- Character Bashing
- Canon Divergent
- Episode Related
- Fix It
Timothy McGee looked away from the seven-year-old case he was reviewing to see Director Vance standing on the observation level staring into the bullpen.
“Come upstairs.” He turned and headed back towards his office without waiting for McGee.
McGee closed the case file and quickly made his way upstairs. He was glad Ziva had stepped out for coffee because he wasn’t sure he wanted her to tease him. Her barbs were more acidic than they used to be.
When he entered the office he was surprised to find Isaac Peterson from the Internal Investigations department waiting inside along with the Director.
“Agent McGee, have you met Isaac Petersen before?”
“No, sir.” McGee came forward and shook his hand.
“Agent Petersen’s department is investigating the MCRT.” Director Vance said. He’d like to speak to you. Answer their questions.”
McGee blinked, unsure. He’d heard something from Ziva about Tony being questioned but he honestly hadn’t been sure whether he should believe her. She was frequently obnoxious, especially where Tony was concerned. But now he was wondering if this investigation, whatever it was, was the real reason that been stuck on cold cases for so long.
“I understand.” McGee nodded, turning to Petersen.
Agent Petersen led him out of the director’s office and towards the elevator.
Once on the right floor, McGee followed him to a small conference room nervously. The noted the agents outside with a little trepidation. The director hadn’t said what Petersen wanted to talk to him about, or precisely what their investigation into the MCRT was about. He had been afraid to ask because the last few times he’d spoken to the director had been awkward and uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure how the man might react.
“Take a seat Agent McGee.” Isaac Petersen held the door open. “Agents Bromwell and Filsihni are handling this investigation, so I will leave you in their capable hands.”
McGee watched Petersen leave and turned to face the two people already inside the conference room and then took the offered seat across from them at the table. He recognized Zacharai Bromwell though he had never had any dealings with him. The woman with him, he had never formally met, but he knew she was a doctor of some sort, and Abby didn’t like her, though he had never been able to get a clear understanding of why.
“Agent McGee, My name is Zacharai Bromwell, and this is Doctor Sameen Filsihni. We’d like to talk to you about your time with the MCRT.”
“Okay.” McGee nodded. “What, uh, would you like to know?”
“You’ve been with the Major Case Response Team for over six years, is that correct?” Bromwell asked.
“Yes, about that. I worked with Gibbs on a few cases before that, though.”
Bromwell shared a look with the woman McGee didn’t understand before he continued. “You were working in the Norfolk office before you transferred here to work with the MCRT. Why did you make the move?”
McGee frowned. “I wanted to work in the field.”
“Norfolk has field teams.” Filsihni pointed out. “You requested to take the training course at FLETC when you were stationed in the Cybercrimes unit at Norfolk and were granted permission at that time. You could have joined a field team in Norfolk, but instead, you wanted to work at the Navy Yard. A location that required you to relocate as it was over three hours away.” Filsihni looked at McGee curiously. “Explain to me why working in DC was so important.”
“I, uh, wanted to work with Gibbs,” McGee said. Not sure how else to explain it.
Filsihni nodded. “Would you be surprised to know that Gibbs didn’t want you on the team, and it was Agent DiNozzo that pushed your transfer through?”
“What? No. I mean…I know Gibbs wasn’t…but, Kate helped.” McGee swallowed, uncomfortable.
“No. According to the records, Agent DiNozzo put in the request to have you transferred.”
“Gibbs probably ordered him to do it,” McGee said.
Bromwell stared at McGee for a moment before he set a folder down in front of McGee. “Agent McGee, are you aware of the laws regarding the proper use of computers for infiltrations of government or commercial systems?”
“Uh, what?” McGee asked, confused by the change in subject.
“Hacking.” Filsihni clarified. “Do you know the rules about when you can and cannot hack into other computer systems, and what needs to happen before you can legally do it?”
McGee just stared at them for a second without saying anything.
“I only ask, Agent McGee, because you have numerous complaints on file from outside agencies, local police departments, and commercial entities complaining that you have, in fact, compromised their computer systems. There are very few corresponding warrants or other legal permissions for these breaches.
“There were always extenuating circumstances. Cases we were trying to solve. Gibbs needed the information quickly.” McGee explained.
“You are aware that if any of the evidence in your case is obtained illegally, then JAG cannot prosecute the case?”
“Let’s table that for now,” Bromwell said. “Tell us about the Military-at-Home case.”
