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In answering vojta's question, I've stumbled across another:

What happened to the other two AGRA drives in The Six Thatchers?

It was explained that the other two agents were captured or killed, but was it revealed what happened to their AGRA drives?: which we know they carried on them at all times.

They can't be too thoroughly hidden, not only due to their size, but as implied by AJ's frantic concealment of his within a bust: He knew it would be found.

If the drives were uncovered and read by enemy agents, their identities would be compromised... the reason this information wasn't leaked or used against the government can easily be brushed aside by the realization that the Georgian terrorists are working with Norbury. But Ajay doesn't know that at this point?

If he has been locked up for 6 years and believes his captors to have access to the compromised AGRA files for this time, doesn't that make them basically useless to him? If, from his perspective, Mary is the traitor and was working with the terrorists, wouldn't they have tipped her off that he had escaped?

So many plotholes. So many questions.

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    Was it actually said that they all carry their memory sticks with them at all times? Ajay clearly had his on him during the failed mission, but is that enough to conclude that the others did as well? – Oliver_C Jan 4 '17 at 17:14
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As Mary held onto her AGRA drive, and AJ hid his inside the bust, this leaves only two more unaccounted for. It isn't confirmed what happened to them, but we can possibly make assumptions:

  • They were hidden/destroyed

AJ goes to great lengths to conceal his drive to ensure it doesn't end up in the wrong hands. After the hostage situation went south, the other two may have gone to the same lengths, hiding the drives or destroying them entirely, believing that they weren't going to survive the situation.

The other two members may not have had the opportunity to destroy/hide their own drives, but they still could have been damaged or destroyed in the firefight, or could have been hidden in the lining of their clothes so that the terrorists never found the other two drives.

  • They couldn't decrypt them

AGRA were an elite squad, probably up to date not only with field ops but also cyber security. They worked frequently for the British government, as well as other high profile clients, so they would have been thoroughly vetted to ensure that any data they had (such as previous missions) was well protected. This would mean the Georgians may not have been able to access the information even if they were able to capture the other two drives.

Even though Sherlock was able to decrypt the drive he got from the Thatcher bust, he had an extra 6 years of technology advancements and his own genius and connections to do it with. Seeing as the terrorists got bored with their prisoners and threw AJ in a prison, they may have also got bored with trying to decrypt the drive and simply stopped trying to access it.

  • They had no idea what they were

The drives were, after all, pretty rudimentary USB sticks with a few initials scrawled on them. Considering that the Georgian's task was to just kill them to prevent them rescuing the hostages, they may not have realized how significant they were. The only people who knew definitively what was on them were the AGRA members, and as AJ said to Mary; they weren't tortured for information, just for the fun of it.

It's also possible that the Mole never told the terrorists that they were a freelance hit squad, she may have just said that they were British agents, in which case they would have no reason to believe that they would be carrying around sensitive information on their person, so never bothered to thoroughly search their possessions or dig into the drives, thinking that any data they would contain would be worthless to them.

  • They were ordered to destroy any that they found

Considering that the Mole was sending them into the embassy specifically to get them killed and cover up all of the missions that she sent them on for other people, she may have just told the Georgians to kill the four of them and destroy anything they found on them in order to ensure nothing could be traced back to her.

Considering that she basically warned the terrorists for free exactly when they would be attacked, allowing them to set the trap for the AGRA members to walk into, getting them to destroy the drives would be an incredibly small payment.


I think it's safe to assume that AJ knew the AGRA files had not been retrieved by his captors, or at least suspected that fact, because he was still in jail. I'm guessing that he would have assumed had anyone managed to access the files he would have been ransomed or killed, so at least suspected he would find his original drive in the bust he had hidden it in: he just had to locate the correct bust.

As for using it to find Mary: he had nowhere else to start. Whether she knew he was coming or not, it was the only clue he had to find her. The irony is, had he found the drive, he probably wouldn't have been able to use it to locate her, as she wasn't using one of her previous aliases by then: she had built an entirely new one. He managed to eventually find her by tracking Sherlock once he knew that they knew each other.

Of course all of this answer is speculation, but it could possibly explain something that the writers appear to have overlooked.

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    Hmm, interesting answer, not sure I can agree with the follow through of your logic in some parts though. If Sherlock could decrypt one in a few hours, the terrorists had 6 years. Why wouldn't the terrorists be interested in 3 identical USB drives found on their three captured targets? and once decrypted, the intel inside contained more than just their alias' .. it was their entire operational history: which damned anyone with dealings with a black ops merc squad: UK gov. included. Sorry, none of these hold with me. – John Smith Optional Jan 4 '17 at 16:20
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    @JohnSmithOptional I think you may be massively overestimating the Georgian terrorists if you think that they can compete with Sherlock. But I'll edit my answer a little to address the issues. – Mike.C.Ford Jan 4 '17 at 16:36
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    If they had encryption, then the real question is how Sherlock could have "taken a cursory look" at the drive before confronting Mary. – apnorton Jan 4 '17 at 16:44
  • I don't think anyone would purposefully disregard potential intel, particularly an organisation that's effective enough to lay siege to an embassy and get away with it. The decryption still isn't washing; A. They don't seem to have been encrypted and B. 6 years vs. a few hours is huge, no matter how smart/what resources Sherlock had access to. But the last one is still missing the point: AJ doesn't know about the Mole. he thinks It's Mary: and if Mary knows the USB has been compromised, she would burn her legend: WHICH SHE DID. The USB is useless. AJ only found her because of Sherlock. – John Smith Optional Jan 4 '17 at 18:25
  • @JohnSmithOptional Ah, I didn't see the secondary questions in the body of the text. I'll address them now. – Mike.C.Ford Jan 5 '17 at 9:40

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