IT’S A NOVEL WITH A MESSAGE: OUR UNITY IS IN CHRIST; NOT THE BALLOT BOX.
Tuesday June 26th, Washington D.C.
I was on my way to work when I called my mom. I was behind a woman who was putting her face on while she was driving. It made me wonder when state lawmakers will expand their driving and cell phone use laws. “Hey, Mom, just checking in with you.”
“Good morning, Jacky. How are you doing, Son?”
“Not bad. Good.”
I heard her grunt and then she said, “Uh-huh, what’s bothering you, Jacky?”
After a few quiet moments I said, “I’ve got a busy day today and there are a lot of religious issues on the table and Mom, I need wisdom. That’s what I tried to tell you about last week.”
She then said, “If it’s wisdom you want, you’ve come to the right place, because I pray for wisdom for you all the time.”
“I know you do, Mom. I know you do.”
“What else, Jacky?”
“Well, from our call last week, I got the impression I can’t ask for wisdom unless I’ve been, what’s it called, ‘born-again?’ Isn’t that what Chuck Colson called it?
Mom was silent which is unusual.
“I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings last week, Son.”
“I know, Mom.” I was getting weepy all of a sudden. Where was that coming from?
“I love you, Son.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
“And Jesus loves you, too.”
I didn’t respond. I just said, “I need to go. Good to talk to you.”
“You too, Jacky.”
All throughout the day I received updates on who the Prayer-Guy was visiting. And he visited a lot. We estimated he walked about ten miles. He also never took the elevators, which must have winded our agents.
Except for lunch with Pastor Mortenson, where “she left clearly flustered,” he spent the entire day visiting Congressmen and women’s offices. Apparently, day two he spends on the Senate side of the Capitol.
At the end of the day I sat down with Pete’s surveillance notes. After each stop he would speak into his phone and leave a brief note based on his stop, or activity, or prayer. It was actually great because we picked up on the details of each stop, without having to do any voice surveillance and run the risk of getting caught recording an elected official.
I put the file down but reread, “She left clearly frustrated,” which means to Homeland that she is being ordered around by Dr. Dale.
“I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right.” I laughed at myself thinking about these things and then decided my mom needs to pray a lot more for me.
I understood Dr. Dale’s note-keeping organization. I do something similar. When you are making twenty or twenty-five stops a day, you have to record some brief notes of each visit or by the end of the day their comments and your words can be inaccurate. When I’m on the Hill meeting with these folks I do the same thing.
He basically had three different types of notes. The first is a simple “P.C.” which has nothing to do with “Political Correctness.” Rather, they are his Prayer Cards. We heard him say to someone in the hallway, “These men and women may be brilliant attorneys or doctors, but they’re not theologians. So I leave my version of P.C. which are my prayer cards to remind them how I’m praying for them and their staff this month.”
The second kind of note had to do with when he prayed with a staff person, or more than one. Listening to some of his comments after he had prayed was very interesting. This Prayer-Guy seemed to be focused on encouraging the people he prayed with. I don’t think he was very creative, though. I looked it up and there are about 31,000 verses in the Bible. But he seemed to use the same one, over and over again.
I Googled the verse. It was Romans 15:13 which says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” I’ve been told this is the version King James used back in seventeenth century England. But according to Dr. Dale’s notes, people were very grateful to hear him pray for them. I guess that if something works, you stay with it. I don’t know. After all, there are 31,000 verses!
The third set of notes referred to when he prayed with Congressmen and women. I made sure we did not keep a record of those notes, but I read them before they were destroyed. Many were very personal and they were all very different. Most had to do with family. Some had to do with friends and once in a while they had to do with work in Washington D.C. which I found surprising. I would have expected there to be more praying for their D.C. or district work.
It was eye-opening to read the report on him. He seemed genuine, as genuine as anyone can be, in D.C. There was one problem though, his meeting with the Atlanta Pastor.
They ate in the lunchroom under the Longworth House Office Building and there was too much noise there to use a directional mic and pick-up anything worthwhile. Pete’s people think this was a deliberate maneuver to cover their conversations.
“But to what end?” I kept asking myself.
