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Hurley exhaled a sigh of frustration. “I don’t seem to be getting through to you.”

“I feel the same way,” Adams said in disappointment. “I understand how difficult this business is, so I’m willing to look the other way this one time, but this offer is not going to last very long. I’m tired and I have a busy day of appointments. I’ll give Rapp one chance to let me walk out of here. And I mean right now. One chance.” Adams held up his index finger.

Hurley started to laugh. “You don’t understand what’s going on, do you?”

“I understand that in about two hours people are going to start wondering where I am, and once that happens it is going to be very hard for me to look the other way on this. So, for the last time, let me go and I’ll forget all this, but I tell you,” Adams’s face flushed with anger, “if Rapp so much as looks at me the wrong way, I will bury him.”

Hurley wouldn’t have believed the man’s arrogance if he hadn’t been here to witness it. “I don’t think you’re going to be going anywhere for quite a while.”

“I’d better,” Adams felt his heart begin to race, “because what little understanding I have is quickly wasting away.”

“You’re an idiot,” Hurley said as if he were telling him his shoes were untied. “I tried my best to help you early in your career, but you really are one dumb son of a bitch.”

Adams acted as if he’d been slapped in the face. “Uncle Stan, I have done nothing wrong. I am the one trying to do the right thing.”

“If you think you’ve done nothing wrong, then I might as well shoot you in the head and get this over with.”

Adams’s mouth was agape. Here was a man he had known since birth—his father’s best friend, for Christ’s sake. Adams blurted out, “I’ve served my country. I don’t understand . . . I signed up just like you and Dad.”

“Do yourself a favor and don’t start comparing your clandestine service career to your father’s.”

“I . . .” Adams stammered, “I wasn’t about to go down with that ship of rats. They were the most corrupt bastards I’d ever met.”

“Corrupt? You talking about our fine boys down in Bogotá back in the eighties?”

“Of course I am. They should have all been thrown in jail.”

Hurley considered slapping him, but he didn’t want to make this any more personal than it already was. “This is all my fault. The other instructors at the Farm wanted to wash your ass out, but I protected you. They knew you didn’t have what it would take, and I knew it, too, but I thought I owed it to your father, so I talked you up and let you graduate.” Shaking his head in self-loathing, he added, “It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

“Didn’t have what it would take?” Adams asked, some anger finally seeping into his voice. “You mean like a frontal lobotom

y? You mean the ability to ignore every ethical standard I’d ever learned? Ignore everything Congress says about what I should or shouldn’t be doing?”

“The problem with you, Glen, is that you always thought you were special, and the truth is you’re not. You were a dogshit operative. The only thing you were good for was wining and dining at the embassy parties. Anything that involved getting your hands dirty, you pissed and moaned like a little girl.”

“By getting my hands dirty you mean breaking the law?”

“You’re damn right I do. What in the hell do you think it is that the CIA is supposed to do? You think we’re supposed to obey everyone’s laws? Go ask the International Court and the U.N. and the fucking State Department for permission to find out which Colombian military officers are on the drug cartel’s payroll?”

“Oh . . . I think you’re simplifying it a bit.”

“You want me to simplify things? Here it is. You were a complete failure as an operative, you were a mediocre prosecutor who kissed all the right asses and managed to land an empty-suit job as the chief watchdog at the CIA where your entire mission is to get in the way of people who are actually trying to keep us safe. Is that simple enough for you?”

“Get in the way!” Adams shouted. “You think things like the rule of law and the Constitution simply get in the way?”

“No, but neither have I deluded myself into thinking that the men who wrote it ever intended for a second that it be used to protect our enemies.”

“So guys like Mitch Rapp should be able to do whatever they’d like without any oversight? Kill whomever they deem a threat without answering to any higher authority?”

“If I have to choose between Mitch and those menstruating partisan hacks on Capitol Hill, I’ll put my money on Mitch.”

Adams, his fists clenched, stood and demanded, “Do you know why they hate us?”


“The terrorists? Who do you think? They hate us because of men like you and my father and Rapp and Nash and rest of you knuckle-dragging goons.”

“Those goons,” Hurley said in a quiet angry voice, “have done more to protect this country than the entire House and Senate put together, and they’ve done it without an ounce of recognition or thanks from all the intellectually arrogant fucks like you.” Hurley stepped back and swung his cane around, smacking Adams in the elbow.

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