DEATH IN THE FACULTY ROOM-CHAPTER XXX

When Baumgartner said that he wanted to see my, I was assuming that I would be going into Philly to the FBI office there. That is not at all what he meant. I was to meet him at the Philadelphia Airport at 7:00 p.m. and that we would be going to Washington D.C. I asked him if I should bring along the files. He said buy a suitcase and put all of the stuff in it and we will take it along with us. He reminded me that I would be staying over and coming back the following evening.
Daphne and I talked about what was happening. She and I pretty much agreed that my future was not in teaching, but with the FBI. We would probably have to move someplace (that’s the travail of and FBI agent) after all of this was over. I did get to the airport at around seven. Daphne drove me there with Dougie in the car seat draped over the front seat (as it was then). I met Baumgartner at the gate. During the flight I told him a bit more of what I found and he said that I will be even more surprised when the cryptologists make their report tomorrow.
We stayed at a pretty fancy hotel, the Hilton, in Washington D.C. It had an indoor pool, which I made use of. I was nervous as all hell and no one could calm me down. I needed to get so tired that I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. That’s what happened.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and took a cab over the Hoover Building. We had to show our credentials, as Baumgartner had mine, I showed nothing. We went to an elevator that stopped at the top floor. We got out and we were in a medium sized conference room. It had been set up with a screen and some sort of projector. We sat down and waited a few moments. The doors open on the side and in walked J.Edgar Hoover and his Assistant Clyde Colson. I could not believe what I was seeing. We both got up and shook hands with them both. It was beyond any dream that I might have concocted.
Despite all of the things that came out after 1972, that moment will forever be emblazoned on my mind. He was the epitome of power, self-assurance and knowledge. Somehow, he already knew the entire story of what was going on at Fleming Elementary School and the Atherhold School District. What could possibly be this important to bring out the Director of the FBI to this meeting? Hoover motioned to someone to start the presentation.
A very thin bespectacled gentleman began with the recording taken from Fleming a number of months ago. He then flashed the letters and numbers on the screen and began explaining how this was a very old replacement code that required some memory and a clear mind to understand. He had listened to the phone call for hours and it appeared that the call was meant to trigger something in the minds of the people who listened. He thought that the listeners had been prepared for these numbers and letters with some sort of post hypnotic suggestion. However, this was not a Manchurian Candidate type of suggestion, but just an alphanumeric way of telling the listener where they were to go, when they had to be there and what it was they were to perform. These listeners had to be cooperative and self-motivated to do the things that they were told to do.
In this case, it was to steal documents from the Department of Defense. The dates had already passed and an investigation of the documents domicile showed that they were indeed missing. Further, no one seemed to know that they were missing until the FBI intervened. That was the most difficult part to understand. How was it that this could occur with no one noticing?
I was so impressed with the presentation that I brought out the briefcase that I had with me and showed the assemblage some of the older files from the central office of the Atherhold School District. The thin man looked at a few of them and said that they were in the same code and that he would have to look at them for a while to see what they said.
Director Hoover looked around the room and asked this question. “Is it possible that we have had among us and organization so strong and so deliberate that it could get any information that it wanted?” I thought for a while and realized the import of the question. How long has this been going on? Who did these people work for, or were they some sort of private company that did things on request for a fee?
Hoover answered the unasked question. “Atherhold School District has evidently been the home of a most notorious industry- information purveyors and murderers.” The thin man who made the presentation interrupted. “Sir, the file that I have just looked at is from 1898 and has reference to the Battleship Maine. I would have to have some time to get the entire message encoded, but it seems to me that the order had something to do with the initiation of the Spanish-American War.”

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