McGee blinked. “Uh, Commander Daniels was shot on the Adam Gator radio show. Our investigation led us to a gated community, Royal Woods, and a terrorist group that was trying to get the US government to spend money here in the US instead of abroad.”
“There was an undercover assignment as part of this case?” Filsihni asked.
“Yes. We had a voice recording from the radio show of the killer, and we needed to match it. Someone had to go out to Royal Woods and get voice records so Abby could match the voices.”
“Who went on the assignment?” Bromwell asked.
“Myself, Ziva, and Tony.”
“And what were your jobs during the assignment?”
“Well, Tony was going to go out and talk to the residents with a wire on to get the recordings, and Ziva and I would stay in the car to monitor the recordings and make sure nothing happened.”
“Who made the assignments?” Filsihni asked.
“Tony did.” McGee frowned. “When Gibbs isn’t around, he’s always telling us what to do.”
Bromwell raised an eyebrow. “Agent DiNozzo is the Senior Field Agent on your team, is he not?”
“Well, yes.” McGee agreed.
“Then he is your supervisor and in Agent Gibbs’s absence, your boss.”
McGee flushed and looked away.
“Agent DiNozzo decided who would go door to door and who would stay in the car. Do you have any insight into why you and Agent David remained in the car while Agent DiNozzo obtained the voiceprints? Or why he was the only person obtaining the voice samples?”
“Uh, I don’t understand.” McGee was confused. He had been thrown off by their questions regarding his hacking, and the abrupt change in topic had confused him.
“Clearly,” Filsihni said with a sly quirk to her lips that McGee didn’t like. “It seems that it would be a better use of your time to split the work. Have DiNozzo visit half of the houses, and say, David the other half. It would have fit DiNozzo’s cover of a married man looking into the neighborhood before he bought. Instead, DiNozzo did all the work, and the two of you sat in the car and listened, is that right?”
“Ziva isn’t; she isn’t…well, she’s great, but sometimes her temper, and she isn’t very patient.” McGee floundered under their stares.
Bromwell hummed. “So am I to understand that Agent DiNozzo spent over five hours walking around Royal Woods collecting Voice recordings alone because Agent David can’t control her temper nor be trusted to act appropriately with the public?”
“Agent McGee, what was your and Agent David’s job while in the field?” Filsihni asked before McGee could respond to Bromwell.
“To monitor the voice recordings and provide back-up,” McGee answered automatically.
“Can you elaborate on that?” Filsihni asked. “You were to monitor the voice recordings. Were you listening for something specific? A familiar voice? Or was there another reason?”
“Well, uh, nothing specific. We just were supposed to record a secondary track, you know, in case someone came by the car.” Filsihni hummed, and that sound made McGee nervous, so he continued. “And we were supposed to back Tony up in case he ran into any trouble.”
“And did he?” Bromwell interjected.
“Did he what?”
“Run into any trouble while you were listening?”
“And were you listening the entire time?”
McGee froze. He looked up at the woman, and suddenly she looked like a lioness getting ready to pounce. He felt like this is where she had been leading him the entire time, and now that they were there, he had nowhere to go. No options but the truth.
“Not the entire time.”
“Hmm. And when you weren’t listening to him, what were you doing?”
“Reading.” He mumbled.
“Reading,” Bromwell repeated. “Is that standard procedure for working in the field as back-up for an undercover operator?”
“Uh, no, but he wasn’t in any danger,” McGee stated with confidence. He sat up a little straighter in his chair.
“He wasn’t in any danger?” Bromwell repeated. “You know this for a fact?”
“Well, he was fine? Nothing happened.” McGee said, confident that he was validated.
“And you knew that was the outcome then, did you?”
“Well, no, but it was Royal Woods. An upper-class neighborhood. What could have happened?”
“An upper-class, white neighborhood.” Filsihni corrected. “That’s what you mean, right?”
McGee frowned a he looked at her. She had dark hair and eyes, not unlike Ziva. “Yes.”
“Even though you were looking for a terrorist who had already murdered three people, you felt that Agent DiNozzo was perfectly safe in this upper-class white neighborhood.” Filsihni raised a dark eyebrow at him.
“And what about the other dangerous situations that he could have encountered while you were reading?” Bromwell asked.
“What other dangerous situations?” McGee asked, confused.
“Disrupting a domestic situation, coming upon a burglary or home invasion, even a rape or other assault. Maybe one of these fine residents is involved in drug or people trafficking. The investigation you were conducting was due to an involvement in terrorism, correct?”
