Agents Storm Ed Fluegel's Rural Domicile
The anonymous caller indicated that Ed Fluegel had been residing in a cabin in rural Vermont on the shores of Lake Bomoseen. The caller gave clear directions to the cabin. (see transcript) FBI did not notify CIA about the call or their possible fix on the location of the missing former civilian code-talker. Instead, Rutland-based agents, working in undercover roles as a married Christian couple to monitor militant Vermont white-supremacist organizations, were notified, given select information about the Fluegel case, and told to retrieve Fluegel.
Sheriff's deputies were deployed in a cordon around the cabin as the two FBI agents went to the front door. Although Fluegel had proven elusive, had a criminal record, and was known to have received CIA training in small firearms, he was also known to have been compliant with intelligence operatives before and had never manifested violent behavior. The FBI agents, who had somewhat of a reputation for reckless behavior, deemed him only moderately dangerous. They knocked at the door, announced themselves, and then told him to open the door before they broke it down.
The cabin was uninhabited and apparently had been for about a week. Most of the furnishings, and almost all of the other contents of the house, had been removed. There was a single unopened bag of Olean's potato chips on the floor of the kitchen, where a table was also situated. The living room contained only an ornate, inexpensive rug, and a hardbound anthology of writings by Henry David Thoreau.
The dirt trail in front of the house had seen vehicle traffic in the past weeks, which had been only partially effaced by the cars of the FBI agents and the sheriff's deputies. However, detailed tread analysis proved impossible. It was determined that tracks had likely been brushed with a tree branch that was attached to the back or front of the vehicle. Examination of the depth of the branch's markings revealed that a passenger car or light truck was the vehicle that had been at the cabin. Any footprints previously present had also been brushed away by the branch.
Ed Fluegel, and anyone else who might have been in the cabin, apparently either did not wear shoes inside the cabin or had their shoe prints erased when the floor was cleaned thoroughly. A few fibers from black socks and dark blue denim jeans were found on the legs of the lone remaining table, but no marks from footwear.
A note was also found on this table. It was addressed to "FBI" and signed "Ed." A cursory comparison with handwritten material from Ed Fluegel's files assured the agents that it was written by Fluegel. It read:
The Navajo helped win World War II, dutifully defending the culture that supplanted their own. The Europeans took their land, and finally, even their language. Did you know that, if captured by the Japanese, Navajo code-talkers promised to commit suicide? They were good recruits, all of them, every bit as loyal as American soldiers, and their services must be sorely missed.
It's very special of you agents, or special agents, to drop by. But we need to stop seeing each other. You see, I'm leaving you. I need more space. I went to your schools and prisons, and filled your filefolders full of my fingerprints, my photograph, and my identity. And I've learned a lot: my relationship with the U.S. government, particularly CIA, has helped me to grow. It's been comforting knowing that, whatever I do, I'm being closely watched over. And now I'm leaving the nest, enjoying that great interstate highway system I bought with my taxes. And, even though you won't recognize me anymore, all told, although we had some troubled times, I can't say that I'd change much of anything. You've shown me wonders I would never otherwise have seen, like a man shot to death in front of me.
But it's all over between us now. It's simply not going to work out for you to keep stalking me trying to get us back together. Let be!
Laboratory analysis of the note revealed that the writer was wearing a blue and white long-sleeve flannel shirt. The pen used was a Bic ball point with black ink, of the sort that was for sale in the gas station and convenience store closest to the cabin. The paper was standard letter-sized white paper, 20 weight, composed of 100% recycled material (none of this was post-consumer waste). Graphological analysis of the handwriting did not signal any unusual amount of stress in the writer, or any noticeable psychological issues. The information was added to Ed Fluegel's file. Because Fluegel had not committed a crime, FBI protocol did not allow for declaring Ed Fluegel "wanted." Attempting to locate Fluegel through milk-carton channels was considered, because of his somewhat youthful appearance, but it was deemed unwise.
The civilian code-talker referred to in this report as Hope Hearst remains a paid FBI informant and has provided useful information to the Bureau on many occasions. Bruce Springsteen continues his music career and independent scholarship. As far as CIA and FBI know, he has never mentioned Operation Shift Lock in conversation with anyone other than appropriate parties in the U.S. intelligence community. Furthermore, he has not evinced a particular continued interest in Akkadian scholarship. Because of these facts, and because his high profile makes it unlikely he will slip from view, FBI does not consider him a security risk.
After three additional months of investigation, the case of Ed Fluegel was closed by FBI. As of the date of issue of this report, FBI has received no information, reliable or otherwise, that would suggest the Bureau reopen the case.