The Assassination Option by W.E.B. GriffinThe Assassination Option by W.E.B. Griffin

The Assassination Option

byW.E.B. Griffin, William E. Butterworth

Paperback | November 24, 2015

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James Cronley’s first successful mission for the new Central Intelligence Directorate has drawn all kinds of attention, some welcome, some not, including from the Soviets, his own Pentagon, and a seething J. Edgar Hoover. Now complications have sprung  up all over, including a surprising alliance between the Germans and, of all things, the Mossad; and an unplanned meeting with an undercover agent against the Soviets known only as Seven K.. Cronley knows that if just one thing goes wrong, he’s likely to get thrown to the wolves. And he thinks he hears them howling now.
Griffin is the author of seven bestselling series: The Corps, Brotherhood of War, Badge of Honor, Men at War, Honor Bound, Presidential Agent, and now Clandestine Operations. He lives in Fairhope, Alabama, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.   William E. Butterworth IV has been a writer and editor for major newspapers and magazines for over ...
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Title:The Assassination OptionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:496 pages, 7.51 × 4.2 × 1.03 inPublished:November 24, 2015Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0515155691

ISBN - 13:9780515155693

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Customer Reviews of The Assassination Option

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I thought it had the wrong title Great read from start to finish. It got you hooked right away and I didn't want to put the book down.
Date published: 2015-09-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If you enjoy historical military mystery this fits the bill The wolves are indeed sniffing and howling ( some of them wearing the same uniform as he ) and Captain Jim Cronley tries not to take too many of his team down with him, as he seeks to walk the very fine line between success, and the tumble to disaster. One gets a real feel for the terror when he vomits after a successful mission, and is told 'yup, it happens to us all in this business.' As with most of Griffin's books, it is really hard to put down once you open the cover.
Date published: 2015-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Assassination Great book, continues the series and makes you anxious toread the next one in the series. I remember Pullach from 1947 when the German answer to the CIA moved in. I was stationed iin the next village and remember the area with guards un U.S. Army uniforms but unable to speak English.
Date published: 2015-01-31

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PROLOGUEEarly in 1943, at a time when victory was by no means certain, GreatBritain, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United Statesof America—“the Allies”—signed what became known as “the MoscowDeclaration.” It stated that the leaders of Germany, Italy, andJapan—“the Axis Powers”—would be held responsible for atrocitiescommitted during the war.In December of that year, the Allied leaders—Prime MinisterWinston Churchill of England, General Secretary Joseph V. Stalin ofthe Soviet Union, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the UnitedStates—met secretly in Tehran, Iran, under the code name Project Eureka.The meeting later came to be known as the Tehran Conference.At a dinner in Tehran on December 29, 1943, while discussingthe Moscow Declaration, Stalin proposed the summary execution offifty thousand to one hundred thousand German staff officers immediatelyfollowing the defeat of the Thousand-Year Reich. Rooseveltthought he was joking, and asked if he would be satisfied with “thesummary execution of a lesser number, say, forty-nine thousand.”Churchill took the Communist leader at his word, and angrily announcedhe would have nothing to do with “the cold-blooded executionof soldiers who fought for their country,” adding that he’d “ratherbe taken out in the courtyard and shot myself” than partake in anysuch action.The war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945, with the unconditionalsurrender of Germany.In London, on August 8, 1945, the four Allied powers—France,after its liberation, had by then become sort of a junior member—signed “the Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of theMajor War Criminals of the European Axis Powers.”