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Posts Tagged ‘Two Days in Caracas’
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Tags: Chapter 3, Chapter Comments, Two Days in Caracas
South of America’s border. Los Zetas, the most powerful drug cartel in Latin America, has joined up with Hezbollah and the Al Quds force from Iran to create a deadly alliance to transport both drugs and illegals into the United States.
According to Americas Report, a publication put out by the Center for Security Policy, the two organizations are now engaged in a myriad of illegal activities together. These activities include the drug trade, money laundering, and human trafficking. In addition, Hezbollah has been allowed to open up cultural centers and camps in many Latin American cities, which are being used as training centers for sleeper cells in the United States.
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega believes an attack on the U.S. by Hezbollah is possible. He recently testified before Congress about such operations in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, and how this alliance is gaining ground in Central America and Mexico. Much of what Noriega outlined in various reports on this subject forms the underlying basis of the plot lines for Two Days in Caracas.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER THREE:
Bledsoe looked at me as if he didn’t quite believe I was being forthcoming with him.
“Does the Agency know how Ahmed arrived in the States in the first place?”
“Carlton said he flew to Mexico City from Damascus on a Lebanese passport. Once he got to Mexico, he disappeared. But since Hezbollah has ties with the Zeta drug cartel, our analysts believe the cartel helped him make his way up to Nuevo Laredo, over the U.S. border, and then on to Dallas. They’re still pulling the data threads on that connection though.”
Bledsoe said, “I know the cartel must be involved in this, and I’ll tell you why.”
He opened the red folder and removed a single sheet of paper. “About a year ago, after I made several unsuccessful attempts to obtain any intel on the drug cartels operating here, I finally recruited an asset inside the Zeta ring. His name is Hernando, and, although he’s a very low-level employee, he’s a solid source of information.
“Right now, all he does is take care of administrative details and run errands. I’ve been very cautious about using him because I want his bosses to trust him completely. That way he can work his way up the ranks and be privy to the kind of information we can use to bring down the cartel’s entire network. I’ve been carefully grooming him for over a year now. It’s been a slow process, but I’m certain we’re going to get some results soon.”
“I haven’t forgotten your cautious nature, Toby.”
He stared at me for several seconds, probably trying to decide if my remark was meant as a compliment or a criticism.
I tried to look non-committal.
He went on. “For the past six months, the cartel’s been ferrying drugs into the States using couriers who pose as tourists from San José. Since my asset arranges visas and airline tickets for them, I asked him to photocopy the passports of the mules they were using to move their product north. Here’s the list I made after he gave me the passport copies.”
He handed me the sheet of paper he’d been holding in his hand.
As I scanned the contents, he asked, “Anything jump out at you?”
Tags: Chapter 2, Chapter Comments, Two Days in Caracas
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.
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?”
Tags: Chapter 1, Chapter Comments, Good Covert Operative, Two Days in Caracas
Titus has spent a lifetime reading people and his ability to do so has kept him alive.In the final chapters of Two Days in Caracas, Titus explains to a younger operative why he believes the younger man will make a good spy. He says, “You know how to read people and use that knowledge to achieve an objective. An analyst interprets facts and data; a covert operative interprets people and situations.”
As the story unfolds, Titus’ ability to interpret each character’s emotions, motivations, and actions is severely tested, and, in some cases, to his detriment, he doesn’t always get it right.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER ONE:
Once the waiter had placed his coffee on the table and left, Mitchell leaned in toward me and asked, “What exactly do you think you’re doing?”
His smile had disappeared.
“I’m tracking a terrorist who killed one of our covert operatives in Dallas last month. Weren’t you briefed in on this?”
“Of course, I was briefed in.”
Mitchell picked up a spoon and studied it.
He appeared to scrutinize it so intently, someone might have thought he collected spoons for a hobby. After a few seconds, he laid it back down on the table and looked up at me.
I noticed his eyes were slightly dilated, and I saw a muscle on the left side of his face begin to twitch. I immediately recognized these as signs Ben Mitchell was having trouble controlling his temper.
I recognized the symptoms because I had often exhibited them myself.
He said, “I was told to meet you at the airport later today. Mind telling me what you’re doing here now?”
I was amused by his anger, and, until a few months ago, I would have enjoyed seeing just how much I could have harassed him before he finally exploded. Now, though, I resisted that temptation and explained myself—sort of.
“I took an earlier flight.”
He nodded his head but kept looking at me, as if he expected me to continue giving him an explanation.
I thought about the nonchalant way he’d done the recon on the cement house while appearing not to do so, and I decided to give him what he wanted.
“Look, I came in earlier than expected, because I’ve been doing this long enough to know my chances of staying alive are always better if I do the unexpected. Being predictable gets you killed.”
Tags: The Launch, Two Days in Caracas
Two Days in Caracas, Book 2 in the Titus Ray Thriller Series, went live on Amazon today in both print and Kindle editions. Readers of Book 1, One Night in Tehran, will discover this second book in the series takes up exactly where Book 1 left off, with Titus in pursuit of the Hezbollah assassin, Ahmed Al-Amin. Chapter 1 finds Titus in San Jose, Costa Rica, but there’s a brief flashback to what happened when he arrived at Langley, Virginia after saying goodbye to Nikki Saxon and leaving Norman, Oklahoma.
In this second book in the series, Titus will have plenty of opportunities to test out his newfound faith in Christ and take some baby steps in his prayer life. He’ll also discover the Christian life isn’t easy, but its rewards are bountiful. When he encounters a family crisis and then must deal with an old nemesis, in the midst of carrying out his critical mission, he has a few successes and many failures.
Here’s a brief excerpt from one of the later chapters.