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Authors: Joseph Finder

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Extraordinary Powers

BOOK: Extraordinary Powers
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Extraordinary Powers by Joseph Finder


“EXTRAORDINARY POWERS marries an absorbing espionage thriller to a unique concept: the use of telepathic powers to help negotiate the shadow world of spies. It is a measure of Finder’s skill that the result is both gripping and plausible.” —richard north patterson

By Joseph Finder:




^Published by Ballantine Books

extraordinary powers

Joseph Finder


Sale of this book without a front cover may be unauthorized. If this book is coverless, it may have been reported to the publisher as “unsold or destroyed” and neither the author nor the publisher may have received payment for it.

Copyright 1993 by Joseph Finder

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc.” New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters and incidents are products of the author’s imagination. Certain incidental references are made to well-known corporations and institutions, but without any intention of describing actual events or conduct.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 93-22127

ISBN 0-345-39436-4

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Hardcover Edition: February 1994 First Mass Market Edition: May


10 9 8 7 6 5


To Michele and to Emma


I am grateful for the kind assistance of Richard Davies and Samuel Etris of the Gold Institute; Gerald H. Kiel and Bill Sapone of McAulay Fisher Nissen Goldberg & Kiel; Ed Gates of Wolf Greenfield & Sacks; Dr. Leonard Atkins and Dr. Jonathan Finder; and, in Paris, Jean Rosenthal and my friends at the Paris Metro system.

Also, Peter Dowd and Jay Gemma of Peter G. Dowd Firearms, Elisabeth Sinnott, Paul Joyal, Jack Stein, Pat Cooper, Martha Shenton, and my great friends Brace Donald and Joe Teig. The brilliant Jack McGeorge of the Public Safety Group was, as usual, both an invaluable source and enormously generous with his time.

My thanks, too, to Peter Gethers, Clare Ferraro, and Linda Grey at Ballantine, and the terrific Danny Baror of Henry Morrison, Inc. Thanks, as well, to my friends and sources in the intelligence community, who’ve come to learn the meaning of that ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Henry Morrison was, as ever, not just a marvelous agent and reader but a valued editor and brain stormer as well. I continue to be awed by, and indebted to, my brother Henry Finder, brilliant editor and indispensable counsel. And to my wife, Michele Souda—editor, adviser, and literary critic, who was there from the start—my thanks and love always.

The weapons of secrecy have no place in an ideal world. But we live in a world of undeclared hostilities in which such weapons are constantly used against us and could, unless countered, leave us unprepared again, this time for an onslaught of magnitude that staggers the imagination. And while it may seem unnecessary to stress so obvious a point, the weapons of secrecy are rendered ineffective if we remove the secrecy.

—Sir William Stephenson, in A Man Called Intrepid

Former KGB agent seeks employment in similar field. Tel: Paris



—classified advertisement in the International Herald Tribune,

January 1992

Extraordinary Powers:

Espionage tradecraft jargon utilized in certain former Warsaw Pact intelligence services. Refers to the permission granted a highly trusted clandestine officer, in extremely rare circumstances, to violate his employer’s standing orders if need be in order to accomplish a mission of vital importance.


The events of last September and October that so shook the world will, of course, never be forgotten. But few if any details of what happened during those extraordinary weeks have been revealed to the public.

Until now.

Several months ago, on November 8, I received at my home in Manhattan a package delivered via Federal Express. The package, weighing 9.3 pounds, contained a manuscript, part typewritten and part handwritten. Subsequent investigation failed to determine who had sent it. The Federal Express company was able to ascertain only that the sender’s name on the bill was false (the point of origin was Boulder, Colorado) and that it had been paid in cash.

Three independent handwriting analysts, however, were able to confirm something I already knew—the handwriting was that of Benjamin Ellison, a former operative for the Central Intelligence Agency and later an attorney with a prominent law firm in Boston, Massachusetts. Ellison had presumably made arrangements for this manuscript to be sent in the event of his death.

Although I was hardly a close friend of Ben Ellison’s, we were roommates for one semester as Harvard undergraduates. He was a good-looking fellow, of medium height and trim build, with thick dark brown hair and brown eyes. I remember him as being easygoing, quite likable, and possessed of an infectious laugh. I had met his wife, Molly, a few times and liked her quite a bit. When Molly’s father, the late Harrison Sinclair, was Director of Central Intelligence, I interviewed him on several instances; but that is the extent of my acquaintance with Sinclair.

As & very good series of investigative articles in The New York Times documented recently, there is little doubt that Ben and Molly’s disappearance in the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, a week after the events recorded in this manuscript, was suspicious at best. A number of reliable intelligence sources have confirmed for me in off-the-record interviews what the Times articles speculate—that Ben and Molly were probably murdered, likely by agents connected with the Central Intelligence Agency, because of the knowledge they possessed. Until their bodies are located, however, we cannot know the truth.

But why me? Why would Ben Ellison have chosen to send his manuscript to me? Perhaps it was because of my reputation as a reasonably fair-minded (or at least I like to think so) writer about foreign affairs and intelligence. Perhaps it was the success of my most recent book, The Demise of the CIA, which originated as an expose I did for The New Yorker.

But most likely, I think, it was because Ben knew me and trusted me: he knew I would never turn his manuscript over to the CLA or any other government agency. (I doubt Ben ever anticipated the numerous death threats I have received over4 he phone and in the mail in recent months, the subtle and not-so subtle campaign of intimidation by my contacts in the intelligence community, and the massive legal effort by the CLA to squelch publication of this book.)

