7 Days: The Christmas File

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Andrew Klavan’s new novel is The Homelanders: The Long Way Home. He is the author of such bestselling novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Don’t Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas. He is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal and his essays on politics and culture have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. You can visit him at www.AndrewKlavan.com.

Nick pressed hard against the office wall, just inside the door. He gripped the Sig Sauer in one damp hand, holding it high, at the level of his eyes. If Becktel stepped back across that threshold, Nick was going to drive the pistol’s butt into the side of his head. He didn’t much like the idea of assaulting a U.S. Senator—not to mention his father-in-law—but he didn’t see where he had much choice. The danger was too great, the loyalties too shady, the time too short. This could well be his last chance to get the answers.

"Let me look at you, let me look at you," the Senator’s words reached him from the hallway. He could hear his voice quiver as he spoke to the daughter who seemed to have come back from the dead. They were not more than three steps away. "Is it possible? Are you real? Are you alive? My God!"

"Yes," Nick heard Ashleigh answer coolly. "It’s really me. But there’s no time for this. We have to talk—right now."

"Yes…yes…" Nick could hear Becktel trying to overcome his shock and re-gather his wits. The man truly did love his daughter; that much was clear. He really was shocked to see her alive. Whatever else he’d done, Nick thought, he hadn’t been a part of her kidnapping. That was something. "Come in," the Senator said then. "Come into my office."

Nick saw Becktel’s back as he came into the doorway, drawing Ashleigh with him. Nick tensed, lifting the gun a little higher, ready to strike. A bead of sweat ran down the side of his face.

Then Ashleigh said, "No. No. We can’t talk in there. It isn’t safe."

Becktel paused, just inches away from Nick. "Not safe? But no one knows about this office except—"

"There’s no time to argue," Ashleigh said. "You have to trust me now. We can’t talk in your office. Close the door and let’s go."

The Senator hesitated another moment. Nick held his breath. Then Becktel moved out into the hallway with his daughter, closing the office door behind him. "All right," Nick heard him say. "All right."

Nick heard their footsteps fading down the marbled hallway. He breathed for the first time in what seemed like hours.

He shoved the gun into his belt and moved from the door. He went around the mahogany desk. There was the senator’s laptop case on the floor. He opened it swiftly, brought out the computer, set it on the desk and turned it on.

Still dazed, Becktel followed his daughter down the short hall to a small white doorway. She stepped through and he followed.

Now they were in a narrow well at the top of a spiral staircase. The stairs spun down to another hall that eventually led to the Senate floor itself. Ashleigh stopped on the landing and turned to him.

"This is good," she said. "No one will hear us here."

It seemed strange to the Senator. Less secure than his hideaway. But the look on his daughter’s face was so urgent, he didn’t dare question her. He simply said, "I still can’t get over it: you’re alive."

"I won’t be for long if you don’t tell me the truth," she said.

"The truth…"

"About the Christmas File."

Becktel felt as if a trap door had opened inside him and his heart had fallen through. He began a feeble protest, "The Christmas file? What do you…?"

But Ashleigh plowed on. "Don’t, Daddy. Please. Don’t lie to me. I saw it with my own eyes. I didn’t mean to.

I saw the name—Christmas—and I thought… Well, I thought it was something innocent. I peeked and…there were the pictures…your notes."

Becktel’s mind raced. She had seen the notes too! What a fool he’d been to pour out his feelings like that, leave them there for anyone to see. It was because he had thought it had ended with the fall of the Soviet Union, but now… What lie could he tell her?

What story would possibly make sense?

Of all the stupid ways to get burned! And by his own daughter!

"They’re your parents, aren’t they?" Ashleigh said.

He tried to smile at her. His mind raced. He couldn’t let this stand. He couldn’t let her walk away, knowing what she knew. "Yes," he answered softly. What else could he say? She had read the notes. "They’re my parents."

"Russian, I take it."

Somewhere below them a door opened and closed. Ashleigh looked around nervously. Becktel seized on it. "Look, I’ll tell you everything. But not here, not like this…"

But her beautiful face was set, fierce. "What was the Village? Where do you come from? Who are you? Or maybe I should ask: who are you working for?"

Becktel’s stomach turned. She had almost guessed the whole thing. He stared at her, as if from a distance. Suddenly, he felt very far away, as if his mind belonged to someone else. His eyes flicked over his daughter’s shoulder. Distantly, coolly, he reflected that the spiral stairs were right behind her, a steep twisting fall to a marble floor. If he pushed her… If she stepped back… If she tumbled over the railing… A tragic accident and this problem would be solved.

