CHAPTER 1

 

“. . . even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” –Thomas Jefferson 1779

 

Fairfax, Virginia –Almost Three Years Later

 

It was one of those blustery, wet autumn days, the late October kind that portends future grief from gusting cold winds, freezing sleet rains and shiny black ice roads; the kind that make women more heat conscious than fashion styling as they hunch over, holding long, bright knit scarves to their faces, bucking the wind as they walk the last few blocks to and from work or the metro stop.

 

The four by six inch padded manila envelope that appeared in Lynn Koons mailbox on a late Friday afternoon was a local piece of mail. It bore the post mark of the Fairfax, Virginia postal station, one of the major suburban mail centers just outside of the Washington D.C. beltway. The recipient, Lynn Koons, was a product of the not so rural Amish countryside of central Pennsylvania.

 

Unknown to her neighbors and her friends, the quiet woman next door, Lynn Bertha Ann Bernice Koons, was a spy. She was a success story -- a woman who had broken through the glass ceiling and held an important intelligence position in the federal government. In fact she was more than just a pretend intelligence analyst, to be more precise she was a director of clandestine operations for the United States of America. Lynn was the Director of the Anti-Terror Operations Division of the Central Intelligence Agency.  It was a position she had now held for a little over three years.

 

Entering her third story condo the US secret agent CIA ringmaster turned on the foyer light, levered off her low heel, leather half boot shoes, and absently sorted through the few bills and mostly junk mail she retrieved from her slotted mailbox. She walked bare footed into the galley kitchen, dropped her keys onto the island granite counter top, and shrugged out of her fashionable ‘Jones of New York’ leather jacket. She hung it neatly over the back of one of the three bar stools facing the kitchen bar.

 

There was impersonality in the ambience of her residence, an almost deliberately planned sterility. It portrayed and accepted a resignation to loneliness, to incompleteness. The abode was an everything-in-its-place, no clutter home, void of a lived-in look -- a permanently temporary, transient place which lacked a discriminating, central character. The apartment was neat and orderly, neo-contemporary in design, comfortable and in fashion, but lacked a warmth or appeal of a place to relax or unwind. The rooms exhibited cool gray shades and earthen tones but lacked that splash of vivid color to give them life and focus. The furnishings were much like Lynn’s current life– unexciting, abstract and bland, lacking a spark, any flash of charisma. The few paintings which decorated the walls were contemporary abstracts -- interesting but muted. No family pictures or personal snapshots were displayed on walls, end tables or shelves. The refrigerator door held only a small magnetic tablet on which grocery requirements were listed.  There were no iconic Hallmark verses nor eye-catching adages, or sage wit humor visible in either the bathrooms, bedrooms or in the converted bedroom office. As Lynn herself, the rooms lacked a defining focus, an identification to the individual. They were bland, neutral. The atmosphere was an accurate reflection of Lynn’s current life and accurately reflected the artfully constructed facade of her person. Still they somehow managed to reflect a repressed ember of personality -- subliminal, unfocused, transcendent…perhaps even purposefully hidden from sight.

 

The Pennsylvanian native was an attractive woman.  Lynn typified a small town, down home, well scrubbed girl, fashionable but clearly not an iconic follower of haute chic fads. Neither was she, for that matter, an overly social person. Carolyn – or Lynn as she preferred -- wore only a touch of makeup to highlight her high, well boned cheeks.  She kept her auburn hair cut short in a more business-like fashion because it was easier to manage and it suited her practiced self image as a “neat and tidy” person. While eye-catching, she was not a particularly head turning beauty nor, for that matter, stunning in her figure.  Her weight, which, at times, she allowed to blossom to eight or ten pounds over the suggested norm, fit well on her five foot six inch height. She had no delusions and critically scored herself a solid seven, maybe a seven and a half or a squeaky eight and a quarter on a good day on the universal man scale of one to ten.

 

Still not too bad for an old broad, she would sometimes approvingly think.

