CALLED TO DUTY 2 by Doug Murray

EXTRACT FOR
CALLED TO DUTY 2 
(Doug Murray)


A NOVEL BY DOUG MURRAY
AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING ‘SEAL TEAM SIX NO MORE’ SERIES



PROLOGUE

Mukalla, Yemen…

Jamil Khaldun shook with fear as three armed men led him away from his home. “What have I done?” He asked them, voice high and pleading. “I am a loyal Muslim!”
“You are a traitor to the faith.” The answer came from the third of the armed men—the one who was clearly their leader. “You have betrayed your people to the enemy—to the infidels of the great Satan.”
“You are wrong! I would never…” Jamil stopped as three more armed men appeared from another house, another prisoner in their midst.
They have Murad Hayyan! Jamil’s eyes widened as he saw his friend led down the street. They know! But How? We were promised that everything would be safe, secret…
“You understand now,” the leader nodded slowly as he watched Jamil’s face. “We have the truth of it. You and that one,” he indicated Murad. “Provided the information that led to the death of Nasir Wahishi.” His eyes bored into Jamil’s. “You are a spy for the forever damned CIA!”
“But…” Jamil sputtered, knowing in his heart of heart that he had been betrayed and would soon be.
“Bring them,” the leader ordered, turning away. “We will show them the wrath of Allah!”
A hard hand pushed Jamil forward and he stumbled along behind the leader, mind racing. But how can they know? How is it possible? Jamil shook his head sadly, realizing that he would never know the truth.
He began to pray--for his soul and the lives of his family.
“This will do,” the leader called out a few minutes later. “Have them kneel there,” he pointed toward the beach overlooking the Gulf of Aden. “We will let the sea drink their blood.”
“I am innocent!” Jamil cried out. “I have done nothing!”
“If that is true,” the leader sneered. “Then Allah will save you. However,” he looked up, searching the bright blue sky above. “I see no sign of that.” He brought his gaze down to Jamil. “Do you?”
“I tell you I am a true son of Allah!” The same merciless hand pressed Jamil’s shoulders downward, forcing his head lower until his face inches from the shifting waters.
“I am innocent!” Jamil cried, fighting against the pressure holding him down—but he had no chance. No chance at all.
“If we have wronged you,” the leader told him. “Then we will certainly apologize when we meet in Paradise, if not…” He shrugged.
Jamil tried to stand up, tried to get away the hand that held him helpless while Murad was forced to kneel at his side. He was still arguing with the leader when he felt a metallic object touch the back of the head.
“Allah help me!” He cried just before he heard a sound like thunder and felt a dull pain that pushed his head forward into eternal darkness.


CHAPTER ONE

“How’s it going, Sean?” Frank Farrell, just back from another in an endless series of meetings peered into his protégé’s office. “Did you finish that Math assignment?”
“Hours ago,” Sean Piper, having just turned nineteen years of age, was taking online courses through the University of Virginia. It was the only way his mother would allow him to work for Farrell in the older man’s very special organization that was an odd hybrid sibling of the CIA and Homeland Security.
“Did the History and English too.” He nodded toward his computer and changed the subject as he pulled up an image. “Did you see this?”
“I doubt it,” Farrell moved furthers into the room, walking around Sean’s desk so he could look at the indicated monitor. “I’ve been in budget meetings all morning.”
“Wire services picked this up an hour or two ago.” The youngster enlarged the image until it filled the monitor. “It was broadcast by Al Qaeda in Yemen. They’re saying that these two men were spies responsible for the death of Nasir Wahishi.” Sean glanced at his partner and boss. “Isn’t that the bigshot they hit with a drone strike? The one the President’s been patting himself on the back over?”
“Nasir Wahishi,” Farrell nodded. “Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader worldwide and head of the organization’s franchise in Yemen.” He leaned closer to the screen, a worried look crossing his face. “Can you give me a better look at their faces?”
“Maybe,” Sean tapped on his keyboard. “It’ll lose some clarity.”
“Do what you can.”
“Okay,” the youngster hit ‘enter’ and watched the image expand. “Good enough?”
“My God!” Farrell leaned closer. “It is!” He pointed to one of the men sprawled in the sand. “That’s Jamil Khaldun!” He shook his head. “I wonder…”
“Someone you knew?”
“Show me the other man,” Farrell ignored the question, biting on his lip as he studied the screen. “Please!”
Sean shifted the images, pushing the other kneeling man to the center of the screen.
“Murad Hayyan!” Farrell stared at the screen. “Both of them! But how could they know?” He looked toward Sean, eyes stricken. “How could they possibly know?”
“Know what?”
“Know that these two men,” Farrell nodded at the screen. “Were our best agents in Yemen.” He ran a hand across his eyes. “Their identities were supposed to be top secret!”
“Somebody must have talked.”
“Impossible.” Farrell shook his head. “No one in Yemen knew! The information was kept as need-to-know file at Langley. Unless the CIA’s been penetrated…”
“Maybe it has,” Sean interjected, returning his attention to the keyboard. “You know about the hack that got into the files of the Office of Personnel Management?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Farrell snorted. “That was just another Chinese cyber-attack, wasn’t it?”
“That’s what the Administration has been telling the media,” Sean pulled up a news stories about the hack. “They say that the hackers got full information packages on at least twenty million government employees,” he looked at his partner. “And I’m pretty sure the real number is a lot higher!”
“But the records of CIA personnel and those working for the agency in foreign countries aren’t kept with the OPM’s files.”
“Maybe not,” Sean scratched his chin, half-smiling as he felt the stubble now growing there (he had always been told he was ‘baby-faced’, now maybe he could get people to admit he was a man!). “But it might be possible to get from the OPM system into the DOD,” he looked at Farrell. “Or the CIA.”
“Find out.” Farrell came to a quick decision. “I’ll call Mary Max—we’re going to have to talk about this!” He shook his head. “Soon!”
***

