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Barry L Jones
Barry Jones is a high school history teacher at Franklin High School in Williamson County, Tennessee – near Nashville. Previous titles authored by Mr. Jones include – Letters to Toby (2012), Coup d’ Etat (2014), and Wilderness of Mirrors (2018).
Without exception, in his twenty years in the classroom, the JFK assassination, the Watergate Scandal, and the CIA’s “Medical Manhattan” Project have generated more student interest than any other topic. This book – Treasonous Cabal – is more-or-less a collection of research and lesson plans culled from the author’s years of teaching these subjects.
Mr. Jones is a family man. He and Katrina have been married twenty-eight years. Together, they have four children – daughters Shelby and Casey, and sons Toby and Sammy. The Jones’s make their home in Fairview, Tennessee.
A public speaker, Mr. Jones is available upon request. For information, call 931-494-0070 or e-mail at Blj34_37146@yahoo.com
Wilderness of Mirrors
History does not happen in a vacuum. Decisions made in one decade set the conditions for events in subsequent decades. Likewise, yesterday’s “deciders” author tomorrow’s history.
Wilderness of Mirrors is the backstory of key historical events and figures. It is NOT however, the history of good decisions made by wise leaders. Quite the contrary. The question is then, how do these immoral and unethical master manipulators stay in power? It’s all very predictable. They engage the levers of power available to them – or someone they know – revising history, expunging their part in the rolling disaster. In other words, they lie to protect themselves.
When the lie succeeds – and most of the time it does – they go on to make worse decisions, impacting even more people as they climb the rungs of political power. The history books are written by these agents of power, forever codifying the cacophony of lies as the official record.
Wilderness of Mirrors weaves important historical events and consequential characters from 1928-1983 into an inconvenient tapestry of scandalous truth. The story is really three stories braided into one. First, the accidental discovery of the world’s first antibiotic in 1928. Though the discovery happened in Great Britain, it changed the course of American history – causing a chain of events that included epidemics, contaminated vaccines, cancer, AIDS, a “Medical Manhattan” project, assassination plots, government scandals, and a lethal bio-weapon. Second, the development of competing spy agencies after World War II. Created in 1945 to be the front lines in a new kind of warfare – covert intelligence – between the dueling ideologies of communism and democracy. Though the rivalry was between the United States and the USSR, both intelligence communities exported their enmity for one another to the far corners of the world. And third, the birth of the notorious – if you believe the textbooks – Lee Harvey Oswald in 1949.
Though patriotic to a fault, “Oswaldkovich” was set up by his own government to be the patsy in the Crime of the Century – the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Conveniently, his death permanently foreclosed on a trial, covering up Oswald’s CIA connections, a bio-weapon project in New Orleans, and the plot to kill JFK. Convenient indeed, especially for the CIA.
In all three cases, the history books tell it wrong or not at all. Wilderness of Mirrors is the story behind the story – the interesting stuff no one told you about in history class.
Excerpt (Ch 8)
January 31, 1961
Arrowhead, Sasha says to himself quietly as he retrieves another envelope from the magnetic box. This time, the numbered rotation sets the meeting at Arlington National Cemetery.
Sasha usually catches the express bus at the Mall for his trips out to Robert E. Lees’ place but today, he decides to walk instead. Why not? It has been a mild winter so far. Today is almost too bright and sunny. The glare from the sun reflecting off the snow-covered landscape forces him to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses in January…now that is a first, he thinks. Although the temperature is only in the high thirties, it feels warmer without a northeastern wind biting his neck and face.
Sasha strolls onto the Arlington Memorial Bridge, beginning his journey. Each time he crosses the Potomac River, he pictures George Washington with his hapless Continental Army in boats, dodging the chunks of ice floating in the middle of a freezing Christmas Eve darkness. I wonder how much of that is true, he asks himself, chuckling. Somewhere near the middle of the bridge, he leaves DC behind and enters Virginia.
