Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda

By Philip Mudd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
A RETURN TO LANGLEY

IHAD NO job when I returned to Washington after Christmas, and the flurry of activity the previous months had kept me largely insulated from the changes the Agency had recently undergone. Aside from working on transportation for the Dobbins team and speaking to a few of the people managing the CIA fight in Afghanistan, I hadn’t stayed in any sort of contact with the building. The shift of focus, personnel, and resources to the counterterrorism mission was substantial, and the Agency was already a different place, as I quickly found. I first heard of where I might be headed in the days after my return from the Karzai inauguration while staying at my brother’s house north of New York City and taking in the quiet after the mayhem of Kabul. From raw Kabul to freezing Westchester County, enjoying life in a tiny village with a traditional Italian deli next door and an old Protestant church across the street. Even after short trips, it was always good to get home to simple pleasures—Italian subs, breath freezing on early morning runs on dirt roads by old mansions, and the sense of freedom from fear and insecurity that goes from transitioning to America from a warzone. Not to mention a regular sleep schedule and a large golden retriever to wake me up every morning.

My old boss and mentor, Winston Wiley, knew me from days before 9/11 when we had both worked in what had been a much smaller Counterterrorist Center. He had risen quickly, becoming second-in-charge of analysis at the Agency, where I served as his special assistant. He had then moved up to take

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