NEW YORK CITY—THE CORNER OF FIFTH AVE AND EIGHTH STREET

Harold Carter—formerly Hamid Kalid—smiled as a new rider slipped into the back seat of his cab. He loved the city this time of year. The springtime air was just warm enough to allow him to keep his windows open but not yet so warm that he would be forced to turn on his air conditioner.
Harold knew all about heat, he’d grown up in Iraq where it was warm all year around (except for a week or so in January) and devices such as air conditioners were only for the rich and politically connected.
Harold had not been a member of that group. He’d been nothing more than one of millions of poor Sunni—and, like many of them, a common laborer.
When the Americans came, he had seen a chance to change his lot in life and had gone to work for them. He had been instrumental in helping them find the people and weapons they were seeking and made himself useful in other ways.
He became ‘important’.
So much so that when the Americans left Iraq, his ‘handler’ arranged for him to come with them and, with the help of his superiors in the CIA—gave Hamid a new identity—and a job!
True, it wasn’t an ‘important’ job. In fact, it was rather menial.
But Harold (he made sure to always think of himself as such) enjoyed driving a cab. It gave him a great deal of freedom and allowed him to see every corner of this great city.
Today he was working in and around Greenwich Village, a place where he always found interesting fares.
Like the one climbing aboard now.
“Welcome sir!” Harold’s English was quite good by this time. “Where do you want to go?”
“Downtown,” the man growled, not looking in Harold’s direction. “Pier 92.”
“Pier 92.” Harold nodded and started his meter, puzzled by the destination. The clubs there don’t open for hours, he knew. And there’s nothing else there. He glanced into the mirror. But the customer is always right, so, he shrugged. Off we go!
He put the cab into gear and pulled into traffic, cutting off another cab which honked in anger—which Harold, like any other New York driver, ignored.
Traffic was heavy and it took nearly thirty minutes to get all the way downtown but Harold finally pulled up at the Pier in question and flipped the flag down. “This is it, sir.” He looked at the meter. “That will be $51.”
“Good,” the man in the back of the cab opened the door and stepped out.
“Sir!” Harold rolled down the passenger-side window and leaned out. “The fare sir!”
The man smiled a hard smile and reached under his lightweight jacket, producing a large-caliber handgun. “It is you who will pay the fare, traitor!” He leaned forward, the muzzle of the weapon trained on Harold’s forehead. “Open the front door.”
Harold did as he was told and watched as the man re-entered the cab, sliding into the front seat where there was no pane of bullet-proof to protect Harold from the pistol that never wavered.
“Now,” the man smiled. “Let us drive a little way down the pier.”
Harold nodded, knowing what was to come—and seeing no way to avoid it.
He said a prayer and put the cab into gear, driving in the direction indicated.
***
“Did you see this?” Sean asked as Farrell entered the office the next morning. “Somebody got beheaded in New York!”
“Some Muslim thing?” The older man headed toward his own desk, pulling off his jacket as he went. “Maybe one of those ISIS wannabes we’ve been hearing about?”
“Maybe—the cops haven’t said anything left.”
“Who was killed?”
“A cabbie—name of Carter.”
Farrell froze in place, jacket still over one shoulder. “Not Harold Carter.”
“That’s right,” Sean nodded. “Harold Carter.” He looked at his partner. “Did you know him?”
“His real name was Hamid Kalid.” Farrell pulled his jacket back on. “And we’ve definitely got a problem.” He gestured to his partner. “Come one—we’ve got to see Mary Max right now!”
***
“You’re sure the murdered individuals were CIA assets?” Mary Max Holston had just started drinking her first cup of office coffee when Farrell came knocking on her door. “I mean, the Agency hasn’t raised any red flags that I know about.”
“They may not have noticed,” Farrell plopped into a seat across from his boss, waving Sean to another chair at his side. “I’m sure someone is taking a look at the killings in Yemen, but unless they know enough to check the confidential files, they’ll find nothing to be concerned about.”
“Check with them,” Mary Max nodded slowly. “And make a visit to the FBI cyber unit—see how sure they are that the Chinese hacked OPM.”
“OPM and CIA aren’t connected…”
“Then see if anyone else hit one of the government firewalls.” She looked into Farrell’s face. “Sean can check on that—it’s his specialty,” she glanced at the younger man. “It is, isn’t it?”
The youngster nodded. “I may be able to find some evidence of a break-in.” He shrugged. “I’m going to have to have access to the raw data to be sure.”
“The FBI guys will give it to you—if they give you a hard time, give me a call,” Mary Max smiled a dangerous smile. “I’ll take care of it.”
Sean nodded.
“Okay, both of you get on it.” Mary Max made a shooing motion with her hand. “Find out what’s really going on and see me later this afternoon.” She took a sip from her cup--and made a face. “And bring some decent coffee with you.”
“Yes Ma’am!” Farrell stood up and headed for the door, Sean just a step behind him.
***
“Aren’t you a little young to be an agent of…” James Tarver looked at the ID card presented to him. “Homeland Security?”
“Yes,” Sean answered. “Yes I am.” He smiled. “Is that going to be a problem?”
“I guess not,” Tarver handed the ID card back, eyes wary. “So Mr. Piper,” he frowned and held out a hand. “What do you want from us?”
“Your people discovered the hack into OPM, right?” Sean asked him.
“So?”
“I’d like to look at the raw data that allowed you to trace the hack to the Chinese.” He looked the FBI man in the eye. “We suspect that another hack was piggy-backed on the one you caught.”
“You’re saying we missed something?”
“I’m saying that it looks as if another agency was hacked at the same time.” He bit into his lower lip. “I think that’s too much of coincidence to be random—which tells me that the two acts are related.”
“Impossible.” Tarver shook his head. “My people would have detected a second entry.”
“Would they?” Sean leaned forward, eyes mild as he raised an eyebrow. “Or would they have stopped when they found the initial, large intrusion, assuming that it was the only one.”
“You don’t think too much of my people, do you?”
“I don’t know your people, sir.” Sean shook his head. “I do know that there was almost certainly a second hack—and I need to find where it came from.”
“No.” Tarver shook his head. “I don’t want you conducting that kind of investigation. My people would feel slighted, distrusted…”
“This is important! And I have no intention of slighting your people.”
“I said no.” Tarver glared at the younger man. “And that’s my final word.”
“All right,” Sean pulled out his cell phone. “I’ll have to report this to my boss. She said to call her if there was any sort of problem.”
Tarver frowned. “Your boss?”
“Ms. Holston.” Sean cradled the phone in his left hand and unlocked the keypad with his right.
“Mary Max Holston?”
“Yeah,” Sean looked at the other agent. “Why?”
“Don’t call her.” Tarver made a negating motion with his hand. “I really don’t want any trouble with Mary Max!”
“You know her?”
“Everyone in the intelligence community knows Mary Max Holston.” He looked at Sean. “Okay—come on in, I’ll give you access to the data you want.” He shook his head. “We’ll use my office. If I’m lucky, nobody will notice…”
So everyone knows Mary Max, Sean thought, putting his phone away. I’m going to have to get Frank to tell me just why that’s the case. He smiled. And if he won’t tell me, I might just have to hack into her file and find out for myself. He watched Agent Tarver punched a code into the keypad alongside the door.
1-2-3-4, Sean shook his head. And this guy is in charge of the FBI Cyber office! He followed Tarver through the door. No wonder the Chinese keep hacking into our government databases without any trouble!
Sean had watched a few episodes of CSI: CYBER, the television series that was supposed to be about the team of FBI agents in the room beyond the just unlocked-door. He’d thought it a bit farfetched but now, looking over the handful of men and women slouching in front of government-issue consoles, he realized that it was utter bullshit.
“This way,” Tarver motioned him to the far side of the room. “My office is over here.”
Sean followed the older man, taking in the ambience of the room around him. Unlike the TV show’s headquarters, this room had no large screens, no central ‘hub’. It was nothing more than a standard government office--eight desks in two rows that were lined up parallel to the outside wall. The windows were covered with black venetian blinds to make the screens easier to read—which left only desk lamps and a single, rather dim, overhead fluorescent as the only illumination in the room.
The desks were olive-drab metallic hulks—Government Issue taken from one of the warehouse scattered around the District. Each desk had a blotter (green, of course) and a desktop computer built to government specifications—which meant it was bigger, heavier, and less powerful than the average civilian tablet.
“What kind of internet connection do you have?” Sean asked as he stepped into Tarver’s office.
“Standard set-up,” Tarver gestured the youngster to his desk. “The whole building is wired for Wi-Fi. We just log on.”
“How fast?”
“I don’t know,” Tarver shrugged. “Maybe 250 or 300 mbps on average.”
Sean tried to keep his disbelief from showing. His own office computer was plugged into a T-1 line and got more than 5 million mbps.
I guess Mary Max really did right by me, he told himself, sitting in Tarver’s seat. Way better than their boss did for these guys!
He woke the desktop up.
“You want to put in the password,” he asked Tarver.
“Go right ahead and do it for me,” Tarver settled into a chair in the corner of the room. “ID is JIMBOT and the password is 11-12-75.”
“Your birthday?”
Tarver shrugged.
“Okay,” Sean entered the ID and password, nodding as the computer came to life.
“File marked OPM has all the date on the hack—help yourself.”
“Thanks,” Sean opened the file in question and began going through the information, searching for the incursion in question.
It didn’t take long to find it.
“I see that they got in through a desktop in the accounting office,” Sean began searching for the computer that had perpetrated the attack. “This got bounced around a little…” He followed the IP address from country to country, following it back to its point of origin. “They weren’t too serious about this—guess they figured they’d be safe enough since they were doing the hack on orders.”
“That’s what we figured.”
“There’s a branch point here,” Sean froze the data. “Another NIC address appears for a moment.”
“We assumed that was just an artefact—a network error.”
“Maybe,” Sean looked at the NIC address, tracked it back to its IP. “Hong Kong.” He muttered, looking at the information in front of him. “That’s interesting.” He packaged that segment of data and e-mailed it to his office computer, securing it with a password and cipher.
“Find what you wanted?”
“Maybe.” Sean stood up. “I’ll have to go into this a little deeper, but I can do that from my own office.” He put out his hand. “Thanks for the co-operation.”
“No sweat,” Tarver grinned, showing a mouthful of bright white teeth arrayed around a single gold one. “Give Mary Max my best.”
“Will do.” Sean nodded. “And if there’s ever anything I can do for you…”
“I’ll give a call.” Tarver held the door open, hurrying the young agent out of his office. “You have my word on that.”
Sean nodded and scanned the drab ‘government Issue’ office spread out around him. I could help them with a lot of things, he thought making his way toward the outer door. But they wouldn’t thank me for it.
A moment later he was in the hall and heading for his own office in the taller half of the J. Edgar Hoover building.