As he nears the meeting spot, he can see Arrowhead patrolling the front entrance to Arlington House, chomping unmercifully on a cigar, checking and rechecking his prized wristwatch. He keeps looking in Sasha’s direction, finally spotting him. Then he peeks at his watch again. Sasha laughs.
The neoclassical Arlington House sits majestically at the region’s highest point, overlooking the river and the Mall. No matter the season, the views from the columned mansion are gorgeous. From the city below, the aristocratic manor house resembles the temple of an ancient Grecian goddess peering down on her subjects.
The builder of Arlington House drew his inspiration from his adoptive father’s estate stationed just thirteen miles downstream. Except for the Greek revival architecture, George Washington Parke Custis stayed remarkably true to Mt. Vernon’s layout.
When construction was finished, his first inclination was to name the estate “Mt. Washington,” in honor of the nation’s most important Founding Father. Sasha often marvels at the irony of its most famous occupant – the Confederacy’s most important general.
“The operation is STILL a go,” begins Arrowhead, coming right to the point. “After the election, a lot of people didn’t think the plan would survive without Nixon, but Kennedy surprised us all and authorized it to continue three days ago.”
“How soon?” Sasha asks.
“Fourteen weeks, give-or-take,” says Arrowhead. As usual, he speaks rapidly. “Target date will be April 15. American B-26 bombers painted to look like stolen Cuban planes will take off from Nicaragua and take out Castro’s airfields. Two days later, the Cuban Brigade will land at the Bay of Pigs and invade Cuba with about fourteen-hundred men.”
“What about support behind them?” Sasha inquires. “If the Brigade is in trouble, will Kennedy allow the US military to step in?”
“Supposed to but it gets a little fuzzy there,” Arrowhead replies. “The new President has been waffling all over the place. Getting a commitment from him is like trying to hold water in your hands. Most of my colleagues at The Agency think he’s chicken-shit. They are afraid he will bail out at the first sign of trouble. We could be wrong though. I’d prepare for it just in case.”
“It sounds like Kennedy isn’t very confident in Nixon’s plan,” Sasha observes.
“Nope, but he’s stuck,” Arrowhead replies. “What’s he going to do? Tell the CIA no? If he does that, The Agency will leak his lie about the missile gap and make him look like a fool. Now HE IS the one in a box. He cannot deny what he said during the campaign and he cannot blame us for deceiving him or people would think he is a naïve rube who might believe anything. He also cannot reveal classified information – a felony. Besides, the operation has been in the works for a year. What CAN he do…start over? He has other debts to pay now. He does not have time to mess around. He’s just crossing his fingers and hoping we pay off for him.”
“Jesus, he must really trust you guys…” Sasha says, “…to place his political future in the CIA’s hands…”
“…Hell no he doesn’t!” Arrowhead exclaims, interrupting loudly. A little TOO loud. Sasha and Arrowhead both pause and look around.
“He doesn’t trust us,” he explains, resuming his normal voice. “We DID mislead him during the campaign – had him spinning like a top so he could become President. Now he IS the President. He gets our daily security briefings. He knows the truth.”
“Which means he knows the CIA lied to him…” Sasha concludes.
“…Hell yes we lied, that’s what we do, god-dammit,” Arrowhead interjects. “He knows that we played him like a fiddle,” he says with a wicked laugh. “Kennedy feels dumb for saying what he said during the campaign. That’s not our fault – everybody has a right to be wrong. He won’t make that mistake again though, you know – fool me once, shame on me…”
“…So if things go to hell at the Bay of Pigs,” Sasha says, interrupting, “Kennedy won’t follow the plan OR listen to the CIA.”
“Probably not,” Arrowhead agrees. “Kennedy only trusts one person – his little brother. The real opportunity in this is – Bobby has about as much military and intelligence experience as you and I do cross-dressing. If it comes down to them, those two will screw it up all by themselves.”
February 13, 1961
“This is the same guy that was in my office less than two years ago trying to dissolve his American citizenship,” Mr. Snyder announces, nodding at the just-opened letter lying on his desk. He rubs his forehead. The senior consular officer at the American Embassy in Moscow is bewildered.
