brings us to the newest members of the team, our intelligence officers who will be working with our two analysts closely and will be pulling together field agents here in the US and in the USSR to execute our covert operations. I say this to all four of you: this is your only assignment. You have been directed to move your current work to other officers. Has that happened?”

The first to speak was Derek Rumford, a twenty year veteran with the FBI. “I have. Some on my team weren’t happy with that, but we’ve chatted, and they are now working with their new command.”

Thompson knew of the situation Rumford mentioned. “That’s good to hear, but you know the consequences—”

“They do,” Rumford interrupted. “The most vocal agent is being transferred in two days to a new assignment. It won’t be a problem.”

“Good,” Thompson said.

Mac, short for Mackenzie, Kennedy worked for the CIA in counterintelligence for twenty years. He was in his early fifties and was known for his loyalty to the CIA and the field agents under his command. It was a great catch for McGuffey and Thompson to have this man on the project. “Everything is taken care of with my work as well. There is one agent who has worked extensively in Europe that I’d like to move onto this project. He has worked in the USSR before but is not known there. He does know some Russian, and I think he would be an asset.”

“Do the Soviets know about him?” McGuffey asked. “Has he been identified from his past work?”

“No, he’s not compromised. The work he did there was so small that it didn’t catch the eye of the KGB or GRU,” Mac replied. 

“We’ll see if we can make that work,” McGuffey responded.

“Let’s get started reviewing your proposals,” Thompson suggested. “Let’s start with you, Ken and then Jim.”

Minor looked at Rumford, and montioned for Rumford to take the lead. “I forwarded our report to you all,” Rumford began. “I’m not sure how much detail you want to get into here. We recommend that the international side cause as much disruption as possible by providing faulty equipment, computers, for example,  to the Soviets. That will take cooperation with the FBI who, as Murph—“ Rumford corrected himself. Jim Murphy was known as Murph to those who worked with him. “I mean Jim—and I discussed, would be on the forefront of that operation, working with US companies to manufacture the faulty equipment. It would be small scale and if conducted properly, would go unnoticed for a long period. Depending on where we can infiltrate, we could cripple some crucial projects the Soviets have in place.”

Mac chimed in, “We think that is the best scenario. The FBI focuses on recruiting companies who in turn recruit Soviet businesses. It stays within détente, and the Soviets don’t see a shift in our strategy. Just as they used détente to help them, we use it to disrupt their factories, shipments, pipelines, energy companies—the reach is wide open with this strategy.”

Thompson was looking over the last page of the memo that Rumford sent. “I only have one concern. Covering all these areas is going to take a rather large team. As we grow in number the the opportunity for our operation to be leaked grows exponentially, doesn’t it?”

“It can,” Mac said.

“But that is true on every operation,” McGuffey added. “We’ll have to manage that the best we can.”

“And make sure we have the right people,” Thompson instructed. “If there is one doubt about someone, we don’t use them on this operation. Is that clear?” All in the room agreed with Thompson. “Hugh and I have another meeting we need to attend. You four stay here and start identifying targets. The president asks me about the progress on this operation almost daily, and we have a meeting with him in two days.” Thompson looked at McGuffey. “I’d like us to present him with a list of targets and our plan to hit them at that meeting. Any concerns?”

“No,” Mac said. It was clear that Mac had the most experience in the room and was going to become the default leader. When Thompson looked at each man, they confirmed their agreement. 

“Great,” Thompson said, standing up. “I’ll check back in with you in a couple of hours.”

“I’m free this evening,” McGuffey said. “Can we meet back here at seven for an update?”

Thompson scanned the room to see the nodding of everyone’s head. “We’ll see you at seven then.” 

As McGuffey and Thompson left the room, Mac stood up and grabbed a marker which was sitting in the tray of the large dry erase board and began writing. The first words at the top of the board were: “Possible Soviet Targets.” 

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