CALLED TO DUTY 2 by Doug Murray

EXTRACT FOR
CALLED TO DUTY 2 
(Doug Murray)


A NOVEL BY DOUG MURRAY
AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING ‘SEAL TEAM SIX NO MORE’ SERIES



PROLOGUE

Mukalla, Yemen…

Jamil Khaldun shook with fear as three armed men led him away from his home. “What have I done?” He asked them, voice high and pleading. “I am a loyal Muslim!”
“You are a traitor to the faith.” The answer came from the third of the armed men—the one who was clearly their leader. “You have betrayed your people to the enemy—to the infidels of the great Satan.”
“You are wrong! I would never…” Jamil stopped as three more armed men appeared from another house, another prisoner in their midst.
They have Murad Hayyan! Jamil’s eyes widened as he saw his friend led down the street. They know! But How? We were promised that everything would be safe, secret…
“You understand now,” the leader nodded slowly as he watched Jamil’s face. “We have the truth of it. You and that one,” he indicated Murad. “Provided the information that led to the death of Nasir Wahishi.” His eyes bored into Jamil’s. “You are a spy for the forever damned CIA!”
“But…” Jamil sputtered, knowing in his heart of heart that he had been betrayed and would soon be.
“Bring them,” the leader ordered, turning away. “We will show them the wrath of Allah!”
A hard hand pushed Jamil forward and he stumbled along behind the leader, mind racing. But how can they know? How is it possible? Jamil shook his head sadly, realizing that he would never know the truth.
He began to pray--for his soul and the lives of his family.
“This will do,” the leader called out a few minutes later. “Have them kneel there,” he pointed toward the beach overlooking the Gulf of Aden. “We will let the sea drink their blood.”
“I am innocent!” Jamil cried out. “I have done nothing!”
“If that is true,” the leader sneered. “Then Allah will save you. However,” he looked up, searching the bright blue sky above. “I see no sign of that.” He brought his gaze down to Jamil. “Do you?”
“I tell you I am a true son of Allah!” The same merciless hand pressed Jamil’s shoulders downward, forcing his head lower until his face inches from the shifting waters.
“I am innocent!” Jamil cried, fighting against the pressure holding him down—but he had no chance. No chance at all.
“If we have wronged you,” the leader told him. “Then we will certainly apologize when we meet in Paradise, if not…” He shrugged.
Jamil tried to stand up, tried to get away the hand that held him helpless while Murad was forced to kneel at his side. He was still arguing with the leader when he felt a metallic object touch the back of the head.
“Allah help me!” He cried just before he heard a sound like thunder and felt a dull pain that pushed his head forward into eternal darkness.