“What does he want with her? It doesn’t add up.”
I ate an early dinner while I finished reading the surveillance notes. My throat was feeling a little scratchy, so I had a chicken noodle soup. It’s an old favorite which works for me every time.
After I finished with my soup and crackers, I made some notes:
Perp #1, Pastor, arrogant/mean/rich
Perp #2, Counterintelligence/hacker
Perp #3, Prayer Guy
Perp # 4, Religion Consultant for Candidate A
Perp # 5, Religion Consultant for Candidate B
Intersections of the Perps:
Perp #1: employs Perp #2, has lunch with Perp #3, meets boss of Perp #4 and #5
Perp #2: employed by Perp #1, meets and communicates with Perp #3, met and has periodic email contact with Perp #4
Perp #3: meets with Perp #1, meets with Perp #2, meets with Perp #3, meets with both Perps #4 and #5
Perp #4: met Perp #2, including periodic emails/texts, met with Perp #3
Perp #5: meets often with Perp #3
NOTE TO FILE: Perp #3 is the centerpiece to all of this. The question we need to figure out is what he wants with all of these folks.
I thought about this and the number of times the Prayer-Guy has met with Perp #5 made me amend my notes to include, “What do Perps #3 and #5 gain from this mission, if they are even guilty of a mission?”
While making my notes I got a call from the Safe House-3 transcriber.
“Sir, you need to hear this.”
She then wired me in to a meeting in progress, in Safe House-3. It was Billy and Sammie again.
“How did you get it, Billy?”
“Well, it took longer than I expected, but when I couldn’t find anything on Jack’s hard drive, I had to deduce it was because his documents were in a safe, not on his computer.”
“This is scary, Billy.”
“I know, Sammie. I know.”
“But keep going. Did you find his passwords?”
“Yes, that was pretty easy, but that was when I realized I had another problem. You see, none of his passwords got me closer to the documents I now have.”
“I’m confused, Billy. If the documents were not in his computer, but in his safe, did you. . .You didn’t. . .”
“Open his safe? No. I just started looking for his notes. One of the first days I was in his office, I noticed a few apps light up on his phone because I have them too.”
“Which ones? Which apps, Billy?”
“There were a number, but only two were needed. He has the OneNote app and the Trello app. I simply got into those two apps, got around their firewalls and found an abbreviated version of his case notes. I think he works on a case and speaks into his phone to record notes which probably eventually make it into a report.”
I heard Sammie laughing tentatively in the background and I called Grace to have her get some agents over to these two thieves and drag them in here, handcuffed. But when she came on the line, I didn’t say anything to her. I just kept listening to Billy and Sammie.
“Sir?” Grace said a couple times before I hung up on her.
I had changed my mind. “Connect the dots you two. Connect the dots.” I said to myself.
My Safe House-3 Transcriber was still on the phone. I told her, “Leave them alone. I don’t want them touched, but bring me the raw transcript immediately after they leave.”
I called Grace back, “Grace, I’m going to be here all night, go home.”
She was saying, “Yes, sir,” when I hung up.
Same Evening, Safe House-3
Billy had really done it this time and we could be in big, big trouble, if we or he is ever caught.
I confess though, it was also kind of exciting.
Billy laid his documents out with a bulleted cover document on top. He wanted to walk me through them but I said, “Your hacker who has been getting in to snoop on Issy’s computer is no longer just looking.”
“Yes, I know,” he said. “He’s doing a combination MitM attack, gaining control of her computer, for the purpose of stuffing in more and more documents, supposedly hers. He’s also continuing the SQL Injection hack to read the data he’s interested in. Is that what you’re seeing?”
“Yes,” then I described the documents which I had found.
“Interesting,” he said, “Very Interesting.”
There was a long silence when he said, “Sammie, I think our window for helping Jude and Issy is rapidly closing.”
I nodded my head and he continued.
“From Jack’s notes I can tell that he is not sold on Jude and Issy being dirty.”
“Whew,” I said more loudly than I meant to.
“But he is reading Homeland’s conclusions and doesn’t have alternative explanations.”
“We need to give them to him, Billy.”
“I know, Sammie.”