“Maybe he just changed his mind,” fellow consul John McVickar speculates, shrugging.
“No,” Snyder disagrees, shaking his head. “Something’s not right. This man is a former United States Marine. He stood right where you’re standing and threatened to turn over information he claimed was of ‘special interest’ to Soviet intelligence.”
“Classified information?” McVickar asks, alarmed.
“What else COULD it be? Snyder wonders. “He had several Top Secret security clearances while he was in the Marine Corps. I tried to tell him he would be committing treason but he denied it, saying something about it not being treason if he renounced his US citizenship first.”
“Semantics,” McVickar sniffs. “Read it to me again,” he says, pointing at the letter.
Snyder sighs and picks up the letter.
Since I have not received a reply to my letter of December 1960, I am writing again asking that you consider my request for the return of my American passport…
“…What letter?” McVickar interrupts Snyder. “I don’t understand…is this his SECOND letter?”
“No,” Snyder answers. “I don’t know what he’s talking about. Everything’s in here.” He holds up a file. “There is no letter dated December, 1960. In fact, this is the first time I’ve heard from him directly since he showed up in my office almost two years ago.”
“Then the KGB intercepted his first letter,” McVickar states matter-of-factly. “Why is he asking for the return of his passport – do we have it?”
“He left it on my desk when he walked out,” Snyder replies. “We had agreed he would return the following Monday but he never came back. So yes, we have it right here,” he says, holding up the passport. “At the time, I thought it was an accident but now I’m starting to think he left it on purpose.”
“Like he’s leaving a trail behind him – letters, meetings, passports…” McVickar agrees, his voice trailing off.
Snyder nods and resumes reading.
I desire to return to the United States – that is if we could come to some agreement concerning the dropping of any legal proceedings against me…
“…Sorry, what legal proceedings?” McVickar asks, interrupting again.
“I assume he did what he said he was going to do. He must have turned over military secrets and now he’s afraid he’ll be charged with a crime,” replies Snyder. “It’s certainly not a crime to renounce your citizenship.”
“Jesus, he’s got SOME god-damn nerve,” McVickar sputters angrily. He motions for Snyder to continue.
If so, then I would be free to ask the Russian authorities to allow me to leave. If I could show them my American passport, I am of the opinion they would give me an exit. At no time have they insisted I take Russian citizenship. I am living here with non-permanent type papers for a foreigner. I cannot leave Minsk without permission; therefore, I am writing rather than calling in person. I hope that in recalling the responsibility I have to America, you remember yours in doing everything you can to help me since I am still an American citizen.
“This is absolutely incredible,” McVickar declares after Snyder finishes. “This asshole is lecturing YOU to do your job no matter what you might think and get HIM off the hook…”
“…Like he knows something about the legalities of citizenship,” Snyder interjects, suspicious. “Clearly, this is no ordinary case,” he adds.
“Did he sign the letter?” McVickar asks, maneuvering himself behind the desk and peering over Snyder’s shoulder.
“Signed, ‘Lee H. Oswald’,” Snyder replies, pointing at the signature.
March 13, 1961
“You MUST remind your niece again the importance of this mission,” Father says sternly. “All of her training – hell, all of her life – has been pointing to this moment in time. The Soviet people are counting on her.”
“Yes sir,” replies the uncle, a ranking officer in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, known as the Russian Secret Police, or more simply, the MVD.
Father stands and walks around to the front of his massive desk. He loosens his tie and removes his glasses, cleaning them with the sleeve of his jacket. Then he props himself on the edge of his desk and addresses the MVD Colonel less formally.
“The American who gave us the U-2 is proving us right. Three months ago, he wrote a letter to the US Embassy – the same embassy where he tried to renounce his citizenship two years ago. Now all of the sudden he wants to return home to the United States. Surprise!” Father’s voice rises. “It gets better. We’ve just gotten word that the American, having completed his mission in enemy territory, is being recalled by the US State Department!” He leaps off the edge of the desk and starts pacing back and forth, gesturing with his arms. “The Americans think they have duped us. But they don’t know about your lovely niece, do they, Colonel Prusakova?”
