Posts Tagged ‘Chapter 2’

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.


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?”


Chapter 2

A CIA safe house is nothing new to Titus Ray. He’s been housed, briefed and debriefed in them throughout the Middle East and the Washington D.C. area for the past twenty years.

The Gray, the CIA safe house in One Night in Tehran, is located in a gated residential area, but, most likely, the residents of this posh neighborhood have no idea the mansion down the road belongs to the US government.

How can you tell if your neighbor is a member of America’s clandestine agency? Here are a couple of things to ask: Do they entertain a lot of “faceless” people? Do they ever invite you over for dinner?


A few minutes after she left, Greg removed a sheet of paper from his shirt pocket. “Here’s the schedule for your debrief tomorrow,” he said. “It looks pretty straightforward. I know you’ve been through this drill several times.”

I took the schedule and stuffed it inside my jeans pocket without looking at it.

“You like working for the Agency, Greg?”

I wasn’t sure whether it was my question or the fact I was beginning to talk, but Greg smiled when he gave me his answer. “Yes, yes, I do.”

He took a sip of his coffee then gestured at his surroundings. “Obviously, this is a pretty cushy job.”

“Did you ever go operational, work in the field?”

His eyes shifted slightly to the left, and he hesitated a moment before answering. I had no doubt he was weighing whether it was more important to keep me talking or follow Agency rules. He decided on the former.

However, he sounded apologetic when he answered me. “Only Level 4 action, but Martha was Level 2. We met at an Agency in-house party and got married six months later.”

“So you had to transfer to Support services after you were married?”

“Yeah. There were some options, but . . .” he looked over at me, then up at a camera mounted in the ceiling, “you know how difficult it would have been to live any kind of normal life, much less see each other, if either of us had stayed in Operations.”

I agreed. “It wouldn’t have worked.”

He nodded his head, drained the last of his coffee, and walked over to the sink, carefully rinsing out his cup.

“Did Martha have a hard time adjusting?”

Looking perplexed, he asked, “Adjusting?”

“You know. Did she miss . . .” I struggled to find the right words, “her sense of purpose about what she was doing?”

He thought about my question for a moment. “I don’t think she missed the ops at first. We couldn’t really talk about it, of course, but I suspected her last assignment had gotten a bit ugly. I’m sure that made the change easier.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Look, Titus, you know we aren’t supposed to—”

“Did she stop believing?”

There was no mistaking the anger in his voice. “Believing? You mean did she stop believing her actions were helping her country?”

“No, of course not. I’m talking about that inner calling that—”

An alarm went off—a steady beep, beep, beep.