Ed Fluegel's Domicile Searched; Ed Fluegel Reportedly Sighted
Ed Fluegel's domicile was searched thoroughly by FBI agents as an NSA intercept team reviewed his phone records. Several items were located in Fluegel's domicile that agents hoped would enable FBI to locate Fluegel. These are not detailed here as none did actually prove useful. The phone records indicate that the only phone activity since Fluegel's return to the United States were ten calls from telemarketers which were not answered.
Two FBI agents spoke with Ed Fluegel's father, Cecil Fluegel, by phone. Cecil Fluegel was surprised to learn about his son's absence and had no information about his whereabouts. One FBI agent had a telephone conversation with Bobby Fluegel, who had been returned to his father's care by this time. The agent did not learn anything of importance.
In the wake of Ed Fluegel's disappearance, CIA Security began running further checks on the other surviving civilian code-talkers, Bruce Springsteen and Hope Hearst. Background investigation of Hearst revealed nothing unexpected, but the investigation into Springsteen's past turned up a surprising result. Through human intelligence a CIA Security officer heard, surprisingly, that Springsteen had been affiliated with CIA since approximately 1967. In order to avoid the draft, the Security officer's source explained, Springsteen had arranged a deal whereby he was to take notes on the folk music and rock-and-roll music scene, reporting any suspicious activity regarding narcotics abuse or dangerous manifestations of anti-war sentiment.
The source said that Springsteen, while he filed reports that indicated no suspicious activity had been observed, nevertheless became a favored CIA asset. CIA had, the source explained, assisted him in establishing connections in the music industry. The source described a process where, with covert CIA backing allowing him heavy rotation on popular music radio stations, and CIA-sponsored promotion of music album releases and concerts, Springsteen had become a celebrated songwriter.
For some reason, the information from this source, an individual who had never delivered reliable information to CIA, was taken seriously by Security. The story was incredulous, as Springsteen had been cleared by CIA Security before the operation and no mention of an earlier relationship with CIA had been noted. The story seemed even more unlikely after examination of Springsteen's FBI file. Security nevertheless ordered a complete search of computer and paper CIA files from 1965 onward. The search revealed, contrary to the information provided by the source, that no reports had ever filed by Springsteen. Furthermore, there was no record anywhere of his previous employment by CIA as a contractor.
On Day 18 Cecil Fluegel called the FBI agent to report that he believed he may have seen Ed Fluegel.
Cecil Fluegel said that the day before, he had taken Bobby Fluegel to Golden Gate Park. An outdoor festival was taking place, and carnival rides had been set up. There were stages with live music, as is typical at festivals of this sort, and various stands offering foods and games. Around 13:00, Cecil Fluegel left Bobby Fluegel playing on the playground equipment with other children and went to purchase cotton candy from a stand at the opposite end of the park. As he was walking back, Cecil Fluegel saw Bobby Fluegel sitting on a park bench near the playground. A man who looked like Ed Fluegel was kneeling and offering Bobby Fluegel something. During a later phone conversation with the FBI agent he said the offered item may have been "a white flower."
Just after Cecil Fluegel noticed this, a large group of nuns passed through his line of sight. When they had moved past, he could no longer see the man who may have been Ed Fluegel. Cecil Fluegel walked over to Bobby Fluegel and asked him about the incident, but Bobby Fluegel shrugged and reported meeting no one. When Cecil Fluegel asked him later that day, "Is there something you're not telling Dad?" Bobby Fluegel chuckled and replied "Pop Secret!" Cecil Fluegel questioned him a great deal further at this point, reminding him of the value of honesty, but Bobby Fluegel became serious and silent. Cecil Fluegel said he was uncertain about whether to report the incident, since he was unsure that he had actually seen Ed Fluegel. He asked that the FBI agent please not trouble Bobby Fluegel as a result of his report. In order to maintain Cecil Fluegel as a source of information, only a short phone interview with Bobby Fluegel was conducted. This proved of no value to the investigation.
Meanwhile, CIA had disseminated the cover story that Gordon Doe, the code-talker killed in the operation, had decided to move to Canada to care for an aunt and would be going on leave indefinitely from his work at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Sandia National Laboratory. The story was poorly contrived: Doe actually had no living relatives. Further, it was more likely that Gordon Doe would require a caretaker than it was that he would act as one. This cover story was developed by a beginning analyst at headquarters who had little previous experience in crafting misinformation. It was approved, apparently without close examination, by Gus Fortan.
Although Doe had actually contributed to several research projects at NCSA and at Sandia National Laboratory, these jobs served mainly as cover for him. CIA had cared for Doe closely, providing assisted living arrangements and taking care of many matters that the linguistically adept but socially unsure Doe was not able to deal with himself. Doe had actually worked for CIA as contractor numerous times, in code-talking and other linguistically advanced roles, becoming a de facto staff member in civilian guise. However, because it was possible for CIA to maintain him as a government employee in scientific capacities and because of his unusual mental abilities and disabilities, making him an official part of CIA was seen as unnecessary. Doe was never considered for staff status. Because of the complete success of previous CIA cover stories, used to conceal Doe's frequent absence from work, it was assumed that this story, used to conceal his death, would be received without question.
Gordon Doe's NCSA manager, Barrett Palmer, was apparently aware from speaking with Doe that Doe had no relatives. Further, he found it odd that Doe, who had a difficult time managing his own affairs, would be leaving to care for an ailing relative. The success of earlier stories had been aided by Doe's part-time status at two geographically distant facilities. But as a result of the problems with this story, Palmer began to check with Doe's colleagues at Sandia to try to determine Doe's true whereabouts.
Barrett Palmer, quite possibly the person closest to Doe not affiliated with CIA, made multiple inquiries and eventually hired a private investigator.