TWO DAYS IN CARACAS – A Chapter Comment

Posted: July 4, 2015 in Chapter Comments, Two Days in Caracas
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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 mentions “The Bubble” in an embassy. Do all embassies have Bubbles?

All embassies have soundproof safe rooms, although they may not always be called “The Bubble.” This was the name applied to the safe room in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during The Cold War, and many embassies adopted the nomenclature for their own safe rooms. They can be various sizes, depending on the size of the embassy. Many are actually rooms within a larger room.They are constructed of materials which defeat eavesdropping and enable secure communications.

Because of the way sound carries in the room, and also because of the lack of windows inside, anyone who has claustrophobia often has difficulty remaining inside the room for very long. Most often, they are equipped with a long conference table, communications equipment and chairs without cushions–the latter to be certain no one inserts a listening device inside a seat. Before a meeting takes place, the rooms are “swept” for electronic devices. Titus has spent many long hours in “Bubbles” around the Middle East and Latin America. He knows them well.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER TWO:

I immediately recognized the room as The Bubble. All embassies are required to have them. It’s a soundproof unit lined with acoustical tiles and used for meetings of a sensitive nature or sometimes for interrogating people with sensitive information.

It’s a sensitive kind of place.

I took a seat at one end of a long conference table.

“So why does Bledsoe want to see me?”

Mitchell held a finger to his lips and removed a small, gray device from his pocket. It was an electronic debugger, about the size of a cell phone, and he used it to sweep the room for any electronic listening devices.

It never beeped.

Once he’d determined the room was clean, Mitchell slipped the device back inside his pants pocket and sat down at the conference table across from me.

He said, “Toby Bledsoe doesn’t believe you’re here tracking down a terrorist. He thinks you’re here doing an internal investigation on him.”

I thought he might be joking, but I could read nothing in his facial expression indicating that.

I doubted Mitchell’s disclosure, but I didn’t doubt he believed it.

While I knew the Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) was responsible for internal investigations inside the CIA, I’d never heard of an intelligence officer being used to conduct such an investigation.

“Why would Bledsoe think such a thing?”

“He has sources inside the Agency who told him the Deputy Director put you on a year’s medical leave a few months ago. Now you’ve shown up here in Costa Rica in pursuit of a Hezbollah terrorist. Costa Rica is not a hotbed of terrorism. The facts just don’t add up, and, believe me, if the facts don’t add up, Toby gets paranoid.”

“Well, good for him. Paranoia should be mandatory for all station chiefs.”

Mitchell grabbed a bottle of water from a credenza behind him.

“Want one?”

I nodded, and after he’d tossed it over, I asked, “Is Bledsoe involved in something that might initiate an internal investigation from the OIG?”

 

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