“No sir,” the Colonel responds nervously.
“The Americans used defection as a ruse to sneak THEIR spy into OUR country. Well, the Soviets will use marriage as a pretext to sneak OUR spy into THEIR country – as THEIR spy’s wife!” Father declares, emphasizing the words loudly. “The time has come to activate Marina.”
“It’s brilliant, sir,” the Colonel gushes. “Sir, I CAN speak for Marina. You choosing her for this critical assignment – she feels honored. We have discussed it many times. This is her destiny.”
“Good. See to it immediately.” Father orders, dismissing the Colonel with a wave of his hand.
Marina Prusakova’s father died in WW II when she was a little girl. After that, she bounced from Archangel to Moldova to Leningrad with her nomadic stepdad – all before age twelve. Two years later, she moved to Minsk to live with her uncle, the MVD officer. Officially, Marina received her training for the next five years in pharmacology – earning her diploma in 1959. Unofficially, Marina has been receiving counter-intelligence training from the MVD while working the past two years in the pharmacy of a hospital in Minsk. She is now twenty-one and attractive – a loaded weapon in the hands of Soviet intelligence.
Like usual, Marina has dinner waiting for the Colonel when he returns home later that evening. He is unusually quiet at the table. Afterwards, he motions for his niece to join him on the patio for his after-dinner cigar. “Marina dear, we must talk.” Marina grabs her coat and pulls it tight. It is still cold this time of year in Minsk, especially after the sun goes down.
“For two years now,” uncle Prusakova begins, “you have been receiving special training for an important mission for your country. You are aware how important this is, no?”
Marina nods and smiles playfully, shivering. “Yes, of course uncle. What a silly question!” Her teeth are chattering.
He puts his arm around her. “Sweetheart, the time has come. I was in Moscow today meeting with a very high-ranking man from the KGB. He gave me your assignment. Are you ready to do your part for Mother Russia, comrade?”
“I am,” answers Marina confidently, without hesitation.
“You must know the sacrifice Marina,” uncle Prusakova says. “You will leave this country, your home, me – maybe never to return. You will be the wife of a total stranger. You will most likely have children with that stranger. All the while, you will be gathering intelligence. Sometimes, your mission will involve passing information from me to him that will serve Soviet interests.”
“I understand perfectly,” Marina claims. “Who is this man you speak of? Do I know him?”
“You don’t know him yet,” he answers her. “He is also an intelligence agent – just like you. Only, he works for America. He has completed his mission here and is preparing to return home. We think he needs a wife to go with him. The KGB will provide the time and opportunity for you to win him before he goes. You MUST be convincing.”
“Uncle,” she addresses him in a suddenly grown-up, more serious tone. Her gaze is steady and reassuring. “My father died serving his country. You have given your life to the cause. Now it is my turn. I have trained for this moment. It is my honor to follow in in our family’s footsteps and serve my homeland.”
“Good,” he replies, kissing her on the forehead. “You will need a nice dress. There is a dance in your near future!”
March 30, 1961
I cannot believe my luck, Lee is thinking, watching the most beautiful girl at the dance stealing furtive glances at him across the dance floor. He is accustomed to this kind of attention by now. Seemingly, all of Minsk is aware of the American in their midst – a novelty in Russia. This one is different, he thinks; she is too pretty to be desperate.
He cannot keep from noticing her frame as she dances gracefully – slender, athletic-looking legs, slim-waist, perfectly proportioned bosom. Her soft-brown hair is long and flowing with waves and curls that take turns framing her innocent-looking face. Her green eyes sparkle and droop seductively. A shy smile. Ivory skin and a killer body, especially in that sinfully low-cut, black halter dress. Gorgeous, he mutters to himself, admiring her from a distance.
Lee’s employer, the state-owned Minsk Gorizont (Horizon) Radio Factory is sponsoring a dance for its trade union workers. The event is one of relief – half for making last year’s quota and half for having endured another very long Russian winter. Although he is not much of a dancer, Lee thoroughly enjoys mingling with the younger company these kinds of gatherings attract. The hors d’oeuvres and punch are ancillary enchantments – ones he enjoys very much. The hostess smiles and hands her repeat customer another glass of punch. Lee noticed a funny taste in his mouth after his last cup. Maybe another one will get rid of it, he thinks, taking a big gulp.
