Still trying to close up this story, I think I figured out a way to do it, but doesn't look good for Joan/Arthur. I think Arthur is going to die by the end of season 5 based on Peter Gallagher taking a new gig. Really hope there is a new season.

Chapter 14: Secrets

Roger's contact at the Russian Embassy did manage to get Roger the intel on Borz Altan. Roger realized like Annie did that morning at Ryan's that there was validity in his paranoia, he was being followed, so he had the real intel stashed elsewhere and knew the ramifications of his findings. He was in danger from more than just one party. Roger's spycraft was still sharp despite the mental illness that debilitated other parts of his brain, he acted as a decoy to mislead those following him and it worked for a brief time. He was killed by Allan Langer who was working for Caitlyn and Belenko, but no one suspected that he got his hands on intel from the Russian Embassy. Turns out Annie's faith in Roger and McQuaid's 100,000 yielded results. Auggie was going to make sure the agency knew about their efforts. Both Annie and McQuaid needed all extra props they could get right now.

Auggie decoded a message hidden in the book that Roger left for Annie. The message helped the CIA locate Bennett's intel. Auggie sent an agent to retrieve Roger's original briefcase and combed over the intel. Auggie was physically and emotionally exhausted after he analyzed the information. He couldn't believe what he had uncovered. He had been worried for Annie, but now he was also worried for Joan. Auggie went straight to Joan with the intel.

"I need to see Joan"

"She's on the phone now, I'll see if she is available once she gets off and I"ll give you a call," says Joan's assistant.

"I'll wait here, this is critical to a current op, so I appreciate getting put on the top of her list," says Auggie.

Auggie has a lot of questions and isn't sure how to break the news to Joan, he spent the time he was waiting rehearsing his approach. Joan was in a great place now. She and Arthur were happy, she was a new mom, her career was stalled a bit, but this news if used by her detractors could tank her career.

After five minutes pass, Joan opens the door and invites Auggie in. "What have you found?"

"There's no easy way to give you the intel, I'll let the files speak for themselves." He held out the files to Joan and she took him from him.

If Auggie could see, he would have seen Joan's face turn ashen. She fell into her chair making a louder noise than expected. "Sorry, I should have prefaced that by telling you to have a seat."

Auggie only heard the sound of Joan's breathing, she is in shock and trying to make sense of the intel and how it relates to the recent events.

"If this is true, if the catalyst for all of this is the CIA's involvement in the conflict in the Balkans, the goal is to target the CIA operatives and higher ups who ran the missions from the ground and from D.C."

Auggie responds, "Joan, I know the CIA has done many questionable things in the name of freedom, democracy, the greater good, but did we really do what the files claim? Did we fabricate war crimes to incite fear and conflict for the sake of oil and access to the region?"

"There weren't entirely fabrications, the war crimes existed over the entire span of time the region was warring, but we might have exaggerated them and assigned more blame to one side than another. But the crimes did occur, mass executions, ethnic cleansing, genocide, rape, all sides during the conflict in the Balkans committed terrible and unspeakable deeds."

"Yes and we used them to our advantage, you were right in the middle of it Joan, you taught them, trained them, ran the op. Then participated in a media campaign to pin crimes on Serbian generals when all parties participated in horrendous acts. How is it Americans have freedom of press and we go into another nation and control their press and news outlets to incite hatred and spread rumors?"

"The CIA took advantage of a volatile period in the region's history, yes, it's true. The region was already unstable. The Yugoslavia of the time needed to be disbanded, they were about to implode and we needed to make sure the NATO countries came out as the major influence in the region and not Russia. I am not justifying or condoning it, but it provided for a safer and more stable Eastern Europe."

"Yeah that and wealth of resources for us along with a strategic military base. God damn it. Joan we ignored the crimes of one side while publicizing the crimes of the other. Now do you really think that wouldn't come back to bite us in the ass?"

"It was a very different era Auggie, you can't judge it through the lens of today. We were on the heels of the end of the cold war, but old feelings and ways of operating couldn't just dissolve overnight. I followed orders. At the time, I didn't know how my small piece of the plan impacted the bigger picture."

"Can you honestly say everything you did and saw in Iraq was black and white?" asks Joan.

"Joan, is there any more to this? Some of the stuff in the file is from over twenty years ago. Why choose to target the CIA now?"

"Honestly, Auggie I don't know other than where revenge is the goal, people have long memories."

"How did Belenko who is an Georgian Orthodox Christian with sympathies to the Serbians hook up with the Altans from the Ukraine?"

"It wasn't and isn't so black and white. All the states in Yugoslavia had shared histories and religion was just one factor. Many times the Orthodox Christians, Catholics and Muslims worked alongside each other to fight oppression of central government. Muslims had shared descendants with Serbian Orthodox Christians. Belenko could be related to the Altans by bloodlines or by history despite their different religions."

"We need to ascertain the connection to a wealthy Saudi like Ansari too"

"Find me a clear connection. Was Belenko ever living in any of the states of former Yugoslavia? Who were his parents, his grandparents, any wife, lovers, children? Did he travel to Saudi?"

"I'm on it already Joan. And you probably know that Annie is following it down in her own way. She didn't take the phone I gave her with a tracking device, I have no idea her location and can't get this intel to her, but she needs to be read in. She's walking into something dangerous, you know her Joan. I say we loop in Arthur because she's still working as a McQuaid employee and he just might know how to reach her."

Joan nodded as Auggie left.

When she was alone she thought about Auggie's question. "Is there any more to this?" There was a whole lot more. Joan was always guarded around Annie yet concerned and with good reason. She had treated Annie like a disobedient child at times only in an attempt to save her from the mistakes she had made in her younger years. Annie always reminded her of herself, an operative with great instincts, drive to get the mission done at all costs even at personal risk, and one who wasn't afraid to disobey orders for the greater mission at hand. But Annie's greatest downfall was her tendency to get emotionally attached to her assets and to her missions. Joan was so emotionally detached now because she had learned from her mistakes. Keeping those mistakes a secret was not going to be easy.