CHAPTER ONE

“How’s it going, Sean?” Frank Farrell, just back from another in an endless series of meetings peered into his protégé’s office. “Did you finish that Math assignment?”
“Hours ago,” Sean Piper, having just turned nineteen years of age, was taking online courses through the University of Virginia. It was the only way his mother would allow him to work for Farrell in the older man’s very special organization that was an odd hybrid sibling of the CIA and Homeland Security.
“Did the History and English too.” He nodded toward his computer and changed the subject as he pulled up an image. “Did you see this?”
“I doubt it,” Farrell moved furthers into the room, walking around Sean’s desk so he could look at the indicated monitor. “I’ve been in budget meetings all morning.”
“Wire services picked this up an hour or two ago.” The youngster enlarged the image until it filled the monitor. “It was broadcast by Al Qaeda in Yemen. They’re saying that these two men were spies responsible for the death of Nasir Wahishi.” Sean glanced at his partner and boss. “Isn’t that the bigshot they hit with a drone strike? The one the President’s been patting himself on the back over?”
“Nasir Wahishi,” Farrell nodded. “Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader worldwide and head of the organization’s franchise in Yemen.” He leaned closer to the screen, a worried look crossing his face. “Can you give me a better look at their faces?”
“Maybe,” Sean tapped on his keyboard. “It’ll lose some clarity.”
“Do what you can.”
“Okay,” the youngster hit ‘enter’ and watched the image expand. “Good enough?”
“My God!” Farrell leaned closer. “It is!” He pointed to one of the men sprawled in the sand. “That’s Jamil Khaldun!” He shook his head. “I wonder…”
“Someone you knew?”
“Show me the other man,” Farrell ignored the question, biting on his lip as he studied the screen. “Please!”
Sean shifted the images, pushing the other kneeling man to the center of the screen.
“Murad Hayyan!” Farrell stared at the screen. “Both of them! But how could they know?” He looked toward Sean, eyes stricken. “How could they possibly know?”
“Know what?”
“Know that these two men,” Farrell nodded at the screen. “Were our best agents in Yemen.” He ran a hand across his eyes. “Their identities were supposed to be top secret!”
“Somebody must have talked.”
“Impossible.” Farrell shook his head. “No one in Yemen knew! The information was kept as need-to-know file at Langley. Unless the CIA’s been penetrated…”
“Maybe it has,” Sean interjected, returning his attention to the keyboard. “You know about the hack that got into the files of the Office of Personnel Management?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Farrell snorted. “That was just another Chinese cyber-attack, wasn’t it?”
“That’s what the Administration has been telling the media,” Sean pulled up a news stories about the hack. “They say that the hackers got full information packages on at least twenty million government employees,” he looked at his partner. “And I’m pretty sure the real number is a lot higher!”
“But the records of CIA personnel and those working for the agency in foreign countries aren’t kept with the OPM’s files.”
“Maybe not,” Sean scratched his chin, half-smiling as he felt the stubble now growing there (he had always been told he was ‘baby-faced’, now maybe he could get people to admit he was a man!). “But it might be possible to get from the OPM system into the DOD,” he looked at Farrell. “Or the CIA.”
“Find out.” Farrell came to a quick decision. “I’ll call Mary Max—we’re going to have to talk about this!” He shook his head. “Soon!”
***

