“How interesting,” April said. “Lee Anderson has hired the very same private investigators we use in Armstrong to run a series of inquiries on us.”
“I knew she wasn’t stupid,” Dakota said. “And Marsh and Hasan are the best in the business. I give her points for zeroing in on them to hire. My only concern is the conflict of interest. They shouldn’t have taken her money if they can’t do their assignment properly, and they certainly shouldn’t tell you that they were approached even if they do have to turn her down. You could reasonably conclude they will simply hire someone else and be alerted to their interest.”
“They didn’t tell me, I have others watching them. I think the key word is what you said, properly. The assignment reads to find and sort all public information and interview third parties. However they were told specifically not to try to breach our privacy, data systems, or suborn present or past employees. They may well conclude that puts them in no conflict with their duty to us.”
“They should have just hired a clipping service and asked them to do a search back to such and such a date,” Dakota said. “It would be a lot cheaper.”
“But the mentality is very different,” April said. “An investigator will tell much different things than a simple data sorter. For example they will inform a client what data is missing and why it’s absence is significant. No keyboard drone searching databases is going to analyze things in that depth. She was smart to hire their sort as well as data searchers.”
“Yes, but they will have to be theologians to sort out the moral imperatives from such an assignment,” Dakota warned. “I’d certainly not be confident I could to look at everything they know about us and decide what is public and searchable and what they only could know about from our relationship. I don’t consider myself a candidate for sainthood to be so flawlessly impartial.”
“I can see how to do it,” April admitted. “Just hire a promising new investigator and turn him loose on the problem with resources, but no access to their own files.”
“But . . . you’ve just hobbled him to do that,” Dakota objected.
“That’s all Lee’s paying for, and all she’d get elsewhere,” April pointed out.
“Did you think of that twisted devious thing all on your own? Or has Marsh and Hasan hired a new associate who might be used that way?” Dakota asked.
“I thought of it on my own,” April said. “But they do have a request out to several recruiters to find a new investigator. And it’s their first hire in over six months, so that’s sort of suspicious.”
“Are you going to quietly drop them?” Dakota wondered.
“Why? Because they could treat us badly?” April asked. “They’ve always had plenty of opportunity to be crooked with us. I don’t feel right to fire them unless they actually do something wrong. It’ll be interesting to watch.”
“You know . . . You could feed them misinformation or deliberately leak selected bits of information back to them,” Dakota suggested.
April smiled amused. “And you think I’m devious?” she asked Dakota.
* * *