“The London Agreement” proclaimed that the senior Nazi leaderswould be tried on behalf of the newly formed United Nations atNuremberg, and that lesser officials would be tried at trials to be heldin each of the four zones of occupation into which Germany was to bedivided.The Soviet Union wanted the trials to be held in Berlin, but theother three Allies insisted they be held in Nuremberg, in Bavaria, inthe American Zone of Occupation. Their public argument was thatnot only was Nuremberg the ceremonial birthplace of Nazism, butalso that the Palace of Justice compound, which included a largeprison, had come through the war relatively untouched and was anideal site for the trials.What the Western Allies—aware of the Soviet rape of Berlin andthat to get the Russians out of the American Sector of Berlin, U.S.General I.D. White had to quite seriously threaten to shoot on sightany armed Russian soldiers he found in the American Sector—werenot saying publicly was that they had no intention of letting the SovietUnion dominate the trials.They threw a face-saving bone to the Russians by agreeing thatBerlin would be the “official home” of the tribunal.The London Agreement provided that the International MilitaryTribunal (IMT) would, on behalf of the newly formed United Nations,try the accused war criminals. It would consist of eight judges,two named by each of the four Allied powers. One judge from eachcountry would preside at the trials. The others would sit as alternates.Interpreters would translate the proceedings into French, German,Russian, and English, and written evidence submitted by the prosecutionwould be translated into the native language of each defendant.The IMT would not be bound by Anglo-American rules of evidence,and it would accept hearsay and other forms of evidence normallyconsidered unreliable in the United States and Great Britain.The IMT was given authority to hear four counts of criminalcomplaints: conspiracy, crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimesagainst humanity.It has been argued that the Russians obliged the Western Allies byagreeing to hold the actual trials in Nuremberg in a spirit of cooperation.It has also been argued that there was a tit-for-tat arrangement.If the Russians agreed to Nuremberg, the Americans and the Englishwould not bring up the Katyn Massacre.What is known—provable beyond doubt—is that in 1943 theGermans took a number of captured American officers from theirPOW camp to the Katyn Forest, about twelve miles west of Smolensk,Russia.The American officer prisoners were a mixed bag of Medical Corpsofficers, Judge Advocate General’s Corps officers, and officers of thecombat arms. In the latter group was Lieutenant Colonel John K.Waters, an Armor officer who had been captured in Tunisia. He wasmarried to the former Beatrice Patton. His father-in-law was GeneralGeorge S. Patton. Waters later became a four-star general.At Katyn, there were several recently reopened mass graves. As theAmericans watched, other mass graves were reopened. They containedthe bodies of thousands of Polish officers who had surrendered in 1940to the Red Army when the Russians invaded Poland from the Eastand Germany from the West.The Germans told the Americans that the Polish officers had beentaken from the Kozelsk prisoner-of-war camp to the forest in 1940—shortly after the surrender—by the Soviet NKVD. There, after theirhands had been wired behind them, they were executed by pistol shotsinto the back of their heads.The Germans permitted the American doctors to examine thecorpses and to remove from their brains the bullets that had killedthem. It was the opinion of the American doctors that the bodies hadin fact been so murdered and had been decomposing since 1940.The Americans were then returned to their POW camp. The bulletsremoved from the brains of the murdered Polish officers were distributedamong them.It is now known that there was some communication, in both directions,between the Allies and American prisoners of war in Germany.It is credible to assume that the prisoners who had been taken toHammelburg managed to tell Eisenhower’s headquarters in Londonwhat they had seen in the Katyn Forest, and possible, if by no meanscertain, that they managed to get the bullets to London, as well.Very late in the war, in March 1945, General Patton gave a veryunusual assignment to one of his very best tank officers, LieutenantColonel Creighton W. Abrams, who then commanded Combat CommandB of the 4th Armored Division. Abrams had broken throughthe German lines to rescue the surrounded 101st Airborne Division atBastogne, and was later to become chief of staff of the U.S. Army. TheU.S. Army’s main battle tank today is the Abrams.The official story was that Patton told Abrams he feared the Germanswould execute the American POWs being held in Oflag XIII-B,in Hammelburg, Germany, then fifty miles behind the German lines,when it appeared they would be liberated by the Red Army.Abrams was ordered to mount an immediate mission to get toHammelburg before the Russians did and to liberate the Americans.In the late evening of March 26, 1945, Task Force Baum—a companyof medium tanks, a platoon of light tanks, and a company ofarmored infantry, under Captain Abraham Baum—set out to do so.The mission was not