Shadow Maker

Shadow Maker by James R. Hannibal Read Free Book Online

Book: Shadow Maker by James R. Hannibal Read Free Book Online
Authors: James R. Hannibal
asked Drake.
    â€œJordanian, with a valid green card. Says he was only trying to give a bright young man a chance. Our interrogators don’t think he’s guilty of anything beyond hiring an illegal.”
    Nick tore his eyes free of the photo and looked up at her. “So you’ve got nothing.”
    â€œI didn’t say that. We have his apartment. Even better, we have his laptop, which he tossed into a Dumpster behind his building. That rookie you gave such a hard time yesterday ran down the garbage truck and saved it.”
    â€œI’ll buy the kid a soda.”
    â€œCute. The NSA decoded e-mails on the computer and traced them to a known source.” CJ opened another file that covered the other three. In this picture, straight lines connected four names to a central square that read
    Ethan Quinn pushed off the back wall and scrutinized the chart. “So we’re looking at a cell?”
    â€œNot really. Grendel is not a cell or a network. It’s an NSA code name for a set of IP addresses.” CJ gestured to the four names. “These represent four plots that were uncovered over the last six months, all of them in Europe.” She pointed to each name in sequence. “This one planned to bomb a train in Germany. This one, a Russian in Budapest, attempted to sell rocket-propelled grenades to a known al-Qaeda buyer. This one was a subway bomber in the UK, and this one an Algerian radical buying explosives in France.” She turned and faced the group. “None of the four were working together, but the NSA pulled similar IP addresses from e-mails on each of their computers.”
    â€œIf they have the IP addresses, then they have a physical location,” said Drake, starting to boil. “The NSA could have rolled this Grendel up and stopped the Washington attack before it happened.”
    CJ held out her hands to calm him down. “Easy, tiger. The NSA has a location, a building in northern Budapest, but Grendel is not a ringleader or an umbrella organization. The IP addresses indicate Grendel is a hacker, providing a secure communications network for hire. Chances are, whoever sent the DC bomber had never used him before.”
    â€œCan we read Grendel’s mail?” asked Nick.
    â€œNot yet.” CJ tapped the digital wall, and the Grendel chart shrank back into the tray, leaving the previous three pictures up on the screen. “The NSA hasn’t cracked the outgoing or incoming paths to the IPs. If they could, they’d have a simultaneous wiretap on every terrorist that uses the network. They’ve had their long-haired geniuses working on it night and day for months.”
    Nick nodded. “That’s why they left Grendel in the wind, but tapping the network isn’t the goal anymore, is it?”
    â€œNo.” Walker stood up from his chair. “The DC attack is a game changer. The president doesn’t care about using Grendel as an intelligence source. He wants the mastermind behind the DC bombing, and that means capturing both Grendel and his hardware.”
    Nick cringed at the mention of the president. He hadn’t met this one and he didn’t want to, particularly under these circumstances. “Does the White House know about my picture?”
    â€œAs soon as I saw it, I classified it Special Access Required,” said CJ. “That won’t keep it out of political hands forever, but it will delay things until we can get a handle on the situation.”
    The colonel stepped out from behind his desk and stood next to CJ, silhouetted in front of Nick’s picture. “We need to understand how you became a target. Is there anything else that connects you to this attack?”
    Nick stared up at the two of them a moment longer. Then he pushed himself up from the leather chair and pulled his phone from his pocket. “Yes, sir. There is.”
    â€œA telephone chess game?” asked Walker when Nick

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