Paranoia (108 of 170)

—of —
by Joseph Finder
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Macmillan: Paranoia

Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.


The fact that Cutthroat Camilletti—the jerk who pretended to be so pissed off about the Wall Street Journal piece—was actually behind it really chafed my ass. The guy was more than an asshole: he was disloyal to Goddard.

Maybe it was a relief to actually have a moral conviction about something after weeks of being a low-down lying scumbag. Maybe feeling so protective of Goddard made me feel a little better about myself. Maybe by being pissed off about Camilletti's disloyalty I could conveniently ignore my own. Or maybe I was just grateful to Goddard for singling me out, recognizing me as somehow special, better than everyone else. It's hard to know how much of my anger toward Camilletti was really selfless. At times I was struck with this terrible knife-jab of anguish that I really wasn't any better than Camilletti. I mean, there I was at Trion, a fraud who pretended he could walk on water, when all the time I was breaking into offices and stealing documents and trying to rip the heart out of Jock Goddard's corporation while I rode around in his antique Buick....

It was all too much. These four-in-the-morning flop-sweat sessions were wearing me down. They were hazardous to my mental health. Better for me not to think, to operate on cruise control.

So maybe I really did have all the conscience of a boa constrictor. I still wanted to catch that bastard Paul Camilletti.

At least I didn't have any choice about what I was doing. I'd been cornered into it. Whereas Camilletti's treachery was of a whole different order. He was actively plotting against Goddard, the guy who brought him into the company, put his trust in him. And who knew what else Camilletti was doing?

Goddard needed to know. But I had to have cover—a plausible way I might have found out that didn't involve breaking into Camilletti's office.

All the way into work, while I enjoyed the jet-engine thrust and roar of the Porsche, my mind was working on solving this problem, and by the time I got to my office, I had a decent idea.

Working in the office of the CEO gave me serious clout. If I called someone I didn't know and identified myself as just plain-vanilla Adam Cassidy, the odds were I wouldn't get my call returned. But Adam Cassidy, "calling from the CEO's office" or "Jock Goddard's office"—as if I were sitting in the office next to the old guy and not a hundred feet down the hall—got all his calls returned, at lightning speed.

So when I called Trion's Information Technology department and told them that "we" wanted copies of all archived e-mails to and from the office of the chief financial officer in the last thirty days, I got instant cooperation. I didn't want to point a finger at Camilletti, so I made it appear that Goddard was concerned about leaks from the CFO's office.

One intriguing thing I'd learned was that Camilletti made a habit of deleting copies of certain sensitive e-mails, whether he sent them or received them. Obviously he didn't want to have those e-mails stored on his computer. He must have known, since he was a sharp guy, that copies of all e-mails were stored somewhere in the company's data banks. That's why he preferred to use outside e-mail for some of the more sensitive correspondence—including the Wall Street Journal. I wondered whether he knew that Trion's computers captured all e-mail that went through the company's fiber-optic cables, whether Yahoo or Hotmail or anything else.

My new friend in IT, who seemed to think he was doing a personal favor for Goddard himself, also got me the phone records of all calls in and out of the CFO's office. No problem, he said. The company obviously didn't tape conversations, but of course they kept track of all phone numbers out and in; that was standard corporate practice. He could even get me copies of anyone's voice mails, he said. But that might take some time.

The results came back within an hour. It was all there. Camilletti had received a number of calls from the Journal guy in the last ten days. But far more incriminatingly, he'd placed a bunch of calls to the guy. One or two he might be able to explain away as an attempt to return the reporter's calls—even though he'd insisted he never talked to the guy.

But twelve calls, some of them lasting five, seven minutes? That didn't look good.

And then came copies of the e-mails. "From now on," Camilletti wrote, "call me only on my home number. Do not repeat do NOT call me at Trion anymore. E-mails should go only to this Hotmail address."

Explain that away, Cutthroat.

Man, I could barely wait to show my little dossier to Goddard, but he was in meeting after meeting from midmorning to late afternoon—meetings, I noted, that he hadn't asked me to.

It wasn't until I saw Camilletti coming out of Goddard's office that I had my chance.

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