successful. It was mauled by the Germans.When word of it got out, Patton was severely criticized for staging adangerous raid to rescue his son-in-law. He denied knowing ColonelWaters was in Oflag XIII-B. When, shortly afterward, Oflag XIII-Bwas liberated by the Red Army, Waters was not there.It later came out that Waters and 101st Airborne Division SecondLieutenant Lory L. McCullough (an interesting character, wholearned that he had been awarded a battlefield commission only afterhe had been captured during Operation Marketgarden) had escapedfrom captivity while the Germans had been marching the prisoners onfoot toward Hammelburg and had made their escape to North Africathrough the Russian port of Odessa on the Black Sea.When this came out, there was some knowledgeable speculationthat Patton had known Waters was in Oflag XIII-B, and had beenworried, because of Waters’s knowledge of the Katyn Forest massacre,that if the Red Army reached Hammelburg before the Americans, Waterswould have been killed by the Red Army to keep his mouth shut.Why else, this speculation asked, would Waters have elected hisincredibly dangerous escape with McCullough rather than just staywhere they were and wait in safety to be liberated?The Katyn Forest Massacre was not unknown in the West. ThePolish government in exile had proof of it as early as 1942. When theyrequested an investigation by the International Red Cross, Russiabroke diplomatic relations with the Poles. Churchill had not wantedto annoy his Russian ally, and Roosevelt believed it was Nazi propaganda.The Russians wouldn’t do anything like that.And then, at the very end of the war, Major General ReinhardGehlen, who had been chief of Abwehr Ost, the German military intelligenceagency dealing with the Soviet Union, added some furtherlight on the subject.Gehlen had made a deal with Allen W. Dulles, who had been theOffice of Strategic Services station chief in Berne, Switzerland, toturn over all of his assets—including agents in place in the Kremlin—to the OSS in return for the OSS protection of his officers and men,and their families, from the Red Army.Among the documents turned over were some that Gehlen’s agentshad stolen from the Kremlin itself. They included photographic copiesof NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria’s proposal, dated March 5, 1940, toexecute all captured Polish officers. Gehlen also provided photographiccopies of Stalin’s personal approval of the proposal, signed by him onbehalf of the Soviet Politburo, and reports from functionaries of theNKVD reporting in detail their execution of their orders. At least21,768, and as many as 22,002, Poles had been murdered. Approximately8,000 were military officers, approximately 6,000 were policeofficers, and the rest were members of the intelligentsia, landowners,factory owners, lawyers, officials, and priests.The Americans could not raise this in the face of the Soviet Union,however, as they would have had to say where they got their information,and when the Nuremberg trials began, the Americans were denyingany knowledge of the whereabouts of former Major GeneralReinhard Gehlen.[ ONE ]Walter Reed Army Medical CenterWashington, D.C.0905 22 December 1945The MP at the gate did not attempt to stop the Packard Clipperwhen it approached the gate. He had seen enough cars from theWhite House pool to know one when he saw one, and this onewas also displaying a blue plate with two silver stars, indicatingthat it was carrying a rear admiral (upper half ).The MP waved the car through, saluted crisply, and thenwent quickly into the guard shack—which was actually a neatlittle tile-roofed brick structure, not a shack—and got on thephone.“White House car with an admiral,” he announced.This caused activity at the main entrance. A Medical Corpslieutenant colonel, who was the Medical Officer of the Day—MOD—and a Rubenesque major of the Army Nurse Corps, whowas the NOD—Nurse Officer of the Day—rushed to the lobbyto greet the VIP admiral from the White House.No Packard Clipper appeared.“Where the hell did he go?” the MOD inquired finally.“If it’s who I think it is,” the NOD said, “he’s done this before.He went in the side door to 233. The auto accident major theyflew in from South America.”The MOD and the NOD hurried to the stairwell and quicklyclimbed it in hopes of greeting the VIP admiral from the WhiteHouse to offer him any assistance he might require.They succeeded in doing so. They caught up with Rear AdmiralSidney W. Souers and his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant JamesL. Allred, USN, as the latter reached to push open the door toroom 233.“Good morning, Admiral,” the MOD said. “I’m ColonelThrush, the Medical Officer of the day. May I be of service?”