PoB-Discovery: More Context and Cloak and Dagger

Ack! I screwed up and posted the latest episode out of sequence.  This is what I meant to publish:

-More Context-

Christiane was not to be deterred.  After the meeting ended Ari Weiner asked her out for lunch and as they casually strolled across the grounds to the museum restaurant at the Art Garden, Ari said, “Rumor has it that Netanyahu and Likud are putting together a coalition and Olmert and Kadima are unlikely to survive much more than a year at best.  It should take you that long to do your translation and with editing and such it’s very likely that we’ll have a new government before you go to print.”

“Rumor has it,” scoffed Christiane, “We’re over three thousand years in Jerusalem and rumor still has it!  What makes you think Shin Bet under Netanyahu will be any different than under Olmert?”

“Nothing,” he replied, “If anything they’ll likely be even more tight assed, but at least they’ll be different tight asses and we won’t be trapped in a conference room with Meir Olmert’s pickle farts.”

Christiane laughed so hard she nearly pissed herself.  They soon arrived at the museum where Ari bought two box lunches and a half bottle of white wine.  Sitting down on a bench near the sculpture garden, they took a long moment to enjoy the day.  Ari poured the wine while Christiane dipped a warm baked Kubbeh into tahini and savored her first bite.  They ate their lunch engaged in a casual conversation that deliberately focused on family and friends so that the tension of their morning in the conference room gradually dissipated in the bright breezy afternoon.  There were plastic cups of Malabi for dessert and when Christiane licked the last bit rosewater custard from her plastic spoon, Ari asked, “Have you seen the un-redacted site survey?”

Christiane ran her tongue over her lips and dropped the empty cup into the paper box, “Apparently neither Olmert nor Zimmermann believe that I have any need to know.”

Ari handed her two flash drives and said, “The file is encrypted and the flash drive with the red label contains the key.  Don’t bring these back to the office, use another computer to read this off site.  Don’t use any computer at your hotel and disable any wireless modem.  Olmert’s people can and will remotely scan your laptop and any computer you use in the office.  Don’t save the file or print it out and after you’ve read the report, destroy and dispose of the drives.  The survey explains a lot about all the security precautions.  It was written by an American, who has solid experience but no credentials, which is why Itzhak has his doubts about the scrolls.  I believe the American’s in Central America now, but if you’d like I can arrange a Skype meeting and you can ask him whatever comes to mind.”

Christiane chuckled, “That would be Mike Jerrod.  Ariane has a terrible crush on him.  She says that he puts Harrison Ford to shame.”

“I suppose he does have a bucolic charm,” said Ari, “and no matter what Itzhak may have to say, he does excellent work.  He and Jean Levy pulled off small miracles to bring the scrolls to Jerusalem.  Read the survey and you will understand.”

Christiane dropped by an electronics shop to buy a cheap laptop and for some strange reason she thought the better of it.  Instead she paid cash for a cell phone, bought a card with 200 minutes and asked the clerk to activate the account.  She walked to a park away from the IAA campus and when she was out of earshot from any passersby, she called Ariane.  “Hello my dear,” said Christiane.  Ariane replied, “How wonderful to hear from you.  Are they treating you well in Jerusalem?”

“Not as well as one might hope but Ari Weiner was nice enough to buy me lunch today and he gave me a lovely present as well,” said Christiane, “But I’m having a bit of a problem with my laptop.  I think that Shin Bet screwed it up when they loaded their security software and I was wondering if I could ask you a favor.”

“Anything, love,” Ariane replied.  “I was looking for a replacement here in Jerusalem but they are stupidly expensive, so could you please ask one of your IT people to send me inexpensive clone so I can have a back up,” she asked.  “It will be there tomorrow,” answered Ariane, “Where shall we send it.”

“Send it to the American consulate,” said Christiane, “It’s a couple of blocks from my hotel and that way it’s less likely that it will get hung up in customs.”

Ariane chuckled, “More cloak and dagger, I imagine that Jean Levy somehow has his fingers in it.  I’ll make a call to the embassy in Bern and have it sent in the diplomatic pouch.  Are you still at the St. George Hotel?”

“Yes, room 311,”Christiane replied.  “The consulate will call you when it arrives,” said Ariane, “It may take a bit longer but that way Shin Bet doesn’t get to vote.”

“Thank you so much,” said Christiane, “Give my love to Benjamin and the girls.”

