- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

War was breaking out on two fronts on the Israeli border Wednesday evening as Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon stood in a well-appointed District living room calmly introducing the author of a trilogy of international thrillers.

“His wife was my best friend in high school,” he said, smiling, of his personal connection with Israeli-born author-lawyer Haggai Carmon and Mr. Carmon’s wife and law partner, Rakeffetcq Web had compelled him to break away from the day’s consultations and media barrage. Coincidence or not, among guests at the party, co-hosted by Judith Terra with Mr. Ayalon and his wife, Anne, in Mrs. Terra’s home, were media luminaries Bill Schneider of CNN and the National Journal and PBS’ Margaret Warner.

Mr. Carmon is a New York-based consultant for the Department of Justice who investigates, among other matters, underground money transfers abroad. (Sound familiar?) Another star of the night was David Epstein—, Mr. Carmon’s former boss at the department’s litigation arm, who is one of the characters in Mr. Carmon’s novels. The books feature an Israeli James Bond figure, a former member of Mossad named Dan Gordon, whose operations — not too coincidentally — resemble many of those in Mr. Carmon’s present life.

The title of two of the books published to date in this country by Steerforth Press are “The Red Syndrome” and “Triple Identity.” (Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, requires its members to have three noms de plume or maybe these days they are noms de guerre.) With the news of the moment seemingly stranger than fiction, how does a novelist compete?

“Some episodes [in the books] actually happened,” Mr. Carmon confessed between handshakes and greetings from dozens of friends and well-wishers who had turned out on a sultry rain-soaked night to offer congratulations and commiserate with a hostess fighting the humidity. He disguised details, of course, he said, referring to the “sensitive” nature of his job and his routine dealings with Europe’s Interpol.

Mr. Epstein took playful umbrage in front of the crowd with his disguise as “David Stone,” a schlumpy bureaucrat in the “International Asset Recovery” office who wears out-of-date clothing but nevertheless “has a way of being a hero.” Robert Hollis, Mr. Epstein’s successor as director of foreign litigation at the Justice Department, looked on in amusement.

Mr. Ayalon’s remarks on… what he termed with understatement “a heck of a day” introduced a sobering note to the scene. “There is a lot of work to be done, and a lot of work being done,” he cautioned. “We are really in a war, and we will have to restore calm and stability to the region.”

One thing he did not want to take off his calendar at such a hectic time was the party for Mr. Carmon, whom he praised as “a guy who has always been behind the scenes. a good writer but also a strategist and planner,” especially in dealing with terrorism’s networks, and someone “appointed as a result to represent America’s interests in many areas.”

“I’m writing about history,” Mr. Carmon replied graciously to the Israeli diplomat, “but you are making it.”


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