“Just calling on a friend, Colonel,” the admiral replied. “Butthank you, nonetheless.”He nodded to his aide to open the door.The NOD beat him to it, and went into the room.There was no one in the hospital bed, whose back had beencranked nearly vertical. A bed tray to one side held a coffee thermos,a cup, and an ashtray, in which rested a partially smokedthick, dark brown cigar. The room was redolent of cigar smoke.“He must be in the toilet,” the nurse announced, adding righteously,“He’s not supposed to do that unassisted.”Lieutenant Allred went to the toilet door, knocked, and asked,“You okay, Major?”“I was until you knocked at the door,” a muffled voice replied.“Thank you for your interest, Colonel, Miss,” Admiral Souerssaid.They understood they were being dismissed, said, “Yes, sir,” inchorus, and left the room.“Who is he?” the MOD asked.“You mean the admiral, or the major?”“Both.”“All I know about the admiral is that the word is that he’s a palof President Truman. And all I know about the major is that hewas medically evac’d from someplace in South America, maybeArgentina, someplace like that, and brought here. Broken leg, brokenarm, broken ribs. And no papers. No Army papers. He toldone of the nurses he was in a car accident.”“I wonder why here?” the MOD asked. “There are very goodhospitals in the Canal Zone, and that’s a lot closer to Argentinathan Washington.”The NOD shrugged.“And that admiral showed up an hour after he did,” she said.“And shortly after that, the major’s family started coming. He hasa large family. I think they’re Puerto Ricans. They were all speakingSpanish.”“Interesting,” the MOD said.Major Maxwell Ashton III, Cavalry, detail Military Intelligence,a tall, swarthy-skinned, six-foot-three twenty-six-year-old,tried to rise from the water closet in his toilet by using achromed support mounted to the wall. The support was on theleft wall. Major Ashton’s left arm was in a cast and the cast wasin a sling. Using his right arm, he managed to rise about eighteeninches from the toilet seat before his hand slipped and hedropped back down.He cursed. Loudly, colorfully, obscenely, and profanely, inSpanish, and for perhaps thirty seconds.He then attempted to rise using the crutch he had restedagainst the toilet wall. On the third try, he made it. With greatdifficulty, he managed to get his pajama trousers up from the floorand over his right leg, which was encased in plaster of paris, and tohis waist.“Oh, you clever fucking devil, you!” he proclaimed, in English.He unlocked the door, held it open with his forehead, and thenmanaged to get the crutch into his armpit, which permitted himto escape the small room.He was halfway to the bed when Lieutenant Allred attemptedto come to his aid.Ashton impatiently waved him off, made it to the bed, and,with difficulty, got in.“You should have asked a nurse to help you,” Allred said.“I’m sure it’s different in the Navy, but in the Cavalry, we considerit unbecoming an officer and a gentleman to ask womenwith whom we are not intimately acquainted to assist us in movingour bowels,” Ashton said.Admiral Souers laughed.“I’m delighted to find you in a good mood, Max,” he said.“How’s it going?”“Sir, do you really want to know?”“I really do.”“I am torn between that proverbial rock and that hard place.On one hand, I really want to get the hell out of here. I am toldthat when I can successfully stagger to the end of the hall andback on my crutches, I will be considered ‘ambulatory.’ I can dothat. But if I do it officially, that will mean I will pass into thehands of my Aunt Florence, who is camped out in the Hay-Adamsextolling my many virtues to the parents of every unmarriedCuban female in her child-bearing years—of the proper bloodline,of course—between New York and Miami.”“That doesn’t sound so awful to me,” Allred said.“What you don’t understand, Jim—although I’ve told you thisbefore—is that unmarried Cuban females of the proper bloodlinedo not fool around before marriage. And I am still in my fooling-around years.”“Or might be, anyway, when you get out of that cast,” AdmiralSouers said.“Thank you, sir, for pointing that out to me,” Ashton said.Souers chuckled, and then asked, “What do you want first, thegood news or the bad?”“Let’s start with the bad, sir. Then I will have something tolook forward to.”“Okay. There’s a long list of the former. Where do I start?Okay. General Patton died yesterday in Germany.”“I’m sorry to hear that. He always said he wanted to go outwith the last bullet fired in the last battle.”“And a car wreck isn’t the last battle, is it?” Souers replied.“Unless it was an opening shot in the first of a series of newbattles,” Ashton said.“We looked into that,” Souers said. “General Greene—the EuropeanCommand CIC chief? . . .”Ashton nodded his understanding.“. . . was all over the accident. And he told me that’s what itwas, an accident. A truck pulled in front of Patton’s limousine. Hisdriver braked hard, but ran into the truck anyway. Patton slid offthe seat and it got his neck, or his spine. He was paralyzed. Greenetold me when he saw Patton in the hospital, they had him stretchedout with weights. Greene said it looked like something from theSpanish Inquisition.”