“What are those alternative explanations?” I pressed.
“Well, we clearly have a few of them, but these regarding Dr. Dale, the one they call the Prayer Guy, are still beyond us,” he said, clearly frustrated.
I was getting frustrated too. I was concerned for two very decent people, Jude and Issy, and scared for two hackers, me and Billy.
“Sammie, we need to work, double time quick. I think that’s what they say in military lingo. And, you and I have the advantage, Sammie.”
“They are looking at all this through the lens of people who are ignorant when it comes to things of the Lord.”
I must have looked a bit perplexed because Billy explained, “They aren’t looking at any of these ‘facts’ of theirs through the lens of Christian interaction. We can.”
I nodded my head slowly and asked, “So, where do we go next?” nodding to his list.
He got a big grin, a cute grin, a grin I realized I liked more and more, then he said, “This is your list. I think that if we translate these ‘facts’ of theirs with our knowledge as Christians, we can give Jack an alternative perspective and turn their investigation around.”
“I get that,” I said, a little short with him. “Again though, where do we go next?”
I could tell I had hurt his feelings a bit, but he just kept on. He turned the cover document around to me and pointed to the bottom.
“The bottom of this list has the points of entry into the Prayer Guy’s data, as well as Jude and Issy’s, which you already have. Based on what I showed you before, we need to look at the places on social media Dr. Dale has given us, to find out what he is all about. If Homeland is looking at these things, I don’t think they are correctly discerning what they are seeing.”
“I think you and I should look over everything. . .”
“Duplicating each other’s work? Isn’t that a little inefficient? I interrupted.
“Yes, but,” he said without hesitation. “I think two eyes seeing the same documents gives us a better opportunity to analyze it more accurately, although it may take a little longer.”
“But time is not an option we have, Billy,” I responded.
“Correct, you’re right. We’ll continue to divide the work,” he said.
He showed me the first item on his list. It read, “Why is Perp #3 determined to visit D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday only?”
“Now look at this,” Billy said, as he passed me over the last three calendar months from Dr. Dale, AKA the Perp dubbed, “The Prayer-Guy.”
I looked at it for a few seconds and then let out a short squeal of laughter. I was embarrassed, but Billy just kept looking at me with a smile creeping onto his face too.
As I looked up my face started to flush. I was getting angry. And he could see it too. I am finding this new friend of mine already knows me well, probably better than anyone I have ever met.
He reached over his hand covered mine. It was nice and soft and I relaxed a bit.
“Sammie, it is obvious to us why Dr. Dale comes here the days he does, but don’t be angry at Homeland or Jack. They wouldn’t give this the same importance which you and I understand it deserves.”
He was right, of course. I agreed and said so.
“You see these initials?” he asked.
“They need to be run down. That’s your first task.”
“Sammie, I also need you to start looking for every document Jude sends outside of the Campaign team. Where is it going, what are the contents, and can it jeopardize his employment in any way?”
“Let’s get at it,” I said, and we left Safe House-3.
Standing by the door to leave he said, “Sammie, you go first. I think we need to leave at different times, not just different exits.”
“That makes sense,” I responded, “But how did you come up with that?”
“Red 3. The latest Bruce Willis espionage action movie.”
I just chuckled at him and said, “Okay.”
He stuck his hand out to me to shake and I responded likewise. Looking at it I said, “When this Presidential Campaign is over, we should, umm.” I hesitated. I didn’t know what else to say.
He was smiling big now, and said, “We should go on a date.”
“Yes,” I agreed.
Same Night, FBI Headquarters
“Yes, please, put yourselves out of your misery,” I agreed, listening to the end of their conversation.
“But wait until the campaign is done. I don’t want Homeland to start an investigation on you two, too.”
Sammie had gone when I heard a mumbling in my earpiece. It was Billy. He sounded like he was talking to himself. I turned up the volume.
“Oh, Lord,” he was saying, “Your Word says that when we need wisdom, we are to ask of You, and You will give it to us generously.[i] Sammie and I really need it. And Lord, so does Jack as he directs this flawed investigation. In Your Son’s Name I pray, Amen.
[i] James 1:5