“Well, I…I didn’t think about any of that.” McGee admitted.
“But you have attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, correct?”
“And you did learn about the proper procedure for investigating in the field, and for undercover operations, did you not?”
“Yes.” McGee agreed quietly.
“So, perhaps you can explain to me why you were reading while Agent DiNozzo was getting voice recordings.”
“No, I can’t,” McGee admitted.
“Alright.” Filsihni interrupted again. “Let’s go back. “You said you were reading. What were you reading?”
“You were in an NCIS vehicle, correct? What were you reading, the owner’s manual?”
“Uh, no. Technology Today.”
“I see. And how did that get into the vehicle.”
“I brought it.”
“So, you had planned on reading while Agent DiNozzo was in the field?”
“Yes? No? I don’t know. It’s just Tony talks a lot, and I don’t want to listen to him, so I mostly ignore what he says, and it’s easier if I have something to concentrate on.”
“What was Agent David doing during this time?”
“Complaining mostly,” McGee admitted.
“About what?” Bromwell pressed.
“Tony.” McGee sat up a little straighter. “She doesn’t mean anything by it, but they kind of rub each other the wrong way, especially since she came back. She, uh, she thinks she should have his job, that she has more experience. She doesn’t like that he tells her what to do all the time. So, she complains a lot when he’s not around.”
“I see.” Bromwell stared hard at McGee. “Did you ever once explain to her that Tony has ten years more experience in investigations than her?”
“What? No! You don’t just tell Ziva things. She does what she wants.”
Both Bromwell and Filsihni stared at him for a long minutes before Filsihni sat back in her chair. “I am to understand you have been with the MCRT for eighteen months longer than Agent David, who, even now, is still a probationary agent. Is this correct?”
“Recently, you put in a request to take the Senior Field Agent training that Agent DiNozzo is doing. Is that also correct?”
“Yes.” McGee frowned. “I didn’t know about it until Director Vance told me, but yes, I requested admission, but I haven’t been notified by anyone on whether I have been accepted.
“Agent McGee,” Bromwell said, “If you can’t tell your coworker, a probationary agent, something as simple as that she is not qualified to have a position she covets, then you certainly can’t complete the many tasks that are required of a senior field agent.” He took out a sheet of paper from a folder and handed it over to McGee, “Now, this is transcribed from the voice recording that was placed in the car as a secondary measure. Can you review that and tell me if that is an accurate transcription?”
McGee took the piece of paper and read over the transcribed words. Halfway down, he froze. “Uh. This isn’t what it looks like.”
“That isn’t what was said in the car?” Filsihni asked.
“Uh, no. We said that, but…we didn’t mean.” He stopped and slumped in his chair. “Yes, it’s accurate.”
Bromwell handed over a second piece of paper. “This is from when Agent DiNozzo returned to the car. Is that also accurate.”
McGee looked that over too and nodded. “Yes.”
“So, I’m sure you understand why we are concerned. You clearly broke protocol. You told Agent DiNozzo you broke protocol. You do understand why we are here today, do you not?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Excellent.” Filsihni smiled. “Perhaps you can explain to me why you broke protocol?”
“I, uh. I don’t know. I didn’t think Tony was in any danger, and Ziva was…she was angry and pushing, and sometimes it’s just easier to go along with her.”
The two investigators exchanged another of those long looks before both focusing on him again. “Thank you for your time and your honesty. Agent Morrison will take you up to see Director Vance. We may have more questions for you at a later time.”
“Uh, what’s going to happen now?” McGee asked nervously.
“That depends on the results of our investigation and Director Vance’s determinations.”
McGee nodded and stood. He opened the conference room door and found who he assumed was Agent Morrison and followed him down the hall to his doom.
McGee sat waiting for the director to say something. He wasn’t sure exactly what. He knew he couldn’t count on the fact that the director and Tony didn’t get along. This wasn’t a popularity contest, and now that it had been pointed out, there were a lot of things that could have happened.
“Agent McGee, you understand that you broke NCIS policy for field operations, as well as undercover operations and safety protocols?”
“Yes, sir.” McGee nodded.
“You realize what you and Agent David did could have resulted in injury or loss of life?”
“Okay. The investigation is still ongoing, but for now, you will be suspended pending the results of their investigation. You will have no contact with anyone at NCIS during your suspension, except those acting in accordance with the investigation, with the exception of your supervisor or myself. Is that understood?”