NEW YORK CITY—THE CORNER OF FIFTH AVE AND EIGHTH STREET

Harold Carter—formerly Hamid Kalid—smiled as a new rider slipped into the back seat of his cab. He loved the city this time of year. The springtime air was just warm enough to allow him to keep his windows open but not yet so warm that he would be forced to turn on his air conditioner.
Harold knew all about heat, he’d grown up in Iraq where it was warm all year around (except for a week or so in January) and devices such as air conditioners were only for the rich and politically connected.
Harold had not been a member of that group. He’d been nothing more than one of millions of poor Sunni—and, like many of them, a common laborer.
When the Americans came, he had seen a chance to change his lot in life and had gone to work for them. He had been instrumental in helping them find the people and weapons they were seeking and made himself useful in other ways.
He became ‘important’.
So much so that when the Americans left Iraq, his ‘handler’ arranged for him to come with them and, with the help of his superiors in the CIA—gave Hamid a new identity—and a job!
True, it wasn’t an ‘important’ job. In fact, it was rather menial.
But Harold (he made sure to always think of himself as such) enjoyed driving a cab. It gave him a great deal of freedom and allowed him to see every corner of this great city.
Today he was working in and around Greenwich Village, a place where he always found interesting fares.
Like the one climbing aboard now.
“Welcome sir!” Harold’s English was quite good by this time. “Where do you want to go?”
“Downtown,” the man growled, not looking in Harold’s direction. “Pier 92.”
“Pier 92.” Harold nodded and started his meter, puzzled by the destination. The clubs there don’t open for hours, he knew. And there’s nothing else there. He glanced into the mirror. But the customer is always right, so, he shrugged. Off we go!
He put the cab into gear and pulled into traffic, cutting off another cab which honked in anger—which Harold, like any other New York driver, ignored.
Traffic was heavy and it took nearly thirty minutes to get all the way downtown but Harold finally pulled up at the Pier in question and flipped the flag down. “This is it, sir.” He looked at the meter. “That will be $51.”
“Good,” the man in the back of the cab opened the door and stepped out.
“Sir!” Harold rolled down the passenger-side window and leaned out. “The fare sir!”
The man smiled a hard smile and reached under his lightweight jacket, producing a large-caliber handgun. “It is you who will pay the fare, traitor!” He leaned forward, the muzzle of the weapon trained on Harold’s forehead. “Open the front door.”
Harold did as he was told and watched as the man re-entered the cab, sliding into the front seat where there was no pane of bullet-proof to protect Harold from the pistol that never wavered.
“Now,” the man smiled. “Let us drive a little way down the pier.”
Harold nodded, knowing what was to come—and seeing no way to avoid it.
He said a prayer and put the cab into gear, driving in the direction indicated.
***
“Did you see this?” Sean asked as Farrell entered the office the next morning. “Somebody got beheaded in New York!”
“Some Muslim thing?” The older man headed toward his own desk, pulling off his jacket as he went. “Maybe one of those ISIS wannabes we’ve been hearing about?”
“Maybe—the cops haven’t said anything left.”
“Who was killed?”
“A cabbie—name of Carter.”
Farrell froze in place, jacket still over one shoulder. “Not Harold Carter.”
“That’s right,” Sean nodded. “Harold Carter.” He looked at his partner. “Did you know him?”
“His real name was Hamid Kalid.” Farrell pulled his jacket back on. “And we’ve definitely got a problem.” He gestured to his partner. “Come one—we’ve got to see Mary Max right now!”
***
“You’re sure the murdered individuals were CIA assets?” Mary Max Holston had just started drinking her first cup of office coffee when Farrell came knocking on her door. “I mean, the Agency hasn’t raised any red flags that I know about.”
“They may not have noticed,” Farrell plopped into a seat across from his boss, waving Sean to another chair at his side. “I’m sure someone is taking a look at the killings in Yemen, but unless they know enough to check the confidential files, they’ll find nothing to be concerned about.”
“Check with them,” Mary Max nodded slowly. “And make a visit to the FBI cyber unit—see how sure they are that the Chinese hacked OPM.”
“OPM and CIA aren’t connected…”
“Then see if anyone else hit one of the government firewalls.” She looked into Farrell’s face. “Sean can check on that—it’s his specialty,” she glanced at the younger man. “It is, isn’t it?”
The youngster nodded. “I may be able to find some evidence of a break-in.” He shrugged. “I’m going to have to have access to the raw data to be sure.”
“The FBI guys will give it to you—if they give you a hard time, give me a call,” Mary Max smiled a dangerous smile. “I’ll take care of it.”
Sean nodded.
“Okay, both of you get on it.” Mary Max made a shooing motion with her hand. “Find out what’s really going on and see me later this afternoon.” She took a sip from her cup--and made a face. “And bring some decent coffee with you.”
“Yes Ma’am!” Farrell stood up and headed for the door, Sean just a step behind him.
***
“Aren’t you a little young to be an agent of…” James Tarver looked at the ID card presented to him. “Homeland Security?”
“Yes,” Sean answered. “Yes I am.” He smiled. “Is that going to be a problem?”
“I guess not,” Tarver handed the ID card back, eyes wary. “So Mr. Piper,” he frowned and held out a hand. “What do you want from us?”
“Your people discovered the hack into OPM, right?” Sean asked him.
“So?”
“I’d like to look at the raw data that allowed you to trace the hack to the Chinese.” He looked the FBI man in the eye. “We suspect that another hack was piggy-backed on the one you caught.”
“You’re saying we missed something?”
“I’m saying that it looks as if another agency was hacked at the same time.” He bit into his lower lip. “I think that’s too much of coincidence to be random—which tells me that the two acts are related.”
“Impossible.” Tarver shook his head. “My people would have detected a second entry.”
“Would they?” Sean leaned forward, eyes mild as he raised an eyebrow. “Or would they have stopped when they found the initial, large intrusion, assuming that it was the only one.”
“You don’t think too much of my people, do you?”
“I don’t know your people, sir.” Sean shook his head. “I do know that there was almost certainly a second hack—and I need to find where it came from.”
“No.” Tarver shook his head. “I don’t want you conducting that kind of investigation. My people would feel slighted, distrusted…”
“This is important! And I have no intention of slighting your people.”
“I said no.” Tarver glared at the younger man. “And that’s my final word.”
“All right,” Sean pulled out his cell phone. “I’ll have to report this to my boss. She said to call her if there was any sort of problem.”
Tarver frowned. “Your boss?”
“Ms. Holston.” Sean cradled the phone in his left hand and unlocked the keypad with his right.
“Mary Max Holston?”
“Yeah,” Sean looked at the other agent. “Why?”
“Don’t call her.” Tarver made a negating motion with his hand. “I really don’t want any trouble with Mary Max!”
“You know her?”
“Everyone in the intelligence community knows Mary Max Holston.” He looked at Sean. “Okay—come on in, I’ll give you access to the data you want.” He shook his head. “We’ll use my office. If I’m lucky, nobody will notice…”
So everyone knows Mary Max, Sean thought, putting his phone away. I’m going to have to get Frank to tell me just why that’s the case. He smiled. And if he won’t tell me, I might just have to hack into her file and find out for myself. He watched Agent Tarver punched a code into the keypad alongside the door.
1-2-3-4, Sean shook his head. And this guy is in charge of the FBI Cyber office! He followed Tarver through the door. No wonder the Chinese keep hacking into our government databases without any trouble!
Sean had watched a few episodes of CSI: CYBER, the television series that was supposed to be about the team of FBI agents in the room beyond the just unlocked-door. He’d thought it a bit farfetched but now, looking over the handful of men and women slouching in front of government-issue consoles, he realized that it was utter bullshit.
“This way,” Tarver motioned him to the far side of the room. “My office is over here.”
Sean followed the older man, taking in the ambience of the room around him. Unlike the TV show’s headquarters, this room had no large screens, no central ‘hub’. It was nothing more than a standard government office--eight desks in two rows that were lined up parallel to the outside wall. The windows were covered with black venetian blinds to make the screens easier to read—which left only desk lamps and a single, rather dim, overhead fluorescent as the only illumination in the room.
The desks were olive-drab metallic hulks—Government Issue taken from one of the warehouse scattered around the District. Each desk had a blotter (green, of course) and a desktop computer built to government specifications—which meant it was bigger, heavier, and less powerful than the average civilian tablet.
“What kind of internet connection do you have?” Sean asked as he stepped into Tarver’s office.
“Standard set-up,” Tarver gestured the youngster to his desk. “The whole building is wired for Wi-Fi. We just log on.”
“How fast?”
“I don’t know,” Tarver shrugged. “Maybe 250 or 300 mbps on average.”
Sean tried to keep his disbelief from showing. His own office computer was plugged into a T-1 line and got more than 5 million mbps.
I guess Mary Max really did right by me, he told himself, sitting in Tarver’s seat. Way better than their boss did for these guys!
He woke the desktop up.
“You want to put in the password,” he asked Tarver.
“Go right ahead and do it for me,” Tarver settled into a chair in the corner of the room. “ID is JIMBOT and the password is 11-12-75.”
“Your birthday?”
Tarver shrugged.
“Okay,” Sean entered the ID and password, nodding as the computer came to life.
“File marked OPM has all the date on the hack—help yourself.”
“Thanks,” Sean opened the file in question and began going through the information, searching for the incursion in question.
It didn’t take long to find it.
“I see that they got in through a desktop in the accounting office,” Sean began searching for the computer that had perpetrated the attack. “This got bounced around a little…” He followed the IP address from country to country, following it back to its point of origin. “They weren’t too serious about this—guess they figured they’d be safe enough since they were doing the hack on orders.”
“That’s what we figured.”
“There’s a branch point here,” Sean froze the data. “Another NIC address appears for a moment.”
“We assumed that was just an artefact—a network error.”
“Maybe,” Sean looked at the NIC address, tracked it back to its IP. “Hong Kong.” He muttered, looking at the information in front of him. “That’s interesting.” He packaged that segment of data and e-mailed it to his office computer, securing it with a password and cipher.
“Find what you wanted?”
“Maybe.” Sean stood up. “I’ll have to go into this a little deeper, but I can do that from my own office.” He put out his hand. “Thanks for the co-operation.”
“No sweat,” Tarver grinned, showing a mouthful of bright white teeth arrayed around a single gold one. “Give Mary Max my best.”
“Will do.” Sean nodded. “And if there’s ever anything I can do for you…”
“I’ll give a call.” Tarver held the door open, hurrying the young agent out of his office. “You have my word on that.”
Sean nodded and scanned the drab ‘government Issue’ office spread out around him. I could help them with a lot of things, he thought making his way toward the outer door. But they wouldn’t thank me for it.
A moment later he was in the hall and heading for his own office in the taller half of the J. Edgar Hoover building.