“Excuse me,” a charming voice behind him says. He feels a light tap on his shoulder.
Lee turns around and there she is, standing in front of him. He almost chokes on the swallow of punch still in his mouth. “Yes?” he sputters.
“You are American, no?” she asks sheepishly, a playful grin on her face.
“Lee,” he answers, extending his hand awkwardly. “And yes, I am from the United States,” he adds, suddenly remembering her question.
“Marina,” she says sweetly as she offers her hand – the soft touch of her skin pressed against his hand in a gentle handshake sends tingles up his spine. “Your Russian is so excellent I thought you were native Russian with a Baltic accent when I first heard you speak. I couldn’t help but overhear you talking to them,” she tells him, pointing at the greeters near the front entrance.
Lee smiles nervously. “Thank you,” he says, swallowing hard. He wipes beads of sweat from his forehead. What is wrong with me? He wonders. Why do I feel so faint?
He hazily listens to her explaining details about her work and her family but he is having a hard time concentrating. His head hurts and he suddenly feels dizzy.
“What about YOUR family?” he hears her far-away voice asking him.
“Oh, it’s just me,” he answers, lying. “Both my parents are dead. My father died before I was born and my mother just recently passed.” he says quickly, blinking and wiping away more sweat.
“Are you okay?” she asks him. “You look flushed.”
“I don’t feel very good,” he replies, loosening his shirt collar. “I need to sit down.” Seated, Lee takes a deep breath before everything goes dark. “I…can’t…see,” he stammers, slumping over on his chair. The commotion around him continues for a few seconds until, complete silence.
April 21, 1961
Jesus, what a balls up, Sasha thinks, amused by the debacle he is watching unfold live on the television screen in front of him. I guess Arrowhead WAS right.
Sasha is a professional. Rarely does he take pleasure in the enemy’s misfortune. It is the nature of his business – win some, lose some. However, this is a train wreck of epic proportions – with the whole world watching. The talking heads are trying their best, but even they cannot spin this away. With some help from Sasha and Co., the Americans utterly botched the Cuban invasion. This was TOO easy, he tells himself, smiling.
If nothing else, the misadventure does confirm what Arrowhead had predicted. When the shit storm hit, the President and his brother got cold feet and cancelled the air support. Now, after the plan failed, they are both blaming the CIA for a bad plan.
Look who is on TV doing all the talking for the Administration, Sasha says to himself as the news coverage continues. Bobby, accusing the military and intelligence brass of setting up his brother again. Arrowhead was right about that too. JFK will not trust ANYBODY but Bobby now.
Of course, Arrowhead’s intelligence had forewarned the Soviets, who in turn, gave a heads-up to Castro. The element of surprise then-Vice President Nixon was counting on DID happen, just not the way he planned it. The only ones surprised were the Americans. Somewhere right now, Nixon is laughing his ass off, Sasha thinks.
First, the planes, then a few diversionary attacks meant to throw off Castro, a naval landing at the Bay of Pigs, followed by an inland drop of the paratroopers – a good plan in theory. In real life however, excellent intelligence work and Murphy’s Law ruined the plan. The diversionary attacks fooled no one.
The naval landing bogged down immediately because of ship engine failures, rough seas, and unforeseen coral reefs, all of which held up the landing long enough for the Cubans to counter with rocket fire. The ensuing scrum damaged some of the ships and disoriented the landing troops. Soldiers’ weapons and equipment were lost in the surf – resulting in unarmed men staggering onto the beaches – right into the waiting arms of Castro’s men.
The paratroopers dropped into the middle of a swamp, along with their weapons, supplies, and equipment. The orders had been to work their way back to the beaches, trapping Castro’s men in a pincer movement between two invading forces. Instead, they were ALL sitting ducks.