“Please hand over your badge and firearm. Sign this document agreeing that you understand what I have just explained to you, and this document agreeing you have turned in your firearm and badge.”
McGee quickly read through the two documents and signed where indicated and then handed over the items in question.
“Thank you. Agent Morrison will escort you out. I will contact you soon.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Agent Morrison guided him out of the Director’s office and towards security. McGee felt like he may never return, and he wasn’t sure what he would do if that were true.
Sam Filsihni watched McGee go and waited until the door shut behind him before turning to Zach. “That guy is in no way prepared to be a senior anything.”
“Not even a little bit.”
“So, do you believe him? That he just thought DiNozzo was safe because it was a white upper-class neighborhood?”
“As ridiculous as that is, yeah. Clearly, he’s never watched Criminal Case Files. or Unsolved Crimes, because that’s the stupidest thing. But David, she’s something else.”
“Agreed. We haven’t even spoken to her yet, but I have a feeling that her interview is going to be much different.”
“No time like the present.”
Filsihni stood and went to the door. “Bring Agent David, please.”
They didn’t have to wait long. She came in, looking around the room curiously. Filsihni noted she was looking around all the corners, probably checking for surveillance and recording equipment, but she wasn’t going to find it. Their conference room was wired, but in such a way that it didn’t appear as obvious as in the interrogation rooms.
“Have a seat, Agent David. I’m Agent Bromwell, and this is my partner, Doctor Filsihni.”
David looked at them both, her eyes narrowed. She eyed Filsihni especially carefully, but then turned away and focused all of her attention on Bromwell. Filsihni smiled to herself. That wasn’t even subtle.
“What is this about?”
“We have some questions,” Bromwell told her.
“I am not required to answer any questions.” She said defiantly.
“Are you requesting a representative be present for this interview?” Bromwell asked.
“Where is Gibbs?”
“Agent Gibbs is not part of this interview. Do you want representation, or can we continue?”
“I have nothing to say.”
“Agent David.” Filsihni began. “When you returned to America and were granted citizenship, it was under the proviso that you took a job with NCIS as an Agent. You are no longer a Liaison. As an Agent, you are subject to all of the rules and policies of any other agent of this agency. You signed paperwork saying you understood that. One of the policies of this agency is that our department may open an investigation if there is sufficient cause to do so. During such an investigation, we can question anyone in this agency, and have access to any file or reports we have the need-to-know and the appropriate clearance for. If you refuse to answer our questions, you can be suspended, pending our investigation. You do, of course, have the right to representation during our interview. Would you like representation?”
“No! Ask your questions.” David hissed.
“Can you tell me about how you came to join the MCRT?” Bromwell asked first. They wanted everything on the record.
“Why are you asking about that? That was years ago.”
“Agent David, Please.”
“After the death of my half-brother, Ari Haswari, Director Shepard arranged for me to be a Liaison officer. She assigned me to the MCRT.”
“Why the MCRT and not somewhere more fitting to your experience, say counter-terrorism, or the Middle-Eastern desk?”
Ziva waved her hand as if such a thing was irrelevant. “Jenny knew I wanted to learn from the best agent, and so she put me with Gibbs.”
“And what you wanted mattered to Director Shepard?” Bromwell asked.
Ziva frowned. “Yes.”
“What does that matter?” Ziva snapped.
“I remind you, Agent David, that this is an official inquiry, and you are required to answer our questions.”
“Your questions are stupid.” Ziva snapped. “Mossad never wasted time like this.”
“Let’s talk about that.” Filsihni interrupted.
“About what?” Ziva asked, looking at the woman for the first time since she had sat down.
“Mossad, and your placement with NCIS as a liaison officer.”
“What about it?” Ziva frowned.
“Well, the NCIS paperwork indicates that you came here originally as a liaison from Mossad to help ease tension, in the wake of the situation with your half-brother, Ari Haswari.”
“Yes,” Ziva admitted cautiously.
“There are a couple of problems with that. First, if the intent was to ease tension, why would you be placed on the MCRT, where your brother caused the most damage. Second, Mossad doesn’t liaise with other agencies in the manner that is indicated in this report.”
“What do you know about Mossad?” Ziva sneered.
“That is none of your concern,” Filsihni answered. “My point is, this paperwork is a load of crap, so why don’t you tell me what you were really doing here, and why former Director Sheppard allowed it?”