EXTRACT FOR
CALLED TO DUTY 2 
(Doug Murray)


A NOVEL BY DOUG MURRAY
AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING ‘SEAL TEAM SIX NO MORE’ SERIES



PROLOGUE

Mukalla, Yemen…

Jamil Khaldun shook with fear as three armed men led him away from his home. “What have I done?” He asked them, voice high and pleading. “I am a loyal Muslim!”
“You are a traitor to the faith.” The answer came from the third of the armed men—the one who was clearly their leader. “You have betrayed your people to the enemy—to the infidels of the great Satan.”
“You are wrong! I would never…” Jamil stopped as three more armed men appeared from another house, another prisoner in their midst.
They have Murad Hayyan! Jamil’s eyes widened as he saw his friend led down the street. They know! But How? We were promised that everything would be safe, secret…
“You understand now,” the leader nodded slowly as he watched Jamil’s face. “We have the truth of it. You and that one,” he indicated Murad. “Provided the information that led to the death of Nasir Wahishi.” His eyes bored into Jamil’s. “You are a spy for the forever damned CIA!”
“But…” Jamil sputtered, knowing in his heart of heart that he had been betrayed and would soon be.
“Bring them,” the leader ordered, turning away. “We will show them the wrath of Allah!”
A hard hand pushed Jamil forward and he stumbled along behind the leader, mind racing. But how can they know? How is it possible? Jamil shook his head sadly, realizing that he would never know the truth.
He began to pray--for his soul and the lives of his family.
“This will do,” the leader called out a few minutes later. “Have them kneel there,” he pointed toward the beach overlooking the Gulf of Aden. “We will let the sea drink their blood.”
“I am innocent!” Jamil cried out. “I have done nothing!”
“If that is true,” the leader sneered. “Then Allah will save you. However,” he looked up, searching the bright blue sky above. “I see no sign of that.” He brought his gaze down to Jamil. “Do you?”
“I tell you I am a true son of Allah!” The same merciless hand pressed Jamil’s shoulders downward, forcing his head lower until his face inches from the shifting waters.
“I am innocent!” Jamil cried, fighting against the pressure holding him down—but he had no chance. No chance at all.
“If we have wronged you,” the leader told him. “Then we will certainly apologize when we meet in Paradise, if not…” He shrugged.
Jamil tried to stand up, tried to get away the hand that held him helpless while Murad was forced to kneel at his side. He was still arguing with the leader when he felt a metallic object touch the back of the head.
“Allah help me!” He cried just before he heard a sound like thunder and felt a dull pain that pushed his head forward into eternal darkness.