The Senator stared at his daughter as if in a trance…

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

"Come on, come on," Nick muttered.

He had the USB drive plugged into the Senator’s laptop. The computer’s contents were copying themselves into it. It seemed to be taking forever. Nick glanced at the door. No noise outside. Ashleigh was doing her part well. He turned back to the laptop and watched the names of the files flashing past as they copied.

Then he saw it. One file. One word – there on the monitor for just a second: Christmas.

With another quick glance at the door, Nick called up the file and opened it. Ashleigh had told him what was inside: the photographs of Becktel’s parents; the anguished notes to himself. He knew this wasn’t the time to look at it. Becktel could come back in here any minute. He knew he should finish his copy and run for it.

But he had to look. He had to know.

As the files continued copying onto the drive, he scrolled quickly down through the notes. Quick half sentences, full of anguish.

What will they do to them?

What do they want?

Who is left to contact me now?

Down and down until he reached the final entry.

Nick’s lips parted. He stared at the words on the screen.

Time is running out. I’m caught in the middle. I can’t stall them any longer. Popov wants action. The Brethren want the apocalypse.

Putin wants Little Big Boy.

Nick looked up suddenly. He’d heard something. Out in the hall.

Footsteps…

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

His heart hammering in his chest, his palms sweating, Senator Becktel walked slowly away from the stairwell, back toward his hideaway. He felt as if his daughter’s stare had burned itself into his brain. The accusation in her eyes, the betrayal in her voice. Who are you? Who do you work for?

He opened the door to the outer hallway. He walked down the hall to his office door. He reached into his pocket, brought out a handkerchief and mopped the sweat off his face.

Then he opened the door and stepped inside.

The office was as he’d left it: empty. The White House press release on the desk, his laptop in its case on the floor.

Becktel went behind the desk and sank slowly into his chair. What was he going to do now?

What was he going to do?

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

"For a moment, I thought he was going to kill me," said Ashleigh as Nick rushed to her on the capitol steps. "The look in his eyes… It was as if he had become someone else, someone I never knew. For a moment, I really thought he was going to push me down the stairs. Then… I guess he couldn’t do it. He just turned and walked away."

"He nearly caught me in the office," Nick told her. "I had to get out of there in a big hurry."

"Did you copy the laptop?"

He nodded. He held up the USB drive. "It’s all here." He took hold of her hand and looked for a long moment into her frightened eyes. "There’s not much time. Let’s get back to the hotel."

 





<< Return to the September 2010

New details emerge about Trump raid — and 'it doesn't look good for the FBI'

Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

New, alleged details about the raid of former President Donald Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago hint that it's "not looking good for the FBI," said BlazeTV host Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday.

Trump has faced attacks from every direction, but despite all of it, he has "not been found guilty or had any kind of real, solid evidence against him," Glenn pointed out.

Glenn detailed a long list of investigations, accusations, and lawsuits against Trump, and the latest puzzling revelations about the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago, which only seem to raise even more questions. For example, did agents truly refuse to give Trump's lawyer a copy of the warrant upon arriving at the home? Because sources have alleged that his attorney was kept "10 feet away from the warrant" and was not allowed to actually read it. If that's true, then it was absolutely against the law.

Then there was the inordinate amount of time spent going through Melania Trump's closet. And did they have the proper authority to break into Trump's safe?

"That warrant had better damn well say that they can break into that safe because the law is, you can't go into somebody's house and ... just tear it all apart," Glenn said. "You have to have a pretty good idea of where things might be located, and you ask for permission for those areas. And you have to know exactly what you're looking for, and if it's in a safe, you need to specifically say, 'it's in a safe and we're having a safe cracker come in.' If they didn't say in the warrant that they could crack his safe, it's the fruit of the poisoned tree. By the way, there was nothing in the safe."

Glenn also explained that the FBI broke into a specific "safe room" that contained national archives, which Trump was allegedly told by investigators to keep in a locked room.

"[Trump] made a safe room, and put two locks on it, at their request. And that's what they broke into," Glenn said. "This doesn't look good for the FBI," he added.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from "The Glenn Beck Program." Can't watch? Download the podcast here.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

There’s an economic axis of evil taking shape right now, and the people in charge of our government are too stupid to acknowledge and deal with what’s happening. The U.S. dollar and the entire financial system are at stake, and, as Glenn Beck reveals on "Glenn TV" Wednesday, our enemies’ PUBLISHED plans to take the entire thing down.

