December 1993-February 1994, Washington D.C.
Time for business.
National Press Books gave me a desk at which I sifted through their Edward Howard publishing contract, perused a media correspondence file (letters from news organizations to Howard requesting an interview) and read his manuscript.
At noon, Sultan and I broke for lunch at Melio's in Spring Valley.
"Wouldn't it be great if Howard came back to the U.S.?" said Sultan. "Think of the publicity!"
Working on it, I felt like saying.
Sultan was now consumed with selling the book. "I've got the sales director from our distributor coming to see us. He's giving me a hard time, something about Cold War books being tough to sell these days. But if we could get Howard to return..."
Soon after, on December 16th, I had my first encounter with Edward Lee Howard.
I keyed his Moscow telephone number and left a message on his answering machine. An hour he returned my call.
We exchanged greetings; Howard sounded serious and sober. I asked how much material he'd already written.
About a hundred pages.
How much more did he intend to write?"
"Another hundred pages," said Howard.
"Sounds light, Ed. Even 300 pages would convey to only 220 book pages."
"Hmmmm. I guess I could write more,” said Howard. “I wrote my story a couple of years ago. A lot has happened since then."
He said he had imminent plans for a Christmas vacation in Siberia (his own code for Switzerland). "I'll be back on the 27th. That's when I intend to start writing."
"National Press wants to publish this book in May or June, which means we need a finished manuscript by early March. Do you think you can do it?"
"The contract says March 15th," said Howard. "I intend to comply with it."
"Don't worry about spelling or grammar," I said. "Just let it roll, like you're at a bar telling your story over a couple of beers."
Howard chuckled. He could relate to that; it probably made him thirsty.
A few weeks later Howard's computer disk arrived, labeled in Howard's hand: ELH Book WP5.0.
Maybe future evidence against him.
Howard needed more than an editor.
He needed a ghostwriter.
A Fed Ex envelope from Howard arrived one week later. Inside, a letter with this message: Howard would meet me in Zurich,
Switzerland,"13:00 hours," at the reception desk of Hotel Kindli, which, he instructed, we should refer to in all communications as "the kids place."
This greatly relieved Joseph and Sultan; promise of a face-to-face with Howard suggested progress, though they conceded his book would no longer be a spring title.
Next I phoned John H. "You boys have been busy."
Another American within the U.S. intelligence community was secretly operating as a mole for the Russians and quite likely passing them secrets.