Sometimes There’s Just One Coincidence Too Many
How many times does something odd “just happen” before anybody dares to notice publicly?
One of the most cited quotes regarding counterintelligence comes from Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel Goldfinger: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.” Fleming knew quite a bit about real-world espionage, based on his spooky service with Royal Navy intelligence during the Second World War, some of which wound up in his celebrated James Bond novels. That the quote comes not from 007 but his nemesis Auric Goldfinger, the metallurgically obsessed Soviet spy, takes nothing away since counterintelligence professionals really think like that. I’ve seen that quote, framed on the wall, in more than one office belonging to a senior counterspy in Washington, DC.
Sometimes Fleming’s aphorism turns out to be disturbingly accurate. The mega-scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein after his death in federal custody in August 2019 under mysterious circumstances seems destined to never quite go away, yet neither will it be resolved in any meaningful way. Instead, we face years of sordid revelations, mostly minor, which customarily raise more questions about Epstein’s clandestine criminal operation than they truly answer. Exactly how many rich, powerful, and famous VIPs had hidden relationships with the conveniently dead wealthy pedophile and procurer to the stars, it seems we will never know.
One month ago, we learned that William J. Burns, who has served as the CIA director since early 2021, was yet another connected member of our incestuous elite who just happened to have met Epstein in 2014, on several occasions, ostensibly to obtain career transition advice from the registered sex offender. This is a strange story, to put it mildly. As this newsletter reported:
Burns was a well-regarded top diplomat (and the first career diplomat to head CIA). We don’t know what career advice Epstein shared with Burns, nor if Epstein had anything to do with Burns getting his plum gig at the Carnegie Endowment. But that also misses the point. Why did a highly connected senior diplomat, regarded as one of Washington’s “best and brightest” of his generation, turn to a registered sex offender for career advice? Did Burns not know any financial machers who weren’t pedophiles?
There are two possibilities. One, Burns knew who Epstein was and simply didn’t care that he was a criminal and registered sex offender. Which hardly speaks well for Burns’ judgement or moral compass. Or, Burns never bothered to Google or check the Wikipedia page for the mysterious sort-of Wall Street super-rich guy he scheduled multiple career counseling sessions with. Such willfully careless ignorance fails Spook School 101 and stands as an instant disqualifier to lead the CIA.
For the curious, Langley went for the second explanation, that Burns had just no idea who Epstein was, which makes one wonder why the number-two official at the State Department solicited career advice from someone he knew nothing about. Top Secret Umbra called for Burns to resign as the head of CIA, no matter what was really going between himself and Epstein, since “The appearance alone is sufficient to send conspiracy-mongers into spasms for decades to come,” but that hasn’t happened, of course.