Adelaide Books of New York published my most recent novel, Secretocracy, at the end of March 2020. As reported earlier in this blog, it is, like all my stories and novels, fiction in name only. It’s based on something that really happened when I was on assignment at the intelligence budget staff under the Director, CIA (the staff is now subordinate to the Director of National Intelligence [DNI]). The administration then in power was pushing a highly classified program that violated U.S. law and treaties with other nations. I refused to approve the program and was severely punished. Only when a new administration took power after the next election was I exonerated.
Because President Trump has attacked the intelligence community repeatedly and withdrawn security clearances and even fired intelligence officers for reporting verified intelligence that falsified presidential claims, I set the story during the Trump administration. The book opens with the following: “So it had come to this. August 2018. Trump in the White House, and Gene Westmoreland out on his ass.”
Westmoreland, an intelligence budgeteer, won’t approve a program with the codename FIREFANG designed to establish clandestine nuclear missile sites all over the world. He establishes that the program is illegal and violates treaties. Trump strips him of his clearances and banishes him to a warehouse in the slums with no work to do. The administration harasses him so that he will resign because if the president fires him without cause, he can sue. Gene refuses to quit.
Meanwhile, Gene’s private life is in disarray. His estranged wife refuses to cooperate on a divorce, a woman he had an affair with won’t let him go, and he is penniless. His government pay won’t cover the cost of maintaining the household he has left and his current living expenses. He shares a joint house in Washington with other unattached men. He lives in the attic of the house, an old mansion owned by a man who can only afford to keep it by renting out rooms.