Introduction to Other Code-Talkers
At 22:18 on Day 1 of the time period under consideration, Ed Fluegel was brought into a government facility in Manhattan, New York, under the escort of CIA Agents Dot and Virgule. Ed Fluegel had been made aware, from limited information provided him en route, that he had been activated for service as a civilian code-talker in a foreign operation. He had not been briefed on the nature of the operation, nor had he met the three other civilian code-talkers with whom he would work.
An audio and video record of all activity in the facility is maintained, but a system-wide defect prevented any sound from being recorded from 20:00 Day 1 to 24:07 Day 2. The details of the introductory conference recounted here are determined from the video record, and the notes and testimonies of participants.
By 22:25 all participants in the conference were seated in the conference room. In attendance at this initial meeting were Gus Fortan, CIA; Lieutenant Colonel Charles Ancilla, USMC; Ed Fluegel of Brooklyn, New York; Agent Virgule, CIA; Agent Dot, CIA; Bruce Springsteen of Asbury Park, New Jersey; Hope Hearst of Austin, Texas; and Gordon Doe, Sandia National Laboratory and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. (The name of the individual referred to as "Hope Hearst" has been suppressed for reasons of privacy.)
Gus Fortan, of CIA Directorate of Operations, and director of this operation, led the meeting.
He began by explaining that none of the civilian recruits were to mention their involvement in the operation to anyone not present at the meeting, unless directed by him personally.
The consequences of disclosing this information were made clear to the civilians.
The civilians were instructed to formulate a cover story, on paper, explaining their sudden absence. They would turn in a draft of this story about thirty minutes after the end of the meeting, and would then be led to their quarters for the night. In the case of Gordon Doe, an academic research project had already been formulated as a cover story, which Gus Fortan indicated would be explained to Gordon Doe at a subsequent opportunity.
Gus Fortan then introduced the civilians and Lt. Col. Charles Ancilla to each other. Agents Dot and Virgule, he explained, were on hand only to answer any questions about the recruitment process and would have no role in the actual operation.
Ed Fluegel was introduced as a classicist and technical writer who learned Akkadian as an undergraduate. Bruce Springsteen was introduced as a popular music singer and autodidact who studied Akkadian intensively several years ago while on the road. Hope Hearst was a introduced as a poet and visiting scholar at the University of Texas. Gordon Doe, an autistic with exceptional linguistic abilities, was introduced as a scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Sandia National Laboratory. Lt. Col. Charles Ancilla was introduced as the commander of the military arm of the operation.
Gus Fortan explained that the civilians would be assisting Lt. Col. Charles Ancilla and the soldiers under his command by providing secure, rapid communications along critical links. Although not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he explained that they should consider themselves as under his command during the operation. They would be asked to render English utterances accurately and clearly into Akkadian, and translate their fellow code-talkers' Akkadian utterances back into English. According to the operation plan, they would not be called upon for any other duties.
Because the operation had a military dimension, however, they would receive basic weapons training for safety purposes and in case an emergency arose in which they would need to defend themselves.
A timeline was displayed on an overhead projector, indicating the date the mission would be completed and the civilians released from service (Day 21). Although divided into "training" and "action" phases, the timeline did not provide any other information regarding the location of parties or the nature of the action.
Gus Fortan indicated that the civilians would be transported to a new location in Virginia on the following day. Training and additional briefing would take place there. He asked if there were any questions.
Ed Fluegel raised his hand.
Ed Fluegel asked again about the care of his younger brother during his absence. Gus Fortan requested the status of his brother's care from his securely-connected notebook computer.
While Gus Fortan was waiting for a reply, he solicited special requests for things the civilian code-talkers might want over the two weeks that would make the situation more enjoyable for them, and which would would be portable and compatible with the operation. In response to Hope Heart's desire to continue working on poetry during any unoccupied moments during the operation, he offered a government laptop for writing use. He cautioned that the contents of the disk would be screened and only texts approved as unrelated to the operation could be retained by her after the conclusion of the operation. In response to Bruce Springsteen's request, he said that a travel guitar could be provided or brought to him from his domicile.
Gus Fortan then printed out the email he had received regarding the care of Bobby Fluegel. He handed the printout to Ed Fluegel, telling him that this document, like any others found or printed here, could not be taken out of the facility. The email indicated that a social worker had already met Bobby Fluegel in Brooklyn. On the following day, Bobby Fluegel, with his caretaker, would be relocated to the University of California San Francisco where researchers would attempt to come to a better understanding of his condition.
Finally, Gus Fortan stated that the operation would heretofore be referred to as Operation Shift Lock.
As the other participants left, Ed Fluegel and Hope Hearst were each given a pad of paper and a pen by Gus Fortan. They drafted cover stories and handed them to Gus Fortan shortly before 24:00. Both of these were approved by Gus Fortan on Day 2. Gus Fortan sent the drafts to CIA analyst Holden Thomson who revised them and returned them on Day 3 via Gus Fortan to the two civilian code-talkers, and forwarded documentary notices establishing the cover stories to Ed Fluegel's and Bobby Fluegel's clients, and to Hope Hearst's department and family in Austin.
At about 24:00 Ed Fluegel and Bruce Springsteen were shown by Agent Virgule to a barracks-like room in the facility, where Gordon Doe was already sleeping. Hope Hearst was escorted to private quarters.
Agent Virgule advised Springsteen and Fluegel that they should shortly try to get some untroubled sleep, as they would soon be traveling.
Ed Fluegel draft cover story
Revised Ed Fluegel cover story
Hope Hearst draft cover story
Revised Hope Hearst cover story