-Cloak and Dagger-

“More cloak and dagger…” Ariane’s off handed reference to Jean Levy and Ari’s warnings about the wireless intrusions of Shin Bet electronic security ran through her mind as she played her fingers over the flash drives in the pocket of her coat; so as she returned to her hotel, Christiane stopped by a bakery and bought a small date tahini cake.  Carrying the pink cardboard box into the lobby she made a point to conspicuously set it on the front desk where she asked for messages and then went up to her room.  There she laid out toilet paper on the credenza, turned the box upside down and opened it from the bottom so that the inverted pastry was exposed.  She pulled the flash drives out of her coat pocket and carefully pushed them into the soft moist cake; then she closed the box, turned it upright, sliced the cake, disposed of the crumbs and toilet paper, made herself a pot of tea and enjoyed the delicate pastry - satisfied that anyone who looked at the cake wouldn’t think to see it as anything other than cake.

She went on about her business and three days later at 8:00am on a Friday morning the office of the Consul General called.  Her parcel had arrived and was waiting at the consulate which was a good thing because she’d nibbled away at the cake so that there was less than a quarter of it left in the box.  She retrieved the flash drives, licking her fingers as she cleaned away moist cake crumbs, then she thought what the hell, made a pot of tea, ordered fresh fruit from room service and sat down to have her cake and eat it too.  With her passport and flash drives in her leather satchel she walked the short distance to the consulate and passed through security.  The guard looked at her name on the passport and immediately made a call as he asked her to wait with him.  A few minutes later a woman, not much older than Christiane’s eldest daughter, entered the building lobby and extended her hand, “Hello, you must be Christiane Arslan, I’m Juliet Mendel, assistant to the Consul General.  Please come with me and we’ll go right up to the office.”

Christiane was a bit taken aback at meeting the Consul General but never having dealt with the mechanics of a diplomatic pouch, she followed the young woman to the second floor where they passed the double doors that led to the office of Consul General Jacob Walles and went into a smaller adjacent office.  Juliet stood next to her desk where a sealed box and a letter from the US Ambassador to Switzerland lay next to her computer keyboard.  “Would you care for coffee,” she asked.  “No thank you,” Christiane replied, “I had tea with my breakfast.”

Juliet smiled, “Well this is your package and all we need is for you to open it, confirm the contents and put your signature on a receipt.”

Borrowing a pair of scissors, Christiane broke the seal and opened the package which contained her new laptop and a small circuit board.  “What’s this,” she asked.  “I believe that is a wireless modem,” Juliet answered, “In his letter the Ambassador tells us that you maybe concerned about cyber security and he instructs us to avail you of our facilities so that you can open any files and do any work that you need to do.  If you like there’s a small meeting room down the hall that you can use this morning.  We’re sorry, but we’ve been here since 1952 and only the second and third floors are secure.”

“Thank you,” said Christiane, as she signed and dated the paperwork and wondered if all Foreign Service Officers spoke with plural personal pronouns, “It shouldn’t take me more than an hour to do what I need to get done.”

Juliet clipped the receipt to the Ambassador’s letter and placed it in a manila file folder on her desk then she handed a plastic visitor’s badge to Christiane, got her signature again and escorted her three doors down the narrow hallway to the meeting room, “Again, we’re sorry for the inconvenience, but we out grew this building years ago.  There’s a phone in the room so if you need anything, just give me a ring at extension 255.”

Opening the door to the tiny 120 square foot room she paused and asked, “Not to be impolite but may I ask who do you know at State?”

“Other than you, no one,” Christiane replied, “but I have friends who know all kinds of people all over the world.”

“Well here you are,” said Juliet, “Are you sure that I can’t bring you some coffee, tea or water?”

“No thank you,” said Christiane, “I’m fine for now and I expect I’ll be out of your hair shortly.  Shall I call your extension when I finish here?”

“Yes please, all visitors require escorts on this floor.  Call me at 255 when you’re done.”

The People of the Book - The Discovery

The People of the Book - Discovery Part Two

The People of the Book - Discovery Part Three

PoB-Discovery: Thanksgiving and Ari Weiner

PoB-Discovery - Plans for Erev Rosh Hashanah and The Fundraiser

PoB Discovery: The Scrolls and Context

Views: 56

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 23, 2017 at 1:41pm


Comment by M. C. Sears on January 23, 2017 at 1:44pm

R&L :))

Comment by JMac1949 Today on January 23, 2017 at 1:49pm

Jon & Mary Thanks.

Comment by koshersalaami on January 23, 2017 at 2:24pm


Comment by JMac1949 Today on January 23, 2017 at 3:48pm

Thanks Kosh.

Comment by Lois Wickstrom on January 24, 2017 at 7:10pm

keeping the tension up


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