 

Lynn had come to the CIA via the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency through the behind the scenes efforts on the then Director of the CIA, Rufus Brandt. In those days Brandt could exercise his ubiquitous if not clandestine influence by insuring a select few, which he personally chose, were given an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. The Director of the CIA, in earlier days, had a wider access to personnel within the nation’s intelligence community and indulged in a proclivity for mentoring rising talent. For the most part, Brandt’s selectees were bright newcomers. Collectively, they all fitted a unique mold -- principled zealots, as a group reflective of Brandt’s values and ways of doing business. Matt Gannon and TJ Jackson had once been charter members of the group. Each of them represented a dedication and loyalty to a set of values greater than any personal ambition. But that was then. Lynn was one of Brandt’s fair haired children” – and one whom he envisioned would be a part of future intelligence community leadership. On occasion he would exercise his position and influence to insure his agency “godchildren” were given an opportunity to further demonstrate their abilities. If his charges proved themselves, they were rewarded and challenged by positions of growing responsibility and authority within the intelligence community.

 

It was only much later, almost upon the occasion of Brandt’s forced retirement, Lynn Koons learned she had been personally picked by Rufus Brandt. As far as she had earlier known it was Ed Jouver, who had worked the bureaucratic federal personnel system to advance Lynn in the agency’s ranks and, in time, secure her promotion as one of his deputies.

 

Lynn’s subordinates and peers had burdened her with the nickname of “Lucy van Pelt.”–partly because of her strong personality, partly because she did not tolerate fools well, but mostly because she was seldom wrong. Adversaries and friends alike knew that “Lucy” side of her personality would tolerate no bull shit. She didn’t like “fluff” briefings by talking heads or superficial subject experts.  Routinely she did the homework and knew as much on any subject as did the briefer. At times and in frustration, her incisive and clipped comments were tactlessly focused and, in exacerbation, she was less than polite in dismissing not well thought out presentations, alternatives or opinions.

 

Now Lynn was one of the few remaining of the Director’s “god children.” Both Brandt and Jouver had been forced into a premature retirement.  Most, but not all, of the group who had stayed on after the changing of the guard shunted to dead end positions or removed via reduction in force initiatives. Lynn, however, had been an exception. The underlying premise of her good fortune, however, was that as a woman she could be more easily controlled. That presupposition proved to be a gross miscalculation.

 

The current and successor Director of the CIA, also known as the Director in Charge or DIC, was an intimate friend of the President and a bigot.  He was not of the professional intelligence community and was appointed to the position, as so very many appointees, as a political payback.  Martin Caspary viewed Lynn as a temporary but necessary evil. Lynn recognized that the new administration of the CIA viewed her as a risk, a slight one, but nonetheless a risk. She also knew that to retain her in the agency was a smart political move -- good political mileage for the administration.

 

The CIA and the White House tolerance of Carolyn Bertha Ann Koons did, however, have a limit. Since the advent of the new administration, some three and a half plus years now, Lynn had discretely and circumspectly made noise. Pakistan and Afghanistan fell within her realm of responsibility and a series of recurring crisis gave her ample opportunity to untie knotty problems. Smoothing the ruffled feathers of often cross purposed national interests and self aggrandizing often corrupt customers had challenged senior politically appointed CIA leadership and often resulted in hasty and conflicting directions was an almost daily distraction. Still, her political lapses were considered minor waves and, controlled, were benign. Indeed, they were often internally vetted and often spun into a CIA tactical political advantage to undercut criticism of the administration from the more radical feminists. Title notwithstanding, Lynn was denied serious decision making authority or clout which could seriously endanger the boat of political correctness. That being said, if an action or operation suddenly went south, Lynn knew she was flawlessly positioned to be the perfect scape goat.

 

The Pennsylvania farm girl knew that her rapid upward climb was at an end – well, at least in this administration –and reluctantly accepted her fate reasoning that better days would inevitably come. She knew the ax would fall. It was only a question of time.  What she did not realize, however, was how that small manila envelop would hasten that ax or how much her life was about to change.