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

Award-winning investigative journalist Lara Logan told Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday that a network of radical extremist terrorist organizations, which includes Antifa, are coordinating and escalating many of the violent riots in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Lara, who has done extensive reporting on Antifa, said it's "extraordinary" that so many Americans in the media and politics are defending the "very violent terrorist organization."

"[The media is] pretending that they care about journalism. They don't. They care about silencing, intimidating, destroying, annihilating, and getting us all to self-sensor so we don't cover any of the subjects they don't want us talking about," she said.

"For those of us who've followed [Antifa] for a while, and know what they're doing and what their agenda is, what has always been troubling is the way so many people in the media and in the political establishment have given them cover to operate," Laura added. "These are extremists. And you see a lot of parallels between extremists on the left and the right ... they pretty much operate the same way, exactly. And there's no difference between what Antifa is doing and the 'Brown Shirts' of Nazi Germany. Or the 'Black Shirts' of Mussolini."

She read the 10 points of action listed by an extremist group called the "Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement", which culminates with "Liberation begins where America dies."

Glenn recalled a prediction he made approximately 15 years ago, that "socialist, communists, radicals, anarchists, [and] Islamists would all work together ... they would all see the opportunity and work toward the same goal. And that's destruction of capitalism, and destruction of the Western world."

"A few years ago, I probably would not have agreed with you on that," Laura responded. "But I now see that you're absolutely correct."

Watch the video below to hear Lara detail evidence to expose the truth about Antifa:

Media targets Lara Logan for exposing the truth about Antifa

The media pretends to care about good journalism, but what they really care about silencing, intimidating, destroying, annihilating and getting us all to...


Use code GLENN to save $10 off one year of your subscription.

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The Trump-deranged media is calling the president a "coward" because he was moved to an underground bunker as riots erupted outside the White House over the weekend.

Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino joined the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday to set the record straight. He told Glenn that under Title 18, US Code 3056, the Secret Service has the authority to protect the president however they deem necessary, with or without his consent.

Dan explained that the severity of the White House riots, which resulted in at least 50 Secret Service agents being injured, would very likely have warranted overriding the president's preference on whether or not to take shelter.

"Shame on the media ... for painting this as some kind of situation where Trump ran like a coward," Dan said. "Which is totally false and made-up. [...] They're morons. These are imbeciles with double digit IQs who are only in this to aggravate an already-bad situation. And it's a shame, because they're really incentivizing this kind of stuff to happen."

He also made it clear that the so-called protests over the death of George Floyd were actually "very strategic" riots organized by "Antifa terrorists."

"It was not even a protest. It should have been, and could have been ... but that's not what it was. It was an insurrection. It was a riot," Dan stated.

"I can tell you, from sources of mine that were there, [who are] more than credible and unimpeachable, that the attack at the White House -- and that's what it was over a period of days -- was very organized. It was done using very strategic tactics," he added. "I want to be crystal clear, this was organized by Antifa terrorists. It's not a joke. It's not hyperbole. These were people that were committed to an insurrection that was thankfully put down."

Watch the video below for more details:

Dan Bongino: Trump is NOT a Coward Hiding in a Bunker


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The media has been trying to discredit BlazeTV's Elijah Schaffer after he recorded a disturbing video of a man being brutally beaten and stoned almost to death by rioters Saturday evening in Dallas.

Elijah joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Monday to set the record straight.

"The very dishonest far-left media is working tirelessly at the moment to completely, not only discredit myself, but they always say, 'Elijah Schaffer who works for Glenn Beck's BlazeTV.' As if that's an insult. So I'm going to clear the air right now," he told Glenn.

"There was a group of about, I would say 150 rioters. They were not protesters. They were breaking windows. They broke into a bank. They broke into a bar. They were looting alcohol and partying on the streets while breaking glass. These were not people who were grieving over black lives," he added. "The police had lost control of the city."

Elijah went on to describe the violent scene, detailing the events leading up to the brutal beating of a man who was apparently trying to defend a local bar. Elijah posted a video of the incident on Twitter Saturday night.

*Warning: graphic content*

"Rioters with rocks and bricks and bats and weapons, 150 or more, were accosting him as he stood in front of the bar," Elijah said. "Then they started stoning him, Glenn! Medieval! Throwing rocks and bricks.... We're in America. This is 2020. We do not stone people in the United States of America!"

Watch the video below for more details:

*Warning: graphic content*

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A new Pew Research Center report shows the death toll in the United States from COVID-19 is "heavily concentrated" in Democratic congressional districts.

According to the analysis, more than half of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. occurred in just 44 (approximately 10 percent of) congressional districts, and 41 of those 44 hardest-hit districts are represented by Democrats, while only three are represented by Republicans.

"A new Pew Research Center analysis of data on official reports of COVID-19 deaths, collected by the John Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, finds that, as of last week, nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus have been in just 12 congressional districts – all located in New York City and represented by Democrats in Congress. Of the more than 92,000 Americans who had died of COVID-19 as of May 20 (the date that the data in this analysis was collected), nearly 75,000 were in Democratic congressional districts," Pew reported.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere argued that, while the coronavirus should never have been made into a partisan issue, the study certainly makes a strong statement in favor of GOP leadership.

Watch the video 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 multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.