“And what does General Gehlen have to say about it?” Ashtonasked.“I think if he had anything to say, Cronley would have passedit on. Why do you think it could be something other than an accident?”Before Ashton could reply, Admiral Souers added, “Dumbquestion. Sorry.”Ashton answered it anyway.“Well, sir, there are automobile accidents and then there areautomobile accidents.”“Accidents happen, Max,” Souers said.“Sir, what happened to me was no accident,” Ashton said.“No, I don’t think it was. And Frade agrees. But accidents dohappen.”Ashton’s face showed, Souers decided, that he thought he wasbeing patronized.“For example, sort of close to home, do you know who LieutenantColonel Schumann is? Or was?”Ashton shook his head.“He was Greene’s inspector general. I met him when I was overthere. Good man.”Ashton said nothing, waiting for the admiral to continue.“More than a very good IG,” Souers continued, “a good intelligenceofficer. He was so curious about Kloster Grünau thatCronley had to blow the engine out of his staff car with a machinegun to keep him out.”“That’s a story no one chose to share with me,” Ashton saiddrily.“Well, we didn’t issue a press release. The only reason I’m tellingyou is to make my point about accidents happening. The dayPatton died, Colonel Schumann went to his quarters to lunch withhis wife. There was apparently a faulty gas water heater. It apparentlyleaked gas. Schumann got home just in time for the gas toblow up. It demolished the building.”“Jesus!”“Literally blowing both of them away, to leave their two kids, aboy and a girl, as orphans.”“Jesus Christ!” Ashton said.“Quickly changing the subject to the good news,” Souers said.“Let’s have the box, Jim.”“Yes, sir,” Lieutenant Allred said, and handed the admiral asmall blue box.Souers snapped it open and extended it to Ashton.“Would you like me to pin these to your jammies, Colonel, orwould you rather do that yourself?”“These are for real?” Ashton asked.“Yes, Lieutenant Colonel Ashton, those are for real.”“In lieu of a Purple Heart?” Ashton asked.“Prefacing this by saying I think you well deserve the promotion,the reason you have it is because I told the adjutant general Idesperately needed you, and that the only way you would evenconsider staying in the Army would be if your services had beenrewarded with a promotion.”Ashton didn’t reply.“Operative words, Colonel, ‘would even consider staying.’ ”Again, Ashton didn’t reply.“If nothing else, you can now, for the rest of your life, legitimatelyrefer to yourself as ‘colonel’ when telling tales of your valiantservice in World War Two to Cuban señoritas whom you wishto despoil before marriage.”“Sometimes it was really rough,” Ashton said. “Either the steakwould be overcooked, or the wine improperly chilled. Once, Ieven fell off my polo pony.”“Modesty becomes you, but we both know what you did inArgentina.”“And once I was struck by a hit-and-run driver while gettingout of a taxi.”“That, too.”“I really wish, Admiral, that you meant what you said to theadjutant general.”“Excuse me?”“That you desperately need me.”“They say, and I believe, that no man is indispensable. But thatsaid, I really wish you weren’t—what?—‘champing at the bit’ tohang up your uniform. With you and Frade both getting out—and Cletus wouldn’t stay on active duty if they made him a majorgeneral—finding someone to run Operation Ost down there isgoing to be one hell of a problem.”Ashton raised his hand over his head.When Souers looked at him in curiosity, he said, nodding towardthe toilet, “No, sir. I am not asking permission to go back inthere.”“This is what they call an ‘unforeseen happenstance,’” AdmiralSouers said after a moment. “You’re really willing to stay on activeduty?”Ashton nodded.“Yes, sir.”“I have to ask why, Max.”“When I thought about it, I realized I really don’t want tospend the rest of my life making rum, or growing sugarcane,” Ashtonsaid. “And I really would like to get the bastards who did thisto me.”He raised both the en-casted arm resting on his chest and hisen-casted broken leg.“I was hoping you would say because you see it as your duty, orthat you realize how important Operation Ost is, something alongthose lines.”“Who was it who said ‘patriotism is the last refuge of thescoundrel’?”“Samuel Johnson said it. I’m not sure I agree with it. And Iwon’t insult you, Max, by suggesting you are unaware of the importanceof Operation Ost. But I have to point out Romans12:19.” When he saw the confusion on Ashton’s face, the admiralwent on: “ ‘Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.’ Or words to thateffect.”“The Lord can have his after I have mine,” Ashton said. “Whendo you become our nation’s spymaster?”