The CIA knew right away that the operation was a disaster. Its fallback plan was to request military backup from the President. It had happened before. In the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’ etat, The Agency’s black-ops similar to the Bay of Pigs also got off to a shaky start. Eisenhower provided military support just in time and the covert operation ultimately succeeded.
That was Eisenhower though – no stranger to the fog of war, and certainly not scared to adjust mid-stride and go to plan b. “War is nothing but a series of contingency plans,” he used to say. This is Kennedy. When the live bullets started flying, he pulled the chicken-switch.
In his address to the American people yesterday, Kennedy said there are “useful lessons” to be learned from this failure. Sasha was much more interested in something else he said. “Nor is it by any means the final episode in the eternal struggle of liberty against tyranny, anywhere on the face of the globe, including Cuba itself.” This is NOT over, Sasha realized as he reviewed the transcript of the President’s speech. Castro and Cuba will be ongoing issues…
Today, John Kennedy is the one taking live bullets. The press is eating his lunch, Sasha says to himself, now watching the split-screen images of former Vice President Richard Nixon leaving the White House after an emergency meeting yesterday next to Kennedy answering withering questions from the press today. The White House press corps shouts their questions rather than ask them.
“Mr. President, can you tell us anything about your talk with Vice President Nixon last night?”
“I brought – the Vice President came to the White House at my invitation – and I informed him, I brought him up to date on the events of the past few days,” the President responds calmly.
“I call bull-shit on that,” Sasha scoffs at the TV. “You want everyone to know that you inherited Nixon’s plan.”
The inquisition continues. “Mr. President, a published report claims you made the decisions to continue training Cuban refugees with arms provided by this Government and to release ships and fuel for the launching of the current operations in Cuba. Furthermore, this report says that you reached these decisions against the advice of your Secretary of State and his predecessor. Is this true?”
The President takes a deep breath. “There is an old saying – I don’t know where it comes from.” Kennedy allows for a pregnant pause in the room. “’Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan’. The reality is I am the responsible officer of the government.”
The President’s statement floors Sasha. “Wow, a politician taking public responsibility?” he says, impressed. “Maybe I was wrong about him…”
Regardless, the United States is embarrassed in front of the whole world. The American people are humiliated. The President and his brother are indignant. Moreover, the CIA is in big trouble. Not bad for a day’s work, Sasha congratulates himself silently, still smiling.
April 28, 1961
The dead drop is loaded. Sasha cannot wait to make the pick-up. Arrowhead’s intelligence made all the difference in Cuba. Three days after the fiasco, Sasha listened to Kennedy give a speech to the American people. He heard the President offer his mea culpa at a press conference the following day. He wonders what the internal fallout will be. He will not have to wait long.
The rotation places this meeting at Mount Vernon – George and Martha’s place. There will not be any walking this time – it is much too far. Sasha leaves the din of the District behind, driving fifteen miles south on the George Washington Memorial Parkway – a beautiful route along the Potomac River. Every road of any consequence in the DC area eventually bumps into the Potomac.
First glimpse of the handsome white estate emerging in the foreground against the backdrops of a flaming-red evening sun, the luscious canopy of green, and the grandiose waterway steals Sasha’s breath away. Like usual, Arrowhead is already there, waiting impatiently, looking at his watch.
“This is WAR now,” Arrowhead declares, startling Sasha with his opening broadside.
Arrowhead senses Sasha’s alarm. “Not with the Soviets, with the CIA,” he clarifies quickly. Sasha nods and exhales slowly, trying to pretend he already knows that.
Arrowhead continues, rapid-fire. “Kennedy is pissed. Bobby is pissed. Hell, Jackie is pissed too. Don’t be confused by the President’s statement at the press conference, ‘I am the responsible officer of the government…’ Fact is he and his brother blame us. They are out for scalps now.”
“What about The Agency – how does it feel?” Sasha asks, interested in the intramural conflict.
“Like we got left out in the cold with our dicks in our hands,” Arrowhead replies, with his usual coarseness. By now, Sasha is used to Arrowhead’s bluster. He listens without batting an eye.
