Monday, November 9th—FBI Headquarters
J.J. could hardly believe Jiggy’s tale—the Russians monitoring U.S. government communications from the Ellipse? Maybe even the White House? Jiggy rambled as he detailed the chronology of the events leading up to his presence in the park.
“The M.O. looks familiar. This whole situation takes me back a few years—1999 to be exact.”
J.J.’s forehead wrinkled in confusion. Took her a moment to catch his reference. The case. The thumb in the eye of the U.S. government delivered by a couple of quarter-sized electronic listening devices found in a State Department conference room. Doors down from the Secretary’s Office. And inside the walls of the very Agency whose existence allowed for the Russian diplomatic presence in the United States, no less. The story was all over the news.
“199— You mean the— get out! But…how?”
“How in hell should I know? I drive cars for a living,” he said. “I, uhh, hesitated to call. I’m sure you’re on ice because of the stand-down.”
“You got the memo, huh? I wish I was on ice,” J.J. said. “The water’s hot as hell over here and Director Freeman’s got more eyes on me than a two-headed spider. I can’t step a toe out of line or the CIA will roast my head on a spit.”
“What gets me is the Russians don’t give a shit about a memo,” Jiggy said. “The Bureau is the only one playing by the freakin’ rules.”
J.J. agreed. Bad guys didn’t care about the concept of “fair.”
“Listen, I hate to put you in a compromising position, but…”
The pits of her arms began to burn; his lie made her itch. She smirked and shook her head. “Give me a freaking break, Jig. You knew exactly who you were calling.”
He chuckled and continued, “All right, all right. You got me. But if I’m correct about the similarities, this discovery could be the beginning of something big.”
J.J. quieted and sunk into her thoughts.
“Hello?” Jiggy said.
“I can’t do it. My job’s on the line, and I’m not sure whether I want to lose it yet.”
“Then don’t think of it as an investigation. Think of it as an…exchange of ideas,” he said.
J.J. remained silent.
“C’mon, wasn’t it you who told me ‘Do your duty and damn the consequences’?”
Ugh. General Patton. She hated when her motivational speeches came back to bite her in the ass.
“That was low, Jig. All right. All right.”
“Great! But you need to get down here now. Gusin’s still in the area so try not to draw attention.”
“This is me you’re talking to, Jiggy. Low key is my middle name.”
J.J. hung up, swept back into the office, and interrupted the mumbles. “Uhhh, sorry to break this up everyone, but Tony—we’ve got some important business to attend to,” she said, cutting her eyes to signal that he shouldn’t question her in that moment. His twisted expression revealed his confusion; however, he didn’t say a word.
“Since we’re still an analytical working group, when are we going to prioritize and conduct our analyses?” Gia asked.
“I’ll email you all tonight. By then I’ll have more direction.” J.J. expected that if events unfolded as she anticipated, the cases would prioritize themselves.
As everyone gathered their things to depart, Gia lingered awkwardly, waiting for Tony until she finally realized he wasn’t leaving. A few moments later, she drifted out of the door.
Tony eased beside J.J. and in a hushed tone asked. “What’d Jiggy want?”
J.J.’s eyebrow lifted. “He was following the new counterintelligence line chief, Filchenko. The guy gets lost and Jig runs into Gusin at the Ellipse with equipment and a possible receiver. He wants us to go check it out.”
Six’s glance volleyed between Tony and J.J. He tilted his head to one side, pursed his lips, and said, “Wait. Gusin’s a radio intercept guy, right?”
Tony looked surprised at his interruption. “What? You put your hearing aid in? We were havin’ a private conversation here,” Tony snapped. “As a matter of fact, he leads the entire signals group, the most senior guy in Washington.”
“You’re not going down there to conduct an operation,” Six ordered, drawing side glances from his colleagues. His expression grew serious, his voice stern. “Or do I need to define ‘stand-down’ for you? Too many lives are at risk for you to run out playing Dirty Harriet because some signals guy landed in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Oh really?” Tony snapped, sneering at Six and defending J.J. “This…from Shaft?”
“Okay, you two. Watch it or I’ll take you both to the principal’s office,” J.J. said, locking eyes with Six. “We’re not conducting an investigation at this stage. We aren’t making any arrests. We’re only talking to the Gs. If I recall correctly, Title 18 gives me the authority to do so on behalf of the American people without regard to any of this political bullshit.”
“And you wonder why you can’t get a promotion,” Six barked.
His words stung, especially coming from someone who knew first-hand how she’d suffered under Jack Sabinski’s reign, but she bit back. “And you wondered how I could question your loyalty.”
Six’s eyes widened. He opened his mouth to speak, but remained silent.
“Okay. Okay. Now, who needs a trip the principal’s office?” Tony said. “Let’s get outta here, J.J. Time’s a’ wastin’.”
“I’ll be right behind you,” Six said. “Somebody’s got to protect our interests.”
J.J. rolled her eyes. “You’re an American citizen. Our interests are your interests,” she growled before mumbling, “asshole.”
“I heard that!” Six said.
“Uhhh, I don’t want to intrude,” Walter piped in. “But if signals intelligence is involved, as the only NSA rep in the group, I may be able to help.”
“Good thinking! You’re in,” J.J. said, a slight smile emerging from her scowl. Walter might have more balls than she gave him credit for. “We’ll walk. It’s only a few blocks away.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish