December, 2000: In a tiny office in the basement of the National Security Agency, a handful of analysts work on a project so secret its existence is known to fewer than a hundred people. They are intercepting Osama bin Laden's every word as he talks on his satellite phone to al Qaeda cells. What he's planning is big—a strike against the U.S.—and they know from the intercepts they'll learn the details any day… any minute. Suddenly, the conversations stop.
A Senior Executive is murdered inside the NSA complex, the first in a series of disasters inflicted from both inside and outside the carefully concealed house of spies. Alexandra O'Malley, consummate Intelligence Analyst, must sort through the clues and scramble to stop the escalating crises… but to succeed, she'll have to break all the rules.
In 9800 Savage Road, reality and fiction intersect in a terrifying story of the events leading up to 9/11 from deep within the cloistered walls of NSA. M. E. Harrigan delivers the first insider's perspective in NSA's history. She shreds the thick veil of secrecy and explores the thoughts and actions, the dedication and bureaucratic infighting, and the occasional scandals of the hidden workforce. It's a story of betrayal and treachery, courage and loyalty… so real you'll wonder how much is true.
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Harrigan, who spent 27 years at the National Security Agency, brings plenty of insider knowledge but little originality to her clunky debut, a thriller set in late 2000. Alexandra O'Malley, an NSA assistant director, is part of Project Meridian, a program that's been monitoring a particularly worrisome stream of phone calls placed by terrorist Usama bin Laden (UBL) originating from al-Qaeda headquarters in Afghanistan. The calls concern a major upcoming mission against America, but the phone intercepts cease before hard facts are ascertained. Alex's boyfriend, CIA agent Gabriel Ayala, parachutes into Afghanistan to tap into the terrorists' telephone system. After several murders occur involving NSA personnel, Alex takes it upon herself to solve these crimes. Harrigan gives readers an authentic peek behind the curtains of the secretive NSA, but it comes at the expense of a compelling plot or interesting, in-depth characters.