“I caught something in ICABOD’s dragnet for those terms Prudence provided. Boy, we might as well have been looking for a single Tweet during the World Cup Playoffs. Actually the lead is really too easy, almost like it was deliberately released into the ether hoping to be snagged.
“So, here’s what I got. A seasoned United States based defense contractor using two of the high profile terms we are looking at sent an email minutes before I alerted you. Attached to the email was a simple password protected document, which I cracked in less than fifteen seconds with ICABOD’s Pass-smash program. I would guess most crackers could open it in under ten minutes.
“Frankly, it was all too easy so I am running a Heuristic Objective Parallel Hunting Iteratively Neutral Search program that I have now named as HOPSING to see if there are parallel or intersection streams that might give me some more insight.”
Otto refused to comment on a software routine named HOPSING, yet said, “So are the source and destination addresses legitimate or were they bogus? I agree that it looks too convenient, but stranger things have happened. Have you scanned in the information and cross-referenced it to see if it was designed to give out false information, or was this just someone being extra sloppy and it just so happened that we caught it?”
“Otto, this is exactly what Prudence was looking for and the email is addressed to a Ms. Krumhunter, a name we already knew. The HOPSING routine basically mapped Ms. Krumhunter to the personage of Prudence from an email server in her facilities in Virginia.
“When you assemble all the pieces we have, it appears that Keith Avery has been working on a battlefield communications project for Ms. Krumhunter/Prudence. In his haste to get a report submitted on his findings to date he emailed it using his personal email account with almost no thought to it being intercepted. The report correctly maps out all the necessary components from two military organizations of different countries and postulates how they need to interoperate to deliver state of the art battlefield communications,” Quip grimly stated.
Otto nodded his head in agreement. “Well done, Quip. I need to alert Prudence of our electronic trail and that she has had a breach in her communications protocol, if she is even aware of how it should be set up. She has not seemed too knowledgeable thus far.”
Quip then looked straight at Otto with a very serious expression. “Otto, that’s not all. The report points to one of the key elements of the solution as a work in progress by a Professor Su Lin at Texas A&M involving nanotechnology. Wasn’t that where you recently sent Petra and Jacob?”
Otto blanched a little then quietly said, “Well, that’s reasonably inconvenient. Petra and Jacob have indicated that Professor Lin was not interested in interrupting her nano studies focused with animals to increase food production. She had stanchly stated no military efforts were in her future, certainly not building two way communications for combat troops.
“But, are you saying that this Keith Avery is suggesting that her research could be morphed into a battlefield communications solution?”
“Exactly! If we caught this communication we must assume that someone else has caught it. We likely have two groups who know about this and probably at least one or more competitors looking to crash the party, so to speak.”
Otto studied the situation turning each element over in his mind and realigning them. Time was not going to be a friend on this effort.
“Quip, let’s get Petra and Jacob working on this quickly before we run out of time. I expect Professor Su Lin is about to have many more visitors than she is going to be interested in receiving.
“I agree with your assessment so please continue to scan for other leads and now associated activity with Keith since he is now potentially at risk. It appears that your POPSINGER program has a hit single on the charts.”
Quip looked rather sullen at the comment then reminded, “The term is HOPSING Otto….”
Otto grinned, “You know it’s always fun teasing you just a little bit.”
Quip chuckled back, “Sure, but you know by night fall POPSINGER will be added to ICABOD for another function. It is what I live for.”
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