To say the least, Ben’s account at first struck me as shocking, bizarre, even incredible. But when the publishers of this book asked me to verify the authenticity of Ellison’s account, I undertook lengthy interviews with those who knew Ellison in the legal and intelligence communities as well as extensive investigation in several European capitals.

And so L am confident in stating that Ben’s version of these alarming events, astonishing though it may be, is an accurate one. The manuscript I received was obviously written in haste, so I have taken the liberty of editing it for publication and correcting a few largely inconsequential errors. Where necessary, I have interposed newspaper accounts to augment his narrative.

Controversial though this document will no doubt be, it is the first complete story we have of what really happened during that fearsome time, and I am pleased to have had a part in bringing it to the light of day.


CIA Director Is Killed in Automobile Mishap

Harrison Sinclair, 67, Helped Agency Cope with a Post-Cold-War World

Successor Not Yet Named


WASHINGTON, March 2—The Director of Central Intelligence, Harrison H. Sinclair, was killed yesterday when the automobile he was driving plunged into a ravine in rural Virginia, 26 miles from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. He was killed instantly, agency spokesmen say. There were no other victims.

Mr. Sinclair, who had been head of the CIA for less than a year, was one of the agency’s founders in the years after World War II. He leaves a daughter, Martha Hale Sinclair….



The story begins, appropriately enough, at a funeral. The coffin of an old man is being lowered into the ground. The mourners surrounding the grave site are as somber as any funeral-goers, but they are conspicuously well dressed, radiating power and wealth. It is an odd sight: on this gray, drizzling, cold March morning, in a small rural cemetery in Columbia County in upstate New York, you can see United States senators, Supreme Court justices, the various scions of the New York and Washington power establishments, picking up wet clods of soil and flinging them atop the coffin. They are surrounded by black limousines, BMWs, Mercedeses, Jaguars, and the assorted other vehicles of the rich, powerful, and elect. Most of them have come a long distance to pay their respects; the graveyard is miles from anywhere.

I was there, of course, but not because I am famous, great, powerful, or elect. I was at the time merely an attorney in Boston—for Putnam & Steams, a very good firm, and earning a respectable salary—and I felt distinctly out of place among the luminaries.

I was, however, the deceased’s son-in-law.

My wife, Molly—more formally, Martha Hale Sinclair-was the only child of Harrison Sinclair, a legend of the American Establishment, an enigma, a master spy. Hal Sinclair had been one of the founders of the Central Intelligence Agency, then a renowned Cold Warrior (a dirty job, but someone had to do it), later a Director of Central Intelligence, brought in to rescue the foundering Agency during its post-Cold War identity crisis.

Like his friend William Casey before him, Sinclair died during his tenure as director. We are all fascinated by the specter of a CIA director dying while in office what secrets, one wonders, did the old spymaster take with him to the grave? And indeed, Hal Sinclair took an extraordinary secret with him when he went. But on the cold, overcast morning of his funeral, neither Molly nor I nor any of the VIPs gathered so mournfully knew it.

Without question, the manner of my father-in-law’s death seemed suspicious. He had perished a week earlier in a car accident in rural Virginia. It was late at night; he had been driving to an emergency meeting at CIA headquarters in Langley, and the car had been run off the road by an unidentified vehicle, then exploded in a ball of flames.

One day before the “accident,” his executive assistant, Sheila Mcadams, had been found murdered in an alley in Georgetown. The Washington police concluded that she’d been the victim of a mugging her purse and jewelry were missing. Molly and I, to be honest, suspected from the start that both her father and Sheila had been murdered, that there was no mugging, and no “accident,” and we were not alone in our suspicions.

The Washington Post, The New York Times, all the television networks, hinted as much in their coverage. But who would have done such a thing? In the bad old days, of course, we would all be quick to blame the KGB or some other dark, mysterious arm of the Evil Empire, but the Soviet Union no longer existed. American intelligence no doubt still had its enemies but who would want to assassinate, if that’s the right word, the director of the CIA? Molly also believed that her father and Sheila had been having an affair, which isn’t quite as scandalous as it seems, since Sheila was single, and Molly’s mother had died some six years before, leaving Sinclair a widower.

Although Hal Sinclair was a remote, even cryptic figure, I had always felt a closeness to him, from the first time Molly introduced us. Molly and I had been friends in college, more like pals she was a freshman when I was a senior and there was unquestionably a spark of attraction between us, but each of us was involved with another. I was seeing Laura, whom I married immediately after college. Molly was involved with some lunk she tired of after a year or so. But Hal Sinclair took to me, and recruited me to the Agency upon my graduation from Harvard, nudging me toward the clandestine service, apparently figuring me for a better spy than I turned out to be. As it happened, this line of work tapped into a dark and violent side that made me a superb it reckless operative—much feared, including by myself.

So for two very tense years before I entered Harvard Law, I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as a clandestine operative. I did quite well at it too—until the tragedy in Paris. That was when I quit the Agency and went into the law, not regretting the decision for a moment It wasn’t until I returned from Paris a widower, after the incident I still find hard to speak of, that Molly and I began to see each other seriously. Molly, the daughter of the man who was soon to become the Director of Central Intelligence, applauded my decision to leave the espionage business behind me. She had seen firsthand, after all, what it could do to a family, the strains it had put upon her own family, and she wanted no part of it Even after Hal Sinclair became my father-in-law, I saw little of him, and never got to know him well. We saw each other only at the occasional family gathering (he was the quintessential workaholic, a committed Company man), where he seemed to regard me with a certain warmth.

BOOK: Extraordinary Powers
9.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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