The American

The American by Andrew Britton Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: The American by Andrew Britton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andrew Britton
fear. As his acute senses suddenly focused, he picked up a silhouette in his peripheral vision. A sniper lay prone on the low roof of the building, the rigid bone of his eye socket just millimeters from the scope of a Russian Dragunov rifle.
    March was impressed by the man’s discipline, but thought the weapon far too large and difficult to maneuver in an urban environment. He personally would have opted for the Galil with its folding stock, but never would have suggested it to the man on the roof. He almost laughed out loud at the idea of an Arab militant using a weapon manufactured in Israel.
    Approaching the door, two more guards suddenly entered his line of sight, AK-47 rifles held down by their sides. The men tensed momentarily as they approached, then quickly relaxed as Hamza spoke with one of the guards in hushed tones. A portable radio was lifted to lips cracked by the harsh sun, words were exchanged, orders issued. Moments later, the door swung open and the two arrivals were hustled inside.
    Jason March waited, his back aching in the uncomfortable wooden chair. The past few days had been tedious: nonstop travel under assumed identities, the constant fear of discovery, the constant apprehension. Only now was it coming to a peak; he felt as though he was about to be tested, and his answers would determine not only his place within the organization, but whether he would leave this building alive or not. Through his supreme confidence, March retained a measure of caution. He had come too far to throw it all away now.
    Low voices outside the door announced his visitors before they pushed into the room. Hamza entered, quickly followed by a surprisingly tall, gaunt individual whom March recognized immediately. The man had made few changes to his appearance despite the leaflets dropped by army helicopters that offered a reward in excess of 25 million dollars for his apprehension.
    Saif al-Adel cursorily examined the person who had abruptly stood upon his entrance into the room. He was instantly suspicious, as the man’s appearance seemed to embody Western decadence in its entirety. The eyes, on the other hand, told a different story altogether, the hatred visible deep within the vivid green irises. It was this hate he wanted to explore. Soon he would have the answers he needed to proceed.

    I t had taken all her powers of persuasion, but Naomi Kharmai was finally able to liberate the personnel file from Jonathan Harper’s protective care. It lay closed before her now, although she had already examined it thoroughly. Naomi sipped at her tea in the deserted café as she recounted the information she had learned about Ryan Thomas Kealey. He was thirty-three years old, the last three of which had been spent in the Central Intelligence Agency as part of the Special Activities Division. Within those three years, the file confirmed that he had been awarded the Intelligence Star for courageous action in the field.
    She considered this award for some time. Although the circumstances that had resulted in the conferrence of the medal were sealed, Naomi recognized immediately that Kealey must carry a fair degree of influence within the Agency as a result of his actions. She had noticed earlier, with some surprise, that he was on a first-name basis with Deputy Director Harper. Perhaps this also explained why Ryan was not attached to the CTC; certainly, they would have eagerly recruited him given the opportunity.
    The file also recorded his activities before joining the Agency. Kealey had left the U.S. Army as a major in 2001 under pressure from Special Forces Command. Naomi took that to mean the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose approval would have been needed in order to indict a soldier with Ryan Kealey’s background. The 201 military record cited numerous awards: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf

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