The shocking and sordid case of Jeffrey Epstein — the multi-millionaire confessed pedophile who has counted Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and many other powerful individuals among his friends — took a bizarre twist on Wednesday when United States Labor Secretary Alex Acosta gave a strangely evasive answer to a question about whether Epstein had connections to intelligence agencies, as Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported.
Acosta served as United States Attorney in Miami, Florida, in 2008 when his own office hit Epstein with a 53-page indictment accusing the jet-setting financier of sex trafficking underage girls, as well as raping minors himself. But as The Miami Herald revealed in a major investigative report last year, Acosta struck a “non-prosecution” agreement that imposed an extraordinarily light sentence on Epstein — and failed to inform Epstein’s victims that he would not be prosecuted for his alleged crimes against them.
On Wednesday, Acosta — reportedly at the urging of Trump himself, according to CNBC — held a press briefing to offer his own explanation for his extreme leniency toward Epstein. In that press conference, he was asked an unexpected question.
The question appears to have been sparked by a Daily Beast report published on Tuesday. According to the report, during his vetting by the Trump administration, Acosta revealed that he was told to “leave it alone,” referring to the Epstein case. Why? Because Epstein “belonged to intelligence,” Acosta said in the interview with Trump administration officials.
Acosta was asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether Epstein was an intelligence asset of some kind. The Labor Secretary’s answer simply dodged the question, according to Raw Story.
“So there has been reporting to that effect and let me say, there’s been reporting to a lot of effects in this case, not just now but over the years and, again, I would hesitant [sic] to take this reporting as fact,” Acosta said.
Writing in The Observer newspaper, former National Security Agency counterintelligence officer John Schindler called Acosta’s answer “a non-denial denial of an epic kind.” In fact, Schindler added, Acosta “functionally admitted” that the allegations of Epstein’s intelligence connections are true.
But Schindler believes that Epstein was not a spy for any American intelligence agency, because according to Schindler, U.S. intelligence would not permit