“That title belongs to General Donovan, and always will,”Souers said. “If you’re asking when the President will issue hisExecutive Order establishing the United States Directorate ofCentral Intelligence, January first.”“Let me ask the rude question, sir,” Ashton said. “And howdoes General Donovan feel about that?”“Well, the Directorate will be pretty much what he recommended.Starting, of course, with that it will be a separate intelligenceagency answering only to the President.”“I meant to ask, sir, how he feels about not being named director?”Souers considered his reply before giving it.“Not to go outside this room, I suspect he’s deeply disappointedand probably regrets taking on J. Edgar Hoover. My personal feelingis that the President would have given General Donovan theDirectorate if it wasn’t for Hoover.”“The President is afraid of Hoover?”“The President is a very smart, arguably brilliant, politicianwho has learned that it’s almost always better to avoid a bitter confrontation.I think he may have decided that his establishing theDirectorate of Central Intelligence over Hoover’s objections wasall the bitter confrontation he could handle.”“How does Hoover feel about you?”“He would have preferred—would really have preferred—tohave one of his own appointed director. Once the President toldhim that there would be a Directorate of Central Intelligence despitehis objections to it, Hoover seriously proposed Clyde Tolson,his deputy, for the job. But even J. Edgar doesn’t get everything hewants.”“That wasn’t my question, sir.”“He’s hoping he will be able to control me.”“What’s General Donovan going to do now?”“You know he’s a lawyer? A very good one?”“Yes, sir.”“Well, the President, citing that, asked him to go to Nurembergas Number Two to Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson,who’s going to be the chief American prosecutor.”“He threw him a bone, in other words?”“Now that you’re a lieutenant colonel, Colonel, you’re going tohave to learn to control your tendency to ask out loud questionsthat should not be asked out loud.”“Admiral, you have a meeting with the President at ten forty-five,” Allred said.Souers walked to the bed, extending his hand.“I’ll be in touch, Max,” he said. “Get yourself declared ambulatory.The sooner I can get you back to Argentina, the better.”“I was thinking, sir, that I would go to Germany first, to havea look at the Pullach compound, and get with Colonel Mattinglyand Lieutenant Cronley, before I go back to Buenos Aires.”“I think that’s a very good idea, if you think you’re up to allthat travel,” he said.“I’m up to it, sir.”“I hadn’t planned to get into this with you. That was beforeyou agreed to stay on. But now . . .”“Yes, sir?”“Now that you’re going to have to have a commander-subordinaterelationship with Captain . . . Captain . . . Cronley . . .”“Sorry, sir. I knew that the President had promoted Cronley forgrabbing the uranium oxide in Argentina.”“And for his behavior—all right, his ‘valor above and beyondthe call of duty.’”“Yes, sir.”“Prefacing this by saying I think he fully deserved the promotion,and the Distinguished Service Medal that went with it, andthat I personally happen to like him very much, I have to tell youwhat happened after he returned to Germany.”“Yes, sir?”“Admiral,” Lieutenant Allred said, as he tapped his wristwatch,“the President . . .”“The world won’t end if I’m ten minutes late,” Admiral Souerssaid. “And if it looks as if we’ll be late, get on the radio to theWhite House and tell them we’re stuck in traffic.”“Yes, sir.”“You know about those Negro troops who have been guardingKloster Grünau? Under that enormous first sergeant they call‘Tiny’? First Sergeant Dunwiddie?”“Cronley talked about him. He said he comes from an Armyfamily that goes way back. That they were Indian fighters, thattwo of his grandfathers beat Teddy Roosevelt up San Juan Hill inCuba during the Spanish American War.”“Did he mention that he almost graduated from Norwich?That his father was a Norwich classmate of Major General I.D.White, who commanded the Second Armored Division?”“No, sir.”“Well, when Cronley returned to Germany, to Kloster Grünau,he learned that those black soldiers—the ones he calls ‘Tiny’sTroopers’—had grabbed a man as he attempted to pass through—going outward—the barbed wire around Kloster Grünau. He haddocuments on him identifying him as Major Konstantin Orlovskyof the Soviet Liaison Mission. They have authority to be in theAmerican Zone.“On his person were three rosters. One of them was a completeroster of all of General Gehlen’s men then inside Kloster Grünau.The second was a complete roster of all of Gehlen’s men whomwe have transported to Argentina, and the third was a listing ofwhere in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, et cetera, that Gehlenbelieved his men who had not managed to get out were.“It was clear that Orlovsky was an NKGB agent. It was equallyclear there was at least one of Gehlen’s men—and very likely morethan one—whom the NKGB had turned and who had providedOrlovsky with the rosters.