CHAPTER ONE

“How’s it going, Sean?” Frank Farrell, just back from another in an endless series of meetings peered into his protégé’s office. “Did you finish that Math assignment?”
“Hours ago,” Sean Piper, having just turned nineteen years of age, was taking online courses through the University of Virginia. It was the only way his mother would allow him to work for Farrell in the older man’s very special organization that was an odd hybrid sibling of the CIA and Homeland Security.
“Did the History and English too.” He nodded toward his computer and changed the subject as he pulled up an image. “Did you see this?”
“I doubt it,” Farrell moved furthers into the room, walking around Sean’s desk so he could look at the indicated monitor. “I’ve been in budget meetings all morning.”
“Wire services picked this up an hour or two ago.” The youngster enlarged the image until it filled the monitor. “It was broadcast by Al Qaeda in Yemen. They’re saying that these two men were spies responsible for the death of Nasir Wahishi.” Sean glanced at his partner and boss. “Isn’t that the bigshot they hit with a drone strike? The one the President’s been patting himself on the back over?”
“Nasir Wahishi,” Farrell nodded. “Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader worldwide and head of the organization’s franchise in Yemen.” He leaned closer to the screen, a worried look crossing his face. “Can you give me a better look at their faces?”
“Maybe,” Sean tapped on his keyboard. “It’ll lose some clarity.”
“Do what you can.”
“Okay,” the youngster hit ‘enter’ and watched the image expand. “Good enough?”
“My God!” Farrell leaned closer. “It is!” He pointed to one of the men sprawled in the sand. “That’s Jamil Khaldun!” He shook his head. “I wonder…”
“Someone you knew?”
“Show me the other man,” Farrell ignored the question, biting on his lip as he studied the screen. “Please!”
Sean shifted the images, pushing the other kneeling man to the center of the screen.
“Murad Hayyan!” Farrell stared at the screen. “Both of them! But how could they know?” He looked toward Sean, eyes stricken. “How could they possibly know?”
“Know what?”
“Know that these two men,” Farrell nodded at the screen. “Were our best agents in Yemen.” He ran a hand across his eyes. “Their identities were supposed to be top secret!”
“Somebody must have talked.”
“Impossible.” Farrell shook his head. “No one in Yemen knew! The information was kept as need-to-know file at Langley. Unless the CIA’s been penetrated…”
“Maybe it has,” Sean interjected, returning his attention to the keyboard. “You know about the hack that got into the files of the Office of Personnel Management?”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Farrell snorted. “That was just another Chinese cyber-attack, wasn’t it?”
“That’s what the Administration has been telling the media,” Sean pulled up a news stories about the hack. “They say that the hackers got full information packages on at least twenty million government employees,” he looked at his partner. “And I’m pretty sure the real number is a lot higher!”
“But the records of CIA personnel and those working for the agency in foreign countries aren’t kept with the OPM’s files.”
“Maybe not,” Sean scratched his chin, half-smiling as he felt the stubble now growing there (he had always been told he was ‘baby-faced’, now maybe he could get people to admit he was a man!). “But it might be possible to get from the OPM system into the DOD,” he looked at Farrell. “Or the CIA.”
“Find out.” Farrell came to a quick decision. “I’ll call Mary Max—we’re going to have to talk about this!” He shook his head. “Soon!”
***

