Robert Ludlum: The Bourne Ultimatum

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Robert Ludlum The Bourne Ultimatum
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    The Bourne Ultimatum
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The Bourne Ultimatum: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The world's two deadliest spies in the ultimate showdown. At a small-town carnival two men, each mysteriously summoned by telegram, witness a bizarre killing. The telegrams are signed Jason Bourne. Only they know Bourne's true identity and understand the telegram is really a message from Bourne's mortal enemy, Carlos, known also as the Jackal, the world's deadliest and most elusive terrorist. And furthermore, they know that the Jackal wants: a final confrontation with Bourne. Now David Webb, professor of Oriental studies, husband, and father, must do what he hoped he would never have to do again – assume the terrible identity of Jason Bourne. His plan is simple: to infiltrate the politically and economically Medusan group and use himself as bait to lure the cunning Jackal into a deadly trap – a trap from which only one of them will escape.

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"Now that we've said hello, can we cut the crap, gentlemen?"

"That's hardly a courteous or an amiable way to begin, Mr. Conklin," observed the director.

"Neither courtesy nor amiability is on my mind just now, sir. I just want to know why airtight Four Zero regulations were ignored and maximum-classified information was released that endangers a number of lives, including mine!"

"That's outrageous, Alex!" interrupted one of the two associates.

"Totally inaccurate!" added the other. "It couldn't happen and you know it!"

"I don't know it and it did happen and I'll tell you what's outrageously accurate," said Conklin angrily. "A man's out there with a wife and two children, a man this country and a large part of the world owe more to than anyone could ever repay, and he's running, hiding, frightened out of his mind that he and his family are targets. We gave that man our word, all of us, that no part of the official record would ever see the light of day until it was confirmed beyond doubt that Rich Ramirez Sanchez, also known as Carlos the Jackal, was dead. ... All right, I've heard the same rumors you have, probably from the same or much better sources, that the Jackal was killed here or executed there, but no one-repeat no one-has come forward with indisputable proof. ... Yet a part of that file was leaked, a very vital part, and it concerns me deeply because my name is there. ... Mine and Dr. Morris Panov, the chief psychiatrist of record. We were the only-repeat only-two individuals acknowledged to have been close associates of the unknown man who assumed the name of Jason Bourne, considered in more sectors than we can count to be the rival of Carlos in the killing game. ... But that information is buried in the vaults here in Langley. How did it get out? According to the rules, if anyone wants any part of that record-from the White House to the State Department to the holy Joint Chiefs-he has to go through the offices of the director and his chief analysts right here at Langley. They have to be briefed on all the details of the request, and even if they're satisfied as to the legitimacy, there's a final step. Me. Before a release is signed, I'm to be contacted, and in the event I'm not around any longer, Dr. Panov is to be reached, either one of us legally empowered to turn the request down flat. ... That's the way it is, gentlemen, and no one knows the rules better than I do because I'm the one who wrote them-again right here at Langley, because this was the place I knew best. After twenty-eight years in this corkscrew business, it was my final contribution-with the full authority of the president of the United States and the consent of Congress through the select committees on intelligence in the House and the Senate."

"That's heavy artillery, Mr. Conklin," commented the gray-haired director, sitting motionless, his voice flat, neutral.

"There were heavy reasons for pulling out the cannons."

"So I gather. One of the sixteen-inchers reached me."

"You're damned right he did. Now, there's the question of accountability. I want to know how that information surfaced and, most important, who got it."

Both deputy directors began talking at once, as angrily as Alex, but they were stopped by the DCI, who touched their arms, a pipe in one hand, a lighter in the other. "Slow down and back up, Mr. Conklin," said the director gently, lighting his pipe. "It's obvious that you know my two associates, but you and I never met, have we?"

"No. I resigned four and a half years ago, and you were appointed a year after that."

"Like many others-quite justifiably, I think-did you consider me a crony appointment?"

"You obviously were, but I had no trouble with that. You seemed qualified. As far as I could tell, you were an apolitical Annapolis admiral who ran naval intelligence and who just happened to work with an FMF marine colonel during the Vietnam War who became president. Others were passed over, but that happens. No sweat."

"Thank you. But do you have any 'sweat' with my two deputy directors?"

"It's history, but I can't say either one of them was considered the best friend an agent in the field ever had. They were analysts, not field men."

"Isn't that a natural aversion, a conventional hostility?"

"Of course it is. They analyzed situations from thousands of miles away with computers we didn't know who programmed and with data we hadn't passed on. You're damned right it's a natural aversion. We dealt with human quotients; they didn't. They dealt with little green letters on a computer screen and made decisions they frequently shouldn't have made."

"Because people like you had to be controlled," interjected the deputy on the director's right. "How many times, even today, do men and women like you lack the full picture? The total strategy and not just your part of it?"

"Then we should be given a fuller picture going in, or at least an overview so we can try to figure out what makes sense and what doesn't."

"Where does an overview stop, Alex?" asked the deputy on the DCI's left. "At what point do we say, 'We can't reveal this. ... for everyone's benefit'?"

"I don't know, you're the analysts, I'm not. On a case-by-case basis, I suppose, but certainly with better communication than I ever got when I was in the field. ... Wait a minute. I'm not the issue, you are." Alex stared at the director. "Very smooth, sir, but I'm not buying a change of subject. I'm here to find out who got what and how. If you'd rather, I'll take my credentials over to the White House or up to the Hill and watch a few heads roll. I want answers. I want to know what to do!"

"I wasn't trying to change the subject, Mr. Conklin, only to divert it momentarily to make a point. You obviously objected to the methods and the compromises employed in the past by my colleagues, but did either of these men ever mislead you, lie to you?"

Alex looked briefly at the two deputy directors. "Only when they had to lie to me, which had nothing to do with field operations."

"That's a strange comment."

"If they haven't told you, they should have. ... Five years ago I was an alcoholic-I'm still an alcoholic but I don't drink anymore. I was riding out the time to my pension, so nobody told me anything and they damn well shouldn't have."

"For your enlightenment, all my colleagues said to me was that you had been ill, that you hadn't been functioning at the level of your past accomplishments until the end of your service."

Again Conklin studied both deputies, nodding to both as he spoke. "Thanks, Casset, and you, too, Valentino, but you didn't have to do that. I was a drunk and it shouldn't be a secret whether it's me or anybody else. That's the dumbest thing you can do around here."

"From what we heard about Hong Kong, you did a hell of a job, Alex," said the man named Casset softly. "We didn't want to detract from that."

"You've been a pain in the ass for longer than I care to remember," added Valentino. "But we couldn't let you hang out as an accident of booze."

"Forget it. Let's get back to Jason Bourne. That's why I'm here, why you damn well had to see me."

"That's also why I momentarily sidetracked us, Mr. Conklin. You have professional differences with my deputies, but I gather you don't question their integrity."

"Others, yes. Not Casset or Val. As far as I was concerned, they did their jobs and I did mine; it was the system that was fouled up-it was buried in fog. But this isn't, today isn't. The rules are clear-cut and absolute, and since I wasn't reached, they were broken and I was misled, in a very real sense, lied to. I repeat. How did it happen and who got the information?"

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