S.D. Skye: Welcome J.J.! It's so great to have you here with us today. Please take a moment and tell us a little bit about your background.
J.J. McCall: Well, where do I begin! I hate talking about myself. I think it's the nature of the job. Ummm...well, I was born and raised in Washington D.C. My father was a political activist; my mother was one of the first African American, female FBI Agents under the J. Edgar Hoover administration. I graduated from Howard University with a degree in Political Science and headed to the training Academy in Quantico shortly thereafter. I've been an agent for over a decade now working espionage, counterintelligence, and Russian organized crime for most of it.
S.D. Skye: What's the difference?
J.J. McCall: Well, in espionage investigations the FBI is largely targeting U.S. government employees selling or otherwise giving classified intelligence to foreign intelligence services. Counterintelligence involves identifying and neutralizing operatives of foreign intelligence services attempting to collect classified U.S. government information. Often these investigations go hand in hand. When we identify an operative is collecting information that sometimes leads to a government employee who is providing the information to the officer. And Russian organized crime is similar in nature, in terms of FBI authority, to Italian organized crime, which I think most people are familiar with.
S.D. Skye: Why did you choose to join the FBI?
J.J. McCall: *pause* Well, my mother was a star FBI agent and my biggest role model...until she was killed in the line of duty. She was brave and honorable, everything I wanted to be. So, despite my fear of meeting the same end, it was very natural for me to follow in her footsteps. I also feel a level of patriotism which I cannot explain except with the understanding that I want to protect my country and the people in it...even the ones I don't agree with.
S.D. Skye: I'm sorry to hear about your mother, but it sounds like you have a very noble purpose. I bet she would be proud of the person you've become today.
J.J. McCall: Well...I certainly hope so.
S.D. Skye: So, how did you get into the espionage business?
J.J. McCall: After I graduated from Quantico, I was assigned to the Washington Field Office, which was highly unusual. Everyone kind of made a big deal of it at the time but I didn't understand why I received the assignment. Most agents are sent to field offices outside their home states, mostly to protect their identities. But I guess fate had a different plan for me.
S.D. Skye: Were you specifically requested at the field office?
J.J. McCall: I honestly don't know; I went where I was ordered to go. Anyway, for the first few years, all agents are rotated around to different squads to learn all aspects of conducting investigations within FBI jurisdictions, as well as to figure out what you're really good at and what you really love. Just so happened my first assignment was on the counterintelligence squad. I showed a real proclivity for the work and enjoyed it so they kept me around. It's some of the most challenging work the FBI does because the enemy is clever and elusive. If someone drops a bomb, God forbid, there is evidence, there are trails. Often when intelligence officers steal secrets or American insider spies sell secrets, the trail is often undetectable for years until some major compromise or operational failure exposes a problem. That's ultimately what led to the arrest of Lana Michaels.
S.D. Skye: Yes, Lana Michaels, the Russian illegal that you caught operating undercover in the FBI. Can you provide us with an update of that investigation?
J.J. McCall: Well, I can't share much, but obviously she's still on the run. Every law enforcement agency east of the Mississippi is attempting to track her down and bring her to justice. In the meantime, it's my understanding that FBI Agent Chris Johnson struck a plea deal and is supporting the damage assessment. Another agent, Jack Sabinski, accepted an offer for early retirement.
S.D. Skye: Do you fear for your own life with her on the loose?
J.J. McCall: No. But I fear for any civilian who comes in contact with her. She is ruthless, conscienceless, and will not hesitate to kill anyone who gets in her way. Anyone who comes in contact with her is encouraged to call the FBI immediately.
S.D. Skye: Is there evidence that suggests there are more Russian illegals like Lana Michaels operating in the U.S. government?
J.J. McCall: Obviously, with an investigation in progress I cannot comment on that aspect of the case at this time. What I can say is that the FBI and the security components of every federal agency are vigilant about looking for signs of insider spies and compromises, and we investigate them as they come to our attention. There is always a fear that there are more. But we do not fear that they will be identified and brought to justice...eventually.
S.D. Skye: Very interesting, indeed. During the TV network interviews at Dulles airport following the initial arrest of Lana Michaels, there was some speculation that you might be involved with your co-case agent Antonio Donato. Care to comment?
J.J. McCall: *smiles* Yes. In the words of the U.S. Constitution--I plead the Fifth Amendment.
S.D. Skye: What's on the horizon?
J.J. McCall: The FBI Director has put me in charge of leading an intelligence community task force aimed at preventing similar compromises in the future. Its members include representatives from the Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, and, of course, the FBI. We are charged and ready to fulfill our missions.
S.D. Skye: Well, thank you for joining us today! Hope you'll stop by again soon.
J.J. McCall: You can count on it.
Read more about J.J. McCall in The Seven Year Itch and Son of a Itch (On Sale December 10th).
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.