Separation of Power

Dr. Irene Kennedy stood over the fresh mound of dirt and wept. It had been a small funeral; relatives and a few close friends. The others had already left the windswept cemetery, and were on their way back into town for a light lunch at an aunt's house. The forty year-old director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center wanted to spend a few moments alone at the grave of her mentor. Kennedy lifted her head and wiped the tears from her eyes as she took in the landscape. She ignored the biting chill of western South Dakota and let it all out. This would be her last chance to grieve so openly for the loss of the man who had taught her so much. After this it was back to Washington, and perhaps the greatest test of her life. During Stansfield's final days the director of the CIA had told her not to worry. He had made all the proper arrangements. She would take his place as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Kennedy did not relish the confirmation process that awaited her, but what really had her worried was measuring up to her old boss. He was the greatest man she had ever known.

Thomas Stansfield died on a cool fall morning surrounded by his children, grandchildren and Irene Kennedy. It was exactly as he'd wanted it to be. Just two weeks before his eightieth year, he wanted to go no further. Those last few days he had sat in his leather chair, a calm haze of morphine dulling both his mind and the stabbing pain of the cancer that was ravaging his insides. He stared out the window as the last of fall's leaves fell. This was the final autumn of his life. Thomas Stansfield's rise to the top of the Central Intelligence Agency was the stuff that legends were made of. Born near the town of Stoneville, South Dakota, in 1920, he came of age during two of his country's most difficult decades. The carefree days of his youth had been squelched by dry hot summers and apocalyptic dust storms that rose up from the southern plains and turned day into night. The Great Depression had taken its toll on the Stansfield family. One of his brothers, an uncle and several cousins had been lost along with two of the four grandparents.

Stansfield's parents had met in their teens, both fresh off the cattle cars that had sprinkled countless European immigrants across America in the years that followed World War I. His father was from Germany; his mother from Norway. Thomas Stansfield grew up mesmerized by the stories his parents and grandparents told of their homelands. He learned English in school, but at night by the fire it was the native languages of his parents and grandparents that was spoken. He excelled in school, and from an early age showed far less interest in farming than his brothers. He knew that someday he would return to Europe and explore his family's history. When he was given the chance at the age of seventeen to attend South Dakota State University on a full academic scholarship, he didn't hesitate.

College was not difficult for Stansfield. He majored in engineering and history and graduated at the top of his class. As the hot and hungry days of the thirties wound to a close Stansfield recognized something far more ominous on the horizon. While most of his classmates and professors were turned inward, obsessed with America's problems, Stansfield kept an eye on the rise of fascism in Europe. His intellect told him that something