Family in Crisis – Chapter 4

Goodbye Galisha

Zaid found it difficult to sleep that evening and wondered how he’d be able to cope with his research at the university next day. FBI agents had told him it was probable his return to Jordon would have to be delayed as they needed him to give recorded evidence at their headquarters.

The stranger had been whisked away in handcuffs for interrogation but refused to cooperate. However, the FBI had enough evidence from the search to identify his hotel and did a thorough investigation of his room gathering further evidence. Recordings made by them through Zaid were very informative and, in the event, legal defense claimed recordings had been tampered with they had the same conversations on the recording made by this man to counteract that argument.

They found two passports and credit and other cards with various names. They had to establish who this man really was so shared what they had a photo and fingerprints taken at FBI headquarters with Interpol and had to wait for a search of their data base to find out who this man was.

In that this had international implications the CIA was alerted and joined interrogations. It was mutually agreed the CIA needed to be in the driver seat on this when they all realized they had a file on illegal weapons and technology transfers and had operatives in the field watching possible enemy operatives involved in this international trade of US weapons. This case could narrow down their investigation.

 Minor members of the syndicate had been arrested in various countries over the years, but they were still trying to identify those who controlled the operation and crack open coded messages sent through the dark web to facilitate transactions such as acquisition and deliveries. Those arrested were content to serve time and had the sharpest of legal minds at their disposal. They’d be well rewarded after serving jail time if they kept their mouth shut.

There was tight government security control over war equipment manufacturers in the US, but somehow American high-tech armaments and technology were finding their way uncontrolled into the hands of terrorists to be used against US troops around the world. The locked phones could be a key to finding a solution but this stranger with fake identities refused to cooperate, so the phones were with the CIA labs looking for ways to break the entry code. The solution was simpler than they anticipated and involved fingerprint sign in with face recognition simultaneously. Interrogators had to forcibly restrain the spy in order to get this information to open phones, but they were in and soon at work sorting through the data base to try and interpret whatever was found there.

Zaid presented himself to the university for further research next day and found the interchange of ideas continuing to be helpful. He made copious notes thinking through how some of Houston’s cutting-edge research and teaching methods could be applied in his own field of studies in Aman. It was proving to be a profitable trip and he was sorry it wouldn’t be possible to visit other universities to view their research and methods too. He was on the alert for a call to FBI headquarters to make statements on his experience with this stranger whose bona fides were yet to be established.

Mid-afternoon two men arrived at the university looking for him. They showed their identification and requested he come with them to record his statement. They were from the CIA and were very polite until they reached headquarters. Then once inside the interview room they became aggressive. They questioned him about his family, the friends he grew up with in Cairo and his contacts in Jordon. The questions came in rapid fire order and his answers were checked against documents they constantly referred to on the table in front of them. Finally, they relaxed. The tapes had indicated Zaid had no knowledge of this family secret business, but they needed to make sure as he could be one of the keys to solving their illegal weapons trade investigations if he was knowledgeable of family business.  He realized that from that day forward he’d be under surveillance from yet another source and feared for the job he loved at the university in Aman. Would he be considered a political risk? Life had treated him very unkindly indeed.

Back at the hotel he sat in thought. The Haddad’s had suffered unnecessarily from their association with him through Galisha. Much as he loved this woman, he’d have to withdraw his affection and move on. In that he’d most likely be a person of interest to the US government from now on there’d be little chance he’d ever be granted a visa to visit again and certainly have an application for a green card refused. Just by being a member of the Gamal family he’d be on the watch list wherever he lived. He sighed and reached for his phone knowing his phone calls would still be monitored by the FBI. He punched in Galisha’s phone number and after a brief delay he heard her voice answer.

He wept briefly then spoke. “Galisha I’m phoning to assure you there’ll be no further harassment of your family by those who’ve been doing that. Their names are probably in the hands of US authorities now and their danger to your family is neutralized. However, there are complications that make it necessary for me to disassociate from your family so you will continue to enjoy your future in the US unhindered. My love for you is genuine but this will be my last contact with you. I wish you a bright future and know you will find someone who loves you as much as I do and will provide you happiness and a fulfilling life. Goodbye my dear.” He discontinued the line before she could respond. His cell phone rang constantly after that, but he didn’t pick up the phone.

Next day he went to thank the university for their hospitality and useful information and headed for the airport to work out a rerouted trip back to Aman. He was nervous as he approached immigration for final processing in the US half expecting he’d be detained. He glanced at the numerous messages from Galisha before deleting them from his phone. He’d get a new sim card for his phone when he reached Aman as the present phone likely was still being monitored. However, there was no attempt to detain him, and he breathed a sigh of relief as they cleared US air space and were on the way home. He slept through most of the journey home unaware that two seats back diagonally on the other side of the aisle a plain clothes intelligence operative watched him through the return journey.

Arriving back in Aman he cleared immigration and customs and headed for his bachelor pad. Tomorrow he’d arrange for a new sim card. It was good to be back in familiar circumstances and he headed for his favorite restaurant after unpacking then picked up groceries and household supplies before returning to his room. The rest of the afternoon was spent writing a report which he read and reread several times and when finally satisfied with the report he printed out copies to be shared with his department head and when approved the university president. Then he treated himself to another good Jordanian meal at a restaurant in the evening. He’d missed the food he was used to during his trip to the US. He returned home beginning to feel effects of jet lag again. It had been a new experience for him feeling jet lag on his trip to the US and now he had the same tiredness on the return journey. But he needed to check in with his department head so reached for his cell phone and punched in the number and spoke as it was answered.

“Sir I’m back home and anxious to present my report to you. It was a very profitable journey and I’m sure you’ll want to make some suggestions before its edited according to your wishes to present to the President. When can I get an appointment with you?”

There was excitement in the voice responding. “Well, you have no teaching responsibilities tomorrow as you’ve returned earlier than expected. How about 9am in my office? You’ve been keeping me informed of your daily visits to Houston University and it sounds like it was a profitable journey for us all. See you tomorrow then and welcome home.”

Zaid breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently there hadn’t been any negative reports about him after the fiasco with the unwelcome stranger and trips to the FBI and CIA in America. Maybe his life could get on track again after all. but it would be an unhappy immediate future without the hope of wedding his true love Galisha.

Next morning at 9am he waited outside the department head’s office. The secretary exited her boss’s office with her schedule of jobs for the day and smiled in welcome waving him to go inside.  His mentor stood to welcome him home and nodded in delight as he was handed the report. He read it carefully and now and then asked for clarification on the paragraph he was reading. He reread it again then turned to Zaid with a smile of appreciation.

“Very comprehensive Zaid. It’s obvious you’ve put a lot of thought into this and I can’t think of anything to suggest before we present this jointly to the President so now it’s a matter of us spending the next hour formulating an action plan to present along with the report. It’s apparent some of the potential changes to our own program could have cost implication, so we need to work up costing estimates with our accounting administration office.  I’ll phone them you are coming with my permission and have them work on that for us. We need to know if there are internal funds to cover increased projected costs and if not, we need to approach traditional donors and sell them on the need for these changes and request funding from them. But first, the President has told me there have been inquiries about you with our government from the US government. What’s that all about?”

Zaid shook his head sadly. Was there to no end to this! He hated his family for their probable criminal activities and the way it was affecting his life. He related the story as it had unfolded on his trip to the US, his experience in being interrogated by the CIA and its impact on his hopes for a life with Galisha in marriage. He finished his story with plea the university not hold him accountable for the trouble his family in Cairo had caused and assured he was trustworthy and committed to life in Jordon as a reliable citizen. His mentor listened with amazement and sat silent for a few minutes.

“I know you Zaid and will always vouch for your good character. We need to repeat this story to the President who will no doubt be curious about the government’s inquiry about you. Obviously, if the US government allowed you to leave the country, they have nothing further to be concerned about so put the unfortunate experience behind you. I’m very sorry about the impact this has had on your hope to make Galisha your wife. Never mind, I have some young, educated women from respectable families in mind for you and we can talk about that later. First let’s process this report. I’m phoning accounting so go over there now and begin working on costing and potential funding sources.

To be continued.

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© Copyright 2022 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved

12 thoughts on “Family in Crisis – Chapter 4

  1. Poor Zaid it is just not fair when family members crimes cause issues with those that are innocent. What else is going to happen to him. I hope nothing but good things happen from here on out and he finds love and happiness. This is a great story and every chapter has been captivating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At times I felt I was reading part of “Murder She Wrote,” this plot has intensified even tho the US seemed to be satisfied, I have a feeling in my bones that there are more surprises in store for us, the readers! – waiting for the next chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

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