The Computer Intrusions: The Incredible, Elusive “Verizon Man”
The following is the fourth in a series of excerpts from my New York Times bestseller “Stonewalled,” which recounts the government intrusions of my computers. More excerpts to follow.
“Be sure and call me anytime if you need anything or have any questions,” says the man who hands me the Verizon business card with his name and phone number handwritten on it.
I begin by asking him if he has a record of the work that Verizon has done at our house in the past year. That might help tell us whether a previous technician left the cable. He says he has no access to such records and that the main office wouldn’t have any, either. He’ll just need to take a look at the box himself. As I lead him to the back of the house, I text Jeff to come over.
The technician takes one look at the cable and says it doesn’t belong.
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“Yeah, that shouldn’t be there.”
“Why’s it here, then?” I ask.
“Well, we deal with a lot of third-party contractors. It probably got left here when some work was done and a contractor was supposed to pick it up but didn’t. Something like that,” he says. “I’ll just remove it.”
He goes out to his truck to get some tools and Jeff arrives. We watch together as he removes the cable, coils it up, and prepares to take it with him.
“Just leave that here,” I say.
“I just want to keep it,” I tell him. I figure when I drop off my computer for analysis in a few days, I’ll send along the mystery cable, too. The Verizon technician seems hesitant but puts down the cable on top of the air-conditioning fan next to us. We continue to chat and I make a mental note: Don’t leave the cable there. If you do, it might disappear. The Verizon man really seems to want to take it. Am I imagining that?
Read excerpt #1 here: The Computer Intrusions: Up at Night
Read excerpt #2 here: Big Brother: First Warnings
Read excerpt #3 here: The Computer Intrusions: Disappearing Act
Jeff and I walk the technician back to his truck. Jeff has a few more questions for him but it’s chilly outside and I leave the two of them to finish their conversation.
A couple of days later, I’m driving to work when I remember the cable. I call my husband at home.
“Go get that cable off the air-conditioning fan,” I tell him.
I listen as he walks outside with the phone to look. “It’s gone.” “Gone? Are you sure?”
“Yeah, it’s nowhere around here,” he says. Also gone are several
other pieces of wire that Jeff had pulled up from the ground in front of the Verizon man.
“Well what happened to it?”
“The Verizon guy must’ve come back and taken it,” my husband speculates.
Later, at the office, I decide to call the Verizon technician and ask him myself. I want to know if he took the cable after I’d said to leave it, and why. More important, I hope he still has it so that I can have it examined. I have that handwritten business card he gave me. I call the phone number on it, it rolls me to his voice mail, and I leave a message. But he doesn’t call back. That day or any other. I call almost every day, sometimes twice a day, for the next month. But the once- helpful Verizon man never responds.
At least I still have my photographs.
And an expert source who’s willing to peer inside my laptop and see what secrets it might reveal about covert attempts to monitor my work.
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To be continued…
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