“When he was told of this man, Colonel Mattingly did what Iwould have done. He ordered Dunwiddie to turn the man over toGehlen. Gehlen—or one or more of his officers—would interrogateOrlovsky to see if he’d give them the names of Gehlen’s traitors.“Do I have to tell you what would happen to them if the interrogationwas successful?”“They would ‘go missing.’ ”“As would Major Orlovsky. As cold-blooded as that sounds, itwas the only solution that Mattingly could see, and he ordered itcarried out. And, to repeat, I would have given the same order hadI been in his shoes.“Enter James D. Cronley Junior, who had by then been a captainfor seventy-two hours. When Dunwiddie told him what hadhappened, he went to see the Russian. He disapproved of the psychologicaltechniques Gehlen’s interrogator was using. Admittedly,they were nasty. They had confined him naked in a windowlesscell under the Kloster Grünau chapel, no lights, suffering time disorientationand forced to smell the contents of a never-emptiedcanvas bucket which he was forced to use as a toilet.“Cronley announced he was taking over the interrogation, andordered Tiny’s Troopers to clean the cell, empty the canvas bucket,and to keep any of Gehlen’s men from having any contact whatsoeverwith Orlovsky.”“What did Gehlen do about that? Mattingly?”Souers did not answer the question.“Cronley and Dunwiddie then began their own interrogationof Major Orlovsky. As Colonel Mattingly pointed out to me later,Orlovsky was the first Russian that either Dunwiddie or Cronleyhad ever seen.”“Sir, when did Colonel Mattingly learn about this? Did GeneralGehlen go to him?”After a just perceptible hesitation, Souers answered the question.“Colonel Mattingly didn’t learn what Captain Cronley was upto until after Orlovsky was in Argentina.”“What?” Ashton asked, shocked.“Cronley got on the SIGABA and convinced Colonel Fradethat if he got Orlovsky to Argentina, he was convinced he wouldbe a very valuable intelligence asset in the future.”“And Cletus agreed with this wild hair?”“Colonel Frade sent Father Welner, at Cronley’s request, toGermany to try to convince Orlovsky that Cronley was telling thetruth when he said they would not only set him up in a new life inArgentina, but that General Gehlen would make every effort toget Orlovsky’s family out of the Soviet Union and to Argentina.”“Gehlen went along with this?”“The officer whom many of his peers believe is a better intelligenceofficer than his former boss, Admiral Canaris, ever was, wasin agreement with our Captain Cronley from the moment Cronleytold him what he was thinking.”“So this Russian is now in Argentina?”“Where he will become your responsibility once you get there.At the moment, he’s in the Argerich military hospital in BuenosAires, under the protection of the Argentine Bureau of InternalSecurity, recovering from injuries he received shortly after he arrivedin Argentina.”“Injuries?”“The car in which he was riding was attacked shortly after itleft the airport by parties unknown. They used machine guns andPanzerfausts—”“What?”“German rocket-propelled grenades.”“Then they were Germans?”“The BIS—and Cletus Frade—believes they were Paraguayancriminals hired by the Russians. So does Colonel Sergei Likharevof the NKGB.”“Who?”“When Major Orlovsky realized that the NKGB was trying tokill him, and probably would do something very unpleasant to hiswife and kids if General Gehlen could not get them out of theSoviet Union, he fessed up that his name is really Likharev andthat he is—or was—an NKGB colonel. And gave up the names ofGehlen’s traitors.”“What happened to them?”“You don’t want to know, Colonel Ashton.”“So Cronley did the right thing.”“I don’t think that Colonel Mattingly would agree that theends justify the means.”“But you do?”“On one hand, it is inexcusable that Cronley went aroundMattingly. On the other hand, we now have Colonel Likharevsinging like that proverbial canary. And on the same side of thatscale, General Gehlen has gone out of his way to let me know inwhat high regard he holds Cronley and Dunwiddie. But let mefinish this.”“Yes, sir.”“After Frade informed me that he believed Likharev had trulyseen the benefits of turning, and that he believed he would be ofenormous value to us in the future, I was willing to overlookCronley’s unorthodoxy. Then Cronley got on the SIGABA andsent me a long message stating that he considered it absolutely essentialthat when he is transferred to the DCI that he have anothercommissioned officer to back him up, and that he wanted FirstSergeant Dunwiddie commissioned as a captain—he said no onepays any attention to lieutenants—to fill that role.“My first reaction to the message, frankly, was ‘Just who thehell does he think he is?’ I decided that it probably would be unwiseto leave him in command of the Pullach compound. I thentelephoned General Gehlen, to ask how he would feel about MajorHarold Wallace—do you know who I mean?”Shaking his head, Ashton said, “No, sir.”