As a brief set-up, in 1999, it was widely reported in the press that the FBI found a listening device in the walls of a State Department conference room. In Son of a Itch, a new bug is found and J.J. McCall develops theory centered around the reason for the 1999 operation.What if the 1999 operation was a precursor to an even bigger operation? And if so, who is responsible?
While I can't speak on the specifics of that case not reported in the media, I thought it would be interesting to mix in a little reality with the fiction--especially with a case that shocked and baffled a lot of people in the intelligence community.
Does J.J. get it right?
You'll have to read the book to find out!
Jiggy's character is a member of the FBI's Special Support Group--SSG or affectionately called "The G's." Among many duties, they serve as the FBI's eyes and ears--the surveillance team. Jiggy is on the phone with J.J. Everything else is self explanatory. Enjoy.
Monday at FBI Headquarters...
Jiggy trampled over his words like a truck over road kill, rambling as he spewed out the chronology of the events leading up to his presence in the park. How he’d spotted Gusin during his surveillance of the new counterintelligence officer Filchenko who was already turning out to be a real piece of work. While Jiggy’s mind still churned on the reason for Filchenko’s strange surveillance activity, he was clear about Gusin.
“The M.O. looks familiar. This whole situation takes me back a few years—1999 to be exact.”
Her 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, only 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.
“199— You mean the— get out! Where?”
“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 boiling over here and 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. Sucks when your success comes back to bite you in the ass.”
“What gets me is the Russians don’t give a shit about a memo. The Bureau is the only one playing by the freakin’ rules,” Jiggy said.
“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’m here, still thinking. I mean, there wouldn’t be anything wrong if we had little analytical exchange with the G’s…as long as we don’t go operational.”
“Exactly. An exchange of opinions. I like the way you think,” he said. “But you need to get down here now. Gusin's still in the area so don’t draw attention to yourselves.”
“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 tend to,” she said, cutting her eyes as a 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 a task force, 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 on where we go from here.” J.J. expected that if events unfolded as she anticipated, the cases may 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 did Jiggy want?”
J.J.’s eyebrow raised. “He was following the new counterintelligence line chief, Filchenko. The guy gets lost and he runs into Gusin at the Ellipse. He wants us to go check it out.”
Six’s glance volleyed between Tony and J.J. He tilted his head to one side and pursed his lips, shrugged, and said, “Wait. Gusin’s a signals guy.”
Tony looked surprise at his interruption. “What? You put your hearing aid in? We were havin’ a private conversation,” Tony snapped. “As a matter of fact he’s the line chief for 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 Tony and J.J.
Six’s 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.”
“Dirty Harriet?” Tony snapped, sneering at Six. “This…from Shaft?”
“Okay, you two. Watch it or I’ll take you both to the principal’s office,” J.J. said as she locked her glance on Six. “We’re not investigating anything. We aren’t making any arrests. We’re talking to the G’s. If I recall correctly, Title 18 gives me the authority to do so on behalf of the American people without regard to this political bullshit. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
“And you wonder why you can’t get a promotion.” Six barked.
His words stung, but she bit back. “And you wonder why I 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? Let’s get outta here, J.J. Time’s a wastin’.”
“I’m going too,” 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 it involves signals intelligence, 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.”
Tony exited first. He strode into the corridor and shot back a blank glance over his shoulder, “I need to check on something. I’ll be a couple minutes behind you.”
J.J. smirked and turned to Six as he studied her expression. “What is it, Six? You keep looking at me like I have spinach in my teeth,” she said running her tongue along the top row.
“No, no. Trying to figure out what’s up with you and the Italian Stallion. The air between you two was so cold I think my balls caught frostbite.”
J.J. chuckled and shook her head. “Is your brain in any way connected to your mouth?”
“Don’t try to deflect the question. Answer me.”
“If I wanted to talk about it, I would’ve.” She shrugged and paced ahead. “Let’s say, things between Tony and I will never be the same. Last Friday was a game changer.”
If you want to know what happened "Last Friday," pick up a copy of The Seven Year Itch, now on sale on Kindle and Nook!
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