WDC interviews player in spy scenario
|Deidre Gregory, accused of spying, is interviewed by WDC
WDC: Deidre, let’s cut to the chase. How did a nice, well-educated, cultured, middle-class African American woman like you end up in the middle of a spy scenario?
Deidre: Not by choice. I was a victim here.
WDC: Didn’t you work in DC for the federal government?
Deidre: Yes, but I had taken an early retirement. I had been in the same branch for over twenty years, and had held other government jobs in the early years when my husband was still in the military and being moved about a lot. I had sold my house in DC and had moved south of Fredericksburg, just off I95, out of the DC suburban area. I was starting a new life.
WDC: Was that after your divorce?
Deidre: Yes, my husband and I never had children. We had been looking in rural areas with the idea of retiring to a country home and remodeling it to our tastes. Something homey but that would accommodate our collections from around the world.
WDC: But you bought the house by yourself?
Deidre: When my husband surprised me by leaving me for another woman, I decided to go ahead with our plans by myself, ahead of schedule.
WDC: Where do the spies come in?
Deidre: Well, first of all, they aren’t very good spies. But I don’t believe they really meant to implicate me. It was a spur of the moment decision. I had some office friends visiting me for the day. One of them hadn’t been particularly close, but had been part of the work group, nonetheless. I believe she was being bullied by a boyfriend into handling some private papers. She had them on her person when they came to visit my new place. I had already started remodeling, and she found a place to stash the papers. I think that she thought she could retrieve them before I discovered them. And it might have worked, if my contractor hadn’t been checking things out and found them.
WDC: Did he turn you in?
Deidre: He didn’t know what they were. He knew they didn’t belong in the duct work. He gave them to me. We looked at them and decided we had better call someone, both of us believing there was nothing really to them.
WDC: Who did you call?
Deidre: My ex. He works for the FBI, in an administrative capacity. After he retired from the military, he went to work at Quantico. He came alone and looked at them and took them. After that, both my contractor and I were extensively questioned by another agent. They realized we were in over our heads and stationed a watch at the house in case someone came to retrieve the papers. At that time, we didn’t know how the papers got there or how long they’d been there.
WDC: So you and your ex are still friends.
Deidre: I suppose you could say that. No, we’re not buddies. But he is very loyal, with a keen sense of duty and responsibility. He can be counted on to do the right thing. Well, that is, he was faithful to his marriage for over two decades before he fell to temptation. He has a keener sense of duty to his country and to the law. The marriage, well, let’s just say it’s out of character for him. But we’re not here to discuss that. Despite the fact that he betrayed me and broke my heart, he is still one of the finest men I know. I can’t forgive what he did to me, but I know he is good at his job and loyal to his country. I still respect him as a good man, a good citizen, a good American.
WDC: So he helped uncover the spies, then.
Deidre: Yes, along with the associate he brought in, they did a stake out and discovered the identities of the thieves. Actually, the so-called spies broke in while I was out, before the stake out was set up. I came home apparently while they were still in the house. They left in a hurry without calling my attention, but had to leave the window open to escape quietly. The vent cover wasn’t reattached completely. I called my ex first, then the police. Who knows what would have happened if I had walked in on them before they escaped. So the stake out was set up within a few hours. My ex parked down the road, and then walked up to the house, so as not to throw off anyone. After scouring the immediate area, some guys with dogs checked out the woods, and then disappeared. I felt like a sitting duck. Apparently, the perpetrators hadn’t parked nearby either, and had made a clean getaway. They didn’t turn up in the woods or fields nearby.
WDC: How were they caught?
