For two years or so Carter labored to build a technical infrastructure that would do what the President had envisioned. The technology was easy enough, but the bureaucracy was a far less manageable foe. The various agencies did not trust each other, and worse, they wanted to hoard the information they had to make themselves look good.
Despite the fact that no one ever released information to share, he too was trapped in a bureaucracy and he kept building a huge technological hose through which this nonexistent information could flow. One day, out of sheer boredom and frustration, figuring he could justify it as a "test", he hacked into the CIA database.
Ten minutes later two heavily armed men showed up at his door and asked him -- well told him -- to come with them. He figured he was on the way to the stockade, or the brig, or whatever they called it in Washington. Instead he found himself being lead through a series of tunnels under Washington until he wound up in an office, just off the Oval Office, staring at the President.
This was the President’s working office; the Oval Office was purely ceremonial. The President was in shirt sleeves and was wearing reading glasses. He looked up at Carter from his work and said, "I've been waiting for someone in this town who cared more about the job than the rules and the politics. Are you my guy?"
Reflexively, he answered, "Sir, yes, Sir," and started to snap a salute. Some training never left a military man, but as his hand came up he realized that there was more to this situation than met the eye and he stopped. He and the President were quiet and looked each other directly in the eyes. That fire in his belly turned into a raging inferno.
"Mr. President, if I get to do something to really win this war on terror other than spin the wheels of bureaucracy, then yes, I’m your man."
The President got up, walked over to Carter and shook his hand, "You’re my new terror buster then."
And that was how David Carter got his current job. It seemed the President knew all along that the agencies would never cooperate. Carter’s resume had landed on his desk not long after 9-11 as someone with the skills to do the kind of human intelligence that was going to be needed. But when the President saw his technical capabilities, he had a whole new idea.
Carter spied on the spies. The President had had Carter building his "infrastructure" because he knew it could be used to see what was going on in all the agencies. Carter had been building what he needed for his new job; the President was just waiting to see if Carter could do what was necessary.
Sitting in his non-descript office in the Executive Office building, Carter could see everything every intelligence agency in the western world was doing. Further, he could use this massive computer system to plant information from one agency to another without either agency knowing what had happened. While not as efficient as actually working together, it was extremely helpful.
Today began like every other day. Carter started scanning, noting anything that caught his eye. In some cases he would attach a bit of code to something so that further developments would be routed to him automatically. Most notable in today’s scan was something from an NSA satellite that showed higher than normal radiation levels near a Gulf Coast port. It could have been anything, but in the age of nuclear terrorism, one leaves no stone unturned.
Carter hacked into the Department Of Energy’s system. They maintained Nuclear Emergency Search Teams (NEST) throughout the nation. Their mission: to search out, and where necessary, defuse or, as safely as possible, destroy nuclear material or weapons. Like any military or quasi-military unit they maintained a training schedule. This day, the New Orleans team came to work to find the schedule changed. They were going to practice mobilization and detection sweeps at the port Carter was concerned about – Mobile. He left a Trojan horse that would download to their portable equipment and notify him immediately if they found anything.
Then like any other day Carter began to prepare his brief for the President. He did not include the radiation reading in his report. He still thought it could have been anything.