“Rumors are that our top three guys are going to be fired,” Arrowhead says. “And, Kennedy’s looking at ways to use executive orders to strip powers and money from The Agency...”
“…Hold it,” Sasha interrupts, incredulous. “The President’s going to FIRE Allen Dulles?”
Arrowhead nods his head. “God-damn right he is.”
“Wow. Allen Dulles BUILT the CIA,” Sasha remarks. “He is THE sacred cow of intelligence around the world. Are you sure about this? The US isn’t quitting the intelligence business…” Sasha counters, skeptical.
“…Of course not,” Arrowhead interjects. “The President is going to transfer intelligence and covert-ops to the military, over which he and his brother have direct control.”
“Sounds personal,” observes Sasha dryly.
“Damn right it’s personal,” Arrowhead agrees. “It didn’t get a lot of attention in the media but Kennedy’s scapegoating was in high gear yesterday at the American Association of Newspaper Editors’ meeting. His staff circulated the room, leaking info to reporters and blaming the failed invasion on everybody but the Administration. From the podium, the President even said ‘How could I have been so stupid to trust the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff?’ But what he said next is what has Langley really up in arms.” Arrowhead pauses for effect.
“Well…what the hell did he say?” Sasha asks, not at all interested in Arrowhead’s theatrics now.
“He promised to ‘splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds’,” Sasha announces suddenly.
Sasha shrugs. “He probably overstated, trying to make a point…”
“…Nope,” Arrowhead interrupts, disagreeing. “It’s just like I said, this is war now. The President of the United States has declared war on the CIA.”
It is Sasha’s turn to pause now, mulling the ramifications. “It’s WAY too early in his first term for the President to be making these kinds of enemies,” he says finally.
“Nobody’s saying its smart,” Arrowhead smirks, “but that ship has already sailed.”
May 3, 1961
The CIA is a convoluted jungle of human intelligence gatherers, processers and analyzers, each grouped into departments, divisions, and operations. The covert nature of the job only adds to the confusion. Most times, the right-hand does not even KNOW the left-hand, much less, what it is doing or how well it is doing it.
In that kind of environment, it can be hard to rise through the ranks. A good agent is difficult to come by. Most operations directors try to hang on to the good ones rather than promote them. Michael Overstreet is a good spy. In nineteen years of service, he has only climbed three rungs of the CIA’s career ladder.
He began as a Paramilitary Operations Officer with the Special Operations Group (SOG). His job was gathering and processing intelligence in Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia. CIA agents do not commute to work if they are in counter-intelligence. They LIVE where they work. During his nine years in Prague, agent Overstreet knew if he was careless and was outed, the CIA would disavow all knowledge of his existence. For those nine years, he was the TIP of America’s Cold War spear.
After Czechoslovakia, The Agency transferred Overstreet to the relative safety of Langley, Virginia. He worked in the Special Activities Division, overseeing all covert operations or “special activities” in hostile territory. For the last six years, he has been an intelligence analyst with the Directorate of Operations (DO). For that entire decade, he WAS America’s Cold War spear.
Today is a big moment for him. The CIA is promoting him to Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations. Promotions within The Agency are low-profile events – necessarily so. There will not be a public announcement. There will not be a notice in the local newspaper. There will not even be an intra-office news bulletin. The Agency will not be hosting a ceremony to congratulate him or anybody else. No cake. Nothing – just a quiet internal shifting around of office spaces and co-workers.
Aside from his changing job description and a modest pay bump, Overstreet will not experience any significant changes in his daily routine; nor will his co-workers or the public. That is the point. The CIA does not even publish the names of its Deputy Directors.
As big a day this is for the new Deputy Director, it is an even bigger day for the Soviet Union. Arrowhead is now the Directorate of Operations’ number-two, overseeing the collection of ALL foreign intelligence from clandestine sources (human) and covert actions. The KGB has not EVER had had a mole this high up on the American Intelligence Community’s food chain. From this day forward, the SOVIETS will be holding America’s Cold War spear in THEIR hands.