NEW YORK CITY—THE CORNER OF FIFTH AVE AND EIGHTH STREET

Harold Carter—formerly Hamid Kalid—smiled as a new rider slipped into the back seat of his cab. He loved the city this time of year. The springtime air was just warm enough to allow him to keep his windows open but not yet so warm that he would be forced to turn on his air conditioner.
Harold knew all about heat, he’d grown up in Iraq where it was warm all year around (except for a week or so in January) and devices such as air conditioners were only for the rich and politically connected.
Harold had not been a member of that group. He’d been nothing more than one of millions of poor Sunni—and, like many of them, a common laborer.
When the Americans came, he had seen a chance to change his lot in life and had gone to work for them. He had been instrumental in helping them find the people and weapons they were seeking and made himself useful in other ways.
He became ‘important’.
So much so that when the Americans left Iraq, his ‘handler’ arranged for him to come with them and, with the help of his superiors in the CIA—gave Hamid a new identity—and a job!
True, it wasn’t an ‘important’ job. In fact, it was rather menial.
But Harold (he made sure to always think of himself as such) enjoyed driving a cab. It gave him a great deal of freedom and allowed him to see every corner of this great city.
Today he was working in and around Greenwich Village, a place where he always found interesting fares.
Like the one climbing aboard now.
“Welcome sir!” Harold’s English was quite good by this time. “Where do you want to go?”
“Downtown,” the man growled, not looking in Harold’s direction. “Pier 92.”
“Pier 92.” Harold nodded and started his meter, puzzled by the destination. The clubs there don’t open for hours, he knew. And there’s nothing else there. He glanced into the mirror. But the customer is always right, so, he shrugged. Off we go!
He put the cab into gear and pulled into traffic, cutting off another cab which honked in anger—which Harold, like any other New York driver, ignored.
Traffic was heavy and it took nearly thirty minutes to get all the way downtown but Harold finally pulled up at the Pier in question and flipped the flag down. “This is it, sir.” He looked at the meter. “That will be $51.”
“Good,” the man in the back of the cab opened the door and stepped out.
“Sir!” Harold rolled down the passenger-side window and leaned out. “The fare sir!”
The man smiled a hard smile and reached under his lightweight jacket, producing a large-caliber handgun. “It is you who will pay the fare, traitor!” He leaned forward, the muzzle of the weapon trained on Harold’s forehead. “Open the front door.”
Harold did as he was told and watched as the man re-entered the cab, sliding into the front seat where there was no pane of bullet-proof to protect Harold from the pistol that never wavered.
“Now,” the man smiled. “Let us drive a little way down the pier.”
Harold nodded, knowing what was to come—and seeing no way to avoid it.
He said a prayer and put the cab into gear, driving in the direction indicated.
***
“Did you see this?” Sean asked as Farrell entered the office the next morning. “Somebody got beheaded in New York!”
“Some Muslim thing?” The older man headed toward his own desk, pulling off his jacket as he went. “Maybe one of those ISIS wannabes we’ve been hearing about?”
“Maybe—the cops haven’t said anything left.”
“Who was killed?”
“A cabbie—name of Carter.”
Farrell froze in place, jacket still over one shoulder. “Not Harold Carter.”
“That’s right,” Sean nodded. “Harold Carter.” He looked at his partner. “Did you know him?”
“His real name was Hamid Kalid.” Farrell pulled his jacket back on. “And we’ve definitely got a problem.” He gestured to his partner. “Come one—we’ve got to see Mary Max right now!”
***
“You’re sure the murdered individuals were CIA assets?” Mary Max Holston had just started drinking her first cup of office coffee when Farrell came knocking on her door. “I mean, the Agency hasn’t raised any red flags that I know about.”
“They may not have noticed,” Farrell plopped into a seat across from his boss, waving Sean to another chair at his side. “I’m sure someone is taking a look at the killings in Yemen, but unless they know enough to check the confidential files, they’ll find nothing to be concerned about.”
“Check with them,” Mary Max nodded slowly. “And make a visit to the FBI cyber unit—see how sure they are that the Chinese hacked OPM.”
“OPM and CIA aren’t connected…”
“Then see if anyone else hit one of the government firewalls.” She looked into Farrell’s face. “Sean can check on that—it’s his specialty,” she glanced at the younger man. “It is, isn’t it?”
The youngster nodded. “I may be able to find some evidence of a break-in.” He shrugged. “I’m going to have to have access to the raw data to be sure.”
“The FBI guys will give it to you—if they give you a hard time, give me a call,” Mary Max smiled a dangerous smile. “I’ll take care of it.”
Sean nodded.
“Okay, both of you get on it.” Mary Max made a shooing motion with her hand. “Find out what’s really going on and see me later this afternoon.” She took a sip from her cup--and made a face. “And bring some decent coffee with you.”
“Yes Ma’am!” Farrell stood up and headed for the door, Sean just a step behind him.
***
“Aren’t you a little young to be an agent of…” James Tarver looked at the ID card presented to him. “Homeland Security?”
“Yes,” Sean answered. “Yes I am.” He smiled. “Is that going to be a problem?”
“I guess not,” Tarver handed the ID card back, eyes wary. “So Mr. Piper,” he frowned and held out a hand. “What do you want from us?”
“Your people discovered the hack into OPM, right?” Sean asked him.
“So?”
“I’d like to look at the raw data that allowed you to trace the hack to the Chinese.” He looked the FBI man in the eye. “We suspect that another hack was piggy-backed on the one you caught.”
“You’re saying we missed something?”
“I’m saying that it looks as if another agency was hacked at the same time.” He bit into his lower lip. “I think that’s too much of coincidence to be random—which tells me that the two acts are related.”
“Impossible.” Tarver shook his head. “My people would have detected a second entry.”
“Would they?” Sean leaned forward, eyes mild as he raised an eyebrow. “Or would they have stopped when they found the initial, large intrusion, assuming that it was the only one.”
“You don’t think too much of my people, do you?”
“I don’t know your people, sir.” Sean shook his head. “I do know that there was almost certainly a second hack—and I need to find where it came from.”
“No.” Tarver shook his head. “I don’t want you conducting that kind of investigation. My people would feel slighted, distrusted…”
“This is important! And I have no intention of slighting your people.”
“I said no.” Tarver glared at the younger man. “And that’s my final word.”
“All right,” Sean pulled out his cell phone. “I’ll have to report this to my boss. She said to call her if there was any sort of problem.”
Tarver frowned. “Your boss?”
“Ms. Holston.” Sean cradled the phone in his left hand and unlocked the keypad with his right.
“Mary Max Holston?”
“Yeah,” Sean looked at the other agent. “Why?”
“Don’t call her.” Tarver made a negating motion with his hand. “I really don’t want any trouble with Mary Max!”
“You know her?”
“Everyone in the intelligence community knows Mary Max Holston.” He looked at Sean. “Okay—come on in, I’ll give you access to the data you want.” He shook his head. “We’ll use my office. If I’m lucky, nobody will notice…”
So everyone knows Mary Max, Sean thought, putting his phone away. I’m going to have to get Frank to tell me just why that’s the case. He smiled. And if he won’t tell me, I might just have to hack into her file and find out for myself. He watched Agent Tarver punched a code into the keypad alongside the door.
1-2-3-4, Sean shook his head. And this guy is in charge of the FBI Cyber office! He followed Tarver through the door. No wonder the Chinese keep hacking into our government databases without any trouble!
Sean had watched a few episodes of CSI: CYBER, the television series that was supposed to be about the team of FBI agents in the room beyond the just unlocked-door. He’d thought it a bit farfetched but now, looking over the handful of men and women slouching in front of government-issue consoles, he realized that it was utter bullshit.
“This way,” Tarver motioned him to the far side of the room. “My office is over here.”
Sean followed the older man, taking in the ambience of the room around him. Unlike the TV show’s headquarters, this room had no large screens, no central ‘hub’. It was nothing more than a standard government office--eight desks in two rows that were lined up parallel to the outside wall. The windows were covered with black venetian blinds to make the screens easier to read—which left only desk lamps and a single, rather dim, overhead fluorescent as the only illumination in the room.
The desks were olive-drab metallic hulks—Government Issue taken from one of the warehouse scattered around the District. Each desk had a blotter (green, of course) and a desktop computer built to government specifications—which meant it was bigger, heavier, and less powerful than the average civilian tablet.
“What kind of internet connection do you have?” Sean asked as he stepped into Tarver’s office.
“Standard set-up,” Tarver gestured the youngster to his desk. “The whole building is wired for Wi-Fi. We just log on.”
“How fast?”
“I don’t know,” Tarver shrugged. “Maybe 250 or 300 mbps on average.”
Sean tried to keep his disbelief from showing. His own office computer was plugged into a T-1 line and got more than 5 million mbps.
I guess Mary Max really did right by me, he told himself, sitting in Tarver’s seat. Way better than their boss did for these guys!
He woke the desktop up.
“You want to put in the password,” he asked Tarver.
“Go right ahead and do it for me,” Tarver settled into a chair in the corner of the room. “ID is JIMBOT and the password is 11-12-75.”
“Your birthday?”
Tarver shrugged.
“Okay,” Sean entered the ID and password, nodding as the computer came to life.
“File marked OPM has all the date on the hack—help yourself.”
“Thanks,” Sean opened the file in question and began going through the information, searching for the incursion in question.
It didn’t take long to find it.
“I see that they got in through a desktop in the accounting office,” Sean began searching for the computer that had perpetrated the attack. “This got bounced around a little…” He followed the IP address from country to country, following it back to its point of origin. “They weren’t too serious about this—guess they figured they’d be safe enough since they were doing the hack on orders.”
“That’s what we figured.”
“There’s a branch point here,” Sean froze the data. “Another NIC address appears for a moment.”
“We assumed that was just an artefact—a network error.”
“Maybe,” Sean looked at the NIC address, tracked it back to its IP. “Hong Kong.” He muttered, looking at the information in front of him. “That’s interesting.” He packaged that segment of data and e-mailed it to his office computer, securing it with a password and cipher.
“Find what you wanted?”
“Maybe.” Sean stood up. “I’ll have to go into this a little deeper, but I can do that from my own office.” He put out his hand. “Thanks for the co-operation.”
“No sweat,” Tarver grinned, showing a mouthful of bright white teeth arrayed around a single gold one. “Give Mary Max my best.”
“Will do.” Sean nodded. “And if there’s ever anything I can do for you…”
“I’ll give a call.” Tarver held the door open, hurrying the young agent out of his office. “You have my word on that.”
Sean nodded and scanned the drab ‘government Issue’ office spread out around him. I could help them with a lot of things, he thought making his way toward the outer door. But they wouldn’t thank me for it.
A moment later he was in the hall and heading for his own office in the taller half of the J. Edgar Hoover building.

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