Deidre: An agent hung out at a country store and noticed some strange guys in a big car. All the stores out here have prepared food, coffee, and sodas. There aren’t any drive-through's. The guys had foreign accents, which is not unusual in DC or Fredericksburg, but out in Caroline County, it’s not so frequent. They left after some cell phone calls, but the Virginia tag was traced. The agent followed up and found they were from Woodbridge. They placed a tail on the driver just for 24 hours to see what happened. It worked. They were about to give up when he met my former co-worker for dinner. They didn’t know who she was right away. They bribed the waiter to ask for her id before serving a glass of wine. Then he told them what he could remember from the id, and they went to work. Suddenly, they had a connection to the papers that would have been taken from my old building, and stashed in my home.
WDC: What were the papers?
Deidre: The exact nature is confidential, though certainly, nothing top secret out right. There were floor plans, some agricultural papers involving chemicals, some schedules, some financial papers, really boring stuff, actually.
WDC: What was the overall plan?
Deidre: This is why they seem so inept. The papers would be very minor in an overall scheme. Some were outdated. It was almost a case of just stealing papers to be stealing papers. In the right hands, with other papers as well, they could have helped create a disaster. But these guys were not the end users. They would need a very clever buyer or a very stupid one. I’m not sure they had a buyer; they might have been giving it away believing they were helping some cause without knowing the outcome.
WDC: How were the perpetrators caught in the end?
Deidre: They had to wait for the next move, to see how far this reached. Maybe there were more people involved. So they just watched my house, my supposed friend, and the inept thieves. It seemed like they were working alone. The two guys came back to my house when I was out, but the stake outs were there watching inside and out. They went in the same way. Apparently, my unnamed friend left some windows downstairs unlocked. They were ripping stuff apart when they were arrested. My friend was walked out of her office to a private room where she was arrested. They all confessed--on each other.
WDC: So your ex-husband was instrumental in solving the case?
Deidre: I suppose. He got the right people involved. He insisted on my protection—and innocence. But my contractor was my greatest source of comfort.
WDC: Moving on?
Deidre: Oh, no. He’s happily married. He’s a wonderful, honest Christian. His grown son works with him. They’re hard-working and so ethical. He and his wife both reached out to me when I was afraid. They offered to let me stay with them, and checked on me regularly to make sure I was okay. You know their kind of people, the ones who really live what they believe. I don’t know how I would have gotten through without them. I might be moving away right now if it wasn’t for the strength I’ve found in them.
WDC: There’s one area we haven’t discussed. How did his new wife get involved?
Deidre: This is the weird part. The new wife met my former coworker at a party. They became fast friends once they discovered they both knew me, you know, someone to trash together. When the new wife, who absolutely hates me, discovered her new friend was being interrogated and was frightened, she advised her to blame me. She ended up with a lot of information that she didn’t share with authorities. Meanwhile, the woman who used my home as a hiding place tried to blame me, not realizing I had already involved my ex. His wife is being brought up on some minor charges, like obstruction of justice, conspiracy after the fact. I don’t really know. They might not hold up with a good lawyer, since she was never an active participant in any of it.
WDC: How does your ex-husband feel about her involvement? And will you get back together?
Deidre: Knowing him like I do, I’m guessing his strongest feeling is that she was willing to compromise his position as a person bound to uphold the law and the security of his country. He’s probably feeling betrayed, imagine that. He was already feeling guilt over our broken relationship. He feels regret, but he made his choice. No, I can’t forget and pretend the breach between us never happened. For a person of such high moral principles, even more is expected. He has a new commitment now; he’ll have to find a way to make it work. Once she gets past the legal ramifications, she’ll have to work on regaining his trust and assuring him that she’s up front. He’ll have to accept that she tends to be manipulative and find a way to deal with it.
WDC: And what about you? What’s in your future?
Deidre: I’m not sure. I don’t have to decide today. I’ll continue with my remodeling job and landscaping. I’ll see how I do making new friends. It is the country after all. It’s great for families, maybe not so much for single people. I’m going to give myself some time to see how I like it. Then I may move back to the city. I liked DC. Maybe I could live in Richmond, or Charlottesville. I have no family left, so I have to make it on my own wherever I go. But I’ll be fine wherever I land.
Word Count: 1791