“He was Mattingly’s deputy in OSS Forward . . .”“Now I do, sir.”“And is now commanding the Twenty-seventh CIC, which isthe cover for the Twenty-third CIC, to which Cronley and Dunwiddie are assigned. You are familiar with all this?”“Yes, sir.”“I asked General Gehlen how he would feel if I arranged forMajor Wallace to take over command of the Pullach compound.He replied by asking if he could speak freely. I told him he could.He said that in the best of all possible worlds, he would prefer thatColonel Mattingly and Major Wallace have as little to do withPullach as possible. When I asked why, he said that he regardedthe greatest threat to the Pullach compound operation, in otherwords, to Operation Ost, was not the Russians but the U.S. Armybureaucracy.“In case you don’t know, the Pentagon—the deputy chief ofstaff for intelligence—has assigned two officers, a lieutenant colonelnamed Parsons and a major named Ashley—to liaise with OperationOst at Pullach.”“Frade told me that, but not the names.”“DCS-G2 thinks they should be running Operation Ost. BothParsons and Ashley outrank Captain Cronley. See the problem?”“Yes, sir.”“I thought it could be dealt with, since Mattingly, in the FarbenBuilding, is a full colonel and could handle Parsons, and furtherthat Wallace could better stand up to Parsons and Ashleythan Cronley could.”Ashton nodded his understanding.“General Gehlen disagreed. He told me something I didn’tknow, that First Sergeant Dunwiddie’s godfather is GeneralWhite, and that in private Dunwiddie refers to General White as‘Uncle Isaac.’ And he reminded me of something I already knew:The President of the United States looks fondly upon CaptainCronley.”“How did Gehlen know that?”“I don’t know, but I have already learned not to underestimateGeneral Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen put it to me that he felt Parsonswas under orders to somehow take control of Pullach, that Mat-tingly, who is interested in being taken into the Regular Army, isnot going to defy the general staff of the U.S. Army.“Gehlen put it to me that DCS-G2 taking over Operation Ostwould be a disaster—reaching as far up as the President—inevitablyabout to happen. And I knew he was right.”“Jesus!”“And he said he felt that because both Dunwiddie and Cronleyhad friends in high places, they would be the best people to defendOperation Ost from being swallowed by DCS-G2. And I realizedGehlen was right about that, too.“General White is about to return to Germany from Fort Rileyto assume command of the Army of Occupation police force, theU.S. Constabulary. I flew out to Fort Riley on Tuesday and talkedthis situation over with him. He’s on board.“On January second, the day after the Directorate of CentralIntelligence is activated, certain military officers—you, for example,and Captains Cronley and Dunwiddie—”“Captain Dunwiddie, sir?” Ashton interrupted.“Sometime this week, First Sergeant Dunwiddie will be dischargedfor the convenience of the government for the purpose ofaccepting a commission as Captain, Cavalry, detail to Military Intelligence.“As I was saying, Cronley and Dunwiddie—and now you—will be transferred to the Directorate. Colonel Mattingly andMajor Wallace will remain assigned to Counterintelligence Corpsduties. I told General Greene that Colonel Frade suggested that forthe time being they would be of greater use in the CIC and that Iagreed with him.”When it looked as if Ashton was going to reply, Admiral Souerssaid, “Were you listening, Colonel, when I told you you’re going tohave to learn to control your tendency to ask questions out loudthat should not be asked out loud?”“Yes, sir. But may I ask a question?”Souers nodded.“It looks to me as if the effect of all this is that in addition toall the problems Cronley’s going to have with Operation Ost, he’sgoing to have to deal with Colonel Parsons—the Pentagon G2—and Colonel Mattingly, and maybe this CIC general, Greene, allof whom are going to try to cut him off at the knees.”Souers did not reply either directly or immediately, but finallyhe said, “I hope what you have learned in our conversation will beuseful both when you go to Germany and later in Buenos Aires.”“Yes, sir. It will be.”Souers met Ashton’s eye for a long moment, then smiled andturned and started to walk out of the room.

Editorial Reviews

“A Griffin adventure to bring out the Walter Mitty in every red-white-and-blue-blooded American male.” --Kirkus Reviews   “Engaging…It’s a testament to the authors’ skill and wide experience that the pages seem to turn themselves.” --Publishers Weekly   “The makings of an excellent series. The period between WWII and the Cold War offers raw material for several books, and as fans of Griffin’s body of work are well aware, he really sinks his teeth into politics and history.” --Booklist