It was not the proverbial 3:00 a.m. phone call, but close enough. And it was not made to the White House, but to my house, which is not white, nor is it in DC. It was about 2:30 a.m. on 25 April 2012, and the call itself was somewhat unexpected. I had anticipated the telephone call from my DHS insider much earlier the previous day, but our schedules didn’t synch up. I was traveling on an investigative assignment, while my source was in meetings all day. I had just fallen asleep, and was slumbering no more than 20 minutes when the phone rang.
In most households, a ringing phone at that time of night causes concern for everyone who hears it. In my household, it seems to surprise only my surly, 140 pound light-sleeping German Shepherd. He let out an objective grunt as I stepped over him to take the call in another room. It was “Rosebud,” the code name given my insider source.
Just a little bit here about my source and his “super-secret code name.” I’ve known this government insider since 1979, when he first became a municipal patrol officer. He took a job in a bigger city and had a very successful run as a cop. Before retirement and after the events of 9/11, he was tapped by the feds, where he worked in various capacities under the umbrella of DHS. He worked his way up, and suddenly found himself in what he terms the inner sanctum of the “TEC” building. TEC, he explains, is an acronym for what he calls “The Estrogen Challenged,” which houses the upper echelon of the Department of Homeland Security. I’ll leave it at that.
As far as his code name, it originates from an incident that occurred at the end of the disco era. It is something that we both privately laugh about, but rarely ever talk about. His “code name” is known to him, me, and at the time, a young woman who has since vanished amid the glitter of disco balls and constant replays of the Bee Gees in a dark nightclub some 32 years ago, and has no “cloak and dagger” origins.
But he is real, his position serious, and his knowledge vast. Unfortunately, that’s what makes the whole situation frightening and deadly serious