While all of this is happening, our own leaders are making everything worse. We’ve got Nancy Pelosi risking an international incident, accelerating China’s plans to collapse us. And when Biden SHOULD be focusing on the security of our country, he’s instead preoccupied with controlling the weather with his Inflation "Reduction" Act.

Glenn exposes the TRUE numbers on what that bill will do to your family’s budget. Add to that, they’re more than doubling the IRS to make sure you feel the pain. And if you think they won’t come for you, look at what they just did to the former president of the United States. The DOJ and FBI just went after the political opponent of their boss, Joe Biden.

This is what they are focused on, and the threat to the dollar — and the entire financial system — isn’t even on their radar. Pain is coming for us, and they don’t care one bit.

Watch the full episode below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Speaking before signing the “PACT Act of 2022” on Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden claimed that his wonderful economic plan "is working" and that somehow July’s annual inflation rate of 8.5% was actually “zero.”

“I just want to say a number: zero. Today we received news that our economy had 0% inflation in the month of July,” Biden said during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dutifully echoed the president's not-at-all misleading claim:

The truth of the matter is that last month's inflation rate of 8.5% was a (small) step in the right direction, but only because it was lower than June's 41-year high of 9.1% — and the thing is, anyone who's graduated kindergarten knows it.

So, who do White House personnel think they're fooling? On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck and producer Stu Burguiere broke down how the Biden administration came to this latest disingenuous conclusion about the economy, what the latest consumer price index actually shows, and why the inevitable Biden brag-fest will be unbearable.

Watch the video clip below. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Glenn Beck: This is the ONLY endgame that makes sense for the FBI’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

(Left) Photo by James Devaney/GC Images (Right) Video screenshot

If you're celebrating this FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, you have no idea how much this changes things. We don't do this in America. At least, we didn't. But the left cannot have Donald Trump be president again. His "America First" platform goes against everything they've been working for. So, what's their endgame here? On the radio program, Glenn Beck said there's really only one endgame that makes sense — and it should scare us all.

"If you are not for the destruction of America, you better pay attention quickly. This is a massive move," Glenn said of the Mar-a-Lago raid.

"Who has credibility on this? ... The right will believe Donald Trump, but nobody on the left, so you're not going to change any minds there. Do you think the right will believe the New York Times? MSNBC? NBC? CBS? Do you think we're going to believe the New York Times — the people who have been carrying water for the Biden crimes? The Clinton crimes? And ... I'm talking about her server and having her own State Department people go into a skiff, which is the top secret room, completely sealed off, going in and getting documents, cutting off 'top secret,' and then emailing them to her on her private server. And nothing? And now you're going to try to convince me [that] this has nothing to do with January 6?" he added.

"Remember the [allegations about] bank servers, [Trump] was pinging a bank? Untrue. Carter Page is a Russian spy? Untrue. Donald Trump is a Russian spy? ... Untrue. Collusion with Russia? Untrue. Ukraine, the perfect phone call? Not true. Not true. Wasn't a perfect phone call. Was not impeachable. The pee tape dossier? None of that was true. Here's why they can't have [Trump] as president of the United States. They can't have him as president of the United States because we are headed towards a completely new, all redesigned, non-capitalist, nonconstitutional Great Reset," Glenn argued. "They cannot have him be president because he is America first."

Glenn warned Americans that our federal government is accumulating massive power, case in point the 87,000 new IRS agents. "Coupled with the [IRS agents] they already have ... that's almost the size of our National Guard. Do you feel comfortable with that? Democrats? You don't think there's a possibility ... that someone ... might come in at some point and weaponize the IRS?"

He also warned that the FBI's raid on Donald Trump’s home has implications that stretch far beyond simple dislike for the former president. So what are they hoping to accomplish?

"What is the endgame? You make him into a martyr by throwing him into jail or killing him ... so you make him stronger. That doesn't make sense, why would they want that?" Glenn asked. "So, what is their endgame? The only one that makes sense to me, is to stop him at any cost, then lunatics will take to the streets, and then [the Democrats] will have evidence that the [right is] more dangerous than anyone could possibly imagine. Please, pray for your country."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn. Can't watch? Download the podcast here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis, and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.