Ziva blinked. “I…”
“If you’re about to tell me you do not have to answer our questions,” Bromwell reminded, “let me remind you, you are currently an American citizen and an agent of NCIS, and you do, in fact, have to answer our questions. Though you may, of course, request a representative at any time.”
Ziva scoffed and looked down at the table. “Jenny was a friend. She knew I wanted to leave Israel, wanted…away. She helped.”
Bromwell hummed and looked over at Filsihni, who was staring at Ziva in that calculating way she usually reserved for experiments. “Why did she place you on the MCRT?”
“I wanted…a chance…a new life,” Ziva said. She looked up at Bromwell, and her look said she was trying to implore him to believe him that she had been desperate for a new start. He turned back to his paperwork.
“Agent David, you want us to believe that you came here, to the US, to NCIS, because you wanted away from Mossad, away from your father. That Jenny placed you not in a job with the Middle eastern desk, or with Counter-Intel, where you could actually be of use to this agency, but on the Major Case Response Team, where you have zero investigative experience and would need training, and where you have very muddy waters, as far as evidence handling, system access, and other requirements for the job? Explain to me how that makes sense for the director of this agency?” Sam Filsihni leaned forward a bit. “When you are finished with that, you can explain how, even though per your own statement here today, you were seeking escape from Mossad and your father, you contacted him three separate times in the first month you were here. Using NCIS resources for those calls, and that following each one of those contacts there was an AFT sent, authorized by Agents Marks and Roberts, both of whom worked the Middle East desk at that time. “
“I do not know who those agents are. Have they worked on cases with my team?”
“No, they have not,” Bromwell said.
“How would I know what they did, or authorized, and what is this ATF?” Ziva asked.
Bromwell watched. She appeared irritated with the questions, and she no doubt was, but she also seemed a bit nervous. She probably hadn’t expected questions about the AFT’s or events from so long ago. “Assured File Transfer. It’s what we call it when data is transferred from one system to another.”
“You already know that,” Filsihni said confidently. She handed over several pieces of paper over to Ziva. “Here are the forms authorizing the transfer of the data. There, at the bottom, are the signatures of the individuals who are verifying they have validated the data itself, and it’s classification level. Agent Maxwell Roberts signed two of these and Agent Daniel Marks a third, according to the form. However, you will notice a couple of similarities in the signatures. And here, is a separate form, with samples for Marks and Roberts signatures for comparison. As you can see, not the same.”
“What are you accusing me of?” Ziva snarled.
“Normally, I’d be accusing you of espionage.” Sam grinned. “But today’s your lucky day because someone was already onto you, and those files you tried to transfer? They were already sanitized before they left here.”
Ziva sat back, a frozen look on her face. “What are you…what…”
“So, again, I ask, tell me about how you came to the MCRT.”
Ziva frowned at her. “I did want away from Mossad.” She said. “But, I also wanted my father to be proud, so, I found information he might find useful.” She sighed. “As for how I came to NCIS, I don’t know. It was Jenny’s idea. By the time she had brought it up to me, she had already secured my father’s agreement. I’m sure they had an arrangement. That’s how my father works, but I was never told what it was.”
“Why were you placed on the MCRT?” Bromwell asked.
Ziva frowned. “Jenny wanted me to keep an eye on the team. Gibbs mostly, but she also wanted information on DiNozzo.”
Filsihni and Bromwell exchanged a look. “Did she tell you what she was after, or why she wanted them watched?”
“Not directly. It was clear her interest in Gibbs was personal, and I know she had something she didn’t want Gibbs involved in, but I don’t know what it was. As for DiNozzo, she just seemed weird about him.” Ziva waved it away. “I told her he was a wastrel and not to pay him attention, but she still had me watch him.”
Sam felt the sensor under the table vibrate and she looked to Zach.
“If you’ll excuse us for a moment. We may have some more questions.” Bromwell stood and moved towards the door.
Ziva looked at the two of them, confused, but watched them until they left the room.
FIlsihni and Bromwell met with Agent Brightman in their observation room. “I think we should wait to question her further until we can get someone from DSI here.”
“Someone other than DiNozzo you mean?” Bromwell asked slyly.
“Yes, someone impartial.” Brightman looked peeved for a minute but then just shook his head. “I put a call into Director Morrow. We’ll just wait. In the meantime, you can probably question Dr. Scuito.”
“Oh, joy.” Filsihni sighed.