I turned again to my FBI contact. I got her some VIP tickets for an Amanda Palmer show (after explaining how this will help her get where she wants to go), and that was enough to get her willing to pay attention during the regular briefings in the office. Letting her make me breakfast once a week, if you follow (“Think of it as practice for that rich husband, and yourself as the next Giada.”), got me the other favors I needed out of her. When she next came over, she had briefings about possible threats in hand; many of these were well-known within the Intelligence community, but not popularly-known at all, which is why I had to spend some time the next day double-checking the references.
Nonetheless, “burned spy” was an apt summary. I had three likely suspects. Two of them were American, both with military backgrounds. One was ex-Army—Special Forces, then CIA, burned with the failed coup against Chavez; turned to the cartels to survive, looking to come in but no one’s biting—and the other two are ex-Marine—Force Recon/Scout Sniper, then DEA, burned when the Sinaloa ties came out; he defected to Los Zetas—and the foreigner is ex-IRA (and said to be a burned MI5 agent). Great, a trio of trained, experienced, and desperate marksmen and knife-wielders with lots of times to syndicate operations of every sort- this is very much “if they catch me, they will kill me” and I don’t want to die.
Unlike my FBI screwtoy, I am very aware of the sort of people backing this play. They want this target dead, and they are not the least bit reluctant to smooth the hitter’s way. Therefore, manipulating the biggest American counter-intelligence agency can only go so far. Furthermore, if I try to flip the flow by trying to plant information on her to push towards her bosses that will probably backfire and bring me unwanted attention.
I was running out time, and I needed to strain as many rivals out as possible; I ran with a risky option. By way of proxies and other means to anonymize my identity and location, I put tips off on these likely rivals. Over the next week, I saw the two tied to the drug cartels south of the border get killed in arrest attempts. That left the ex-IRA guy, and if he’s like others I’ve read about then he’s been in the United States for years now. Still, one guy is better than three. I can deal with this.