From the book
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
Mike Nash glanced anxiously at his watch and then eyed the twin flat-screen monitors. Both prisoners were sleeping soundly. If all went according to plan, their slumber wouldn't last much longer. The prisoners had been picked up seven days earlier on a routine patrol. At the time, the young GI's had no idea whom they had stumbled upon. That revelation came later, and by accident. Thebrass at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan quickly separated the two men from the other 396 enemy combatants and alerted Washington.
Nash was one of the first people called. The secure phone began ringing at 2:23 in the morning the previous Sunday. The watch officer at the National Counterterrorism Center gave him the news. Nash thanked him, hung up, and contemplated whether or not he should get out of bed and head in to the office. Catching a couple of highvalue targets was exciting, but Nash knew from experience that people would be tripping over each other trying to take credit. Having just returned from London, he needed the sleep a hell of a lot more than he needed recognition.
Less than a minute later the phone started up again. This time it was his boss's boss, Irene Kennedy, the director of the CIA. Nash listened without comment for a good twenty seconds and then replied, "I'm on it." With that, he kissed his wife, got out of bed, threw on some comfortable travel clothes, checked on each of his four kids, grabbed his gobag, which was always packed, left a brief note by the coffeepot, and was out the door. Given his job, it was all too likely that his family would not be surprised by Nash's absence when they awoke.
Twenty minutes later he arrived at the private airstrip and climbed aboard a fully prepped Gulfstream V. As soon as they were airborne, Nash's thoughts turned to the two prisoners. He didn't need to look at their files. He'd already memorized them. He had been building them for years, each time a new piece of intelligence came in. That was one of Mike Nash's gifts. It didn't matter if it was baseball stats or the details on the who's who of terrorists around the world. If he read it, he could recall it. Nash began to construct his line of questioning. With as much instinct as logic, he laid his traps and anticipated their lies. It would likely take weeks to completely break them, but they would talk. They always did.
Somewhere over the eastern Atlantic he received his first secure message that there was a problem. As the plane raced along at 47,000 feet the drama unfolded via a painful exchange of updates from Langley. Three senators, who had been at the base on a fact-finding mission, had caught wind of the two new detainees and requested to see them. The base commander, through either sheer stupidity or a calculated desire to please those who could advance his career, relented and let the senators sit down with the high-ranking prisoners.
If Nash had been forced to compile a list of the three politicians he most despised, two of these "Fact-Finders" would have been on it, and the third would have made honorable mention. As chairmen of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, they were a powerful group. They also happened to despise the CIA. After their one-hour meeting with the prisoners, the three senators told the base commander in very stark terms that his ass was on the line. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee went one step further and told him if the Geneva Conventions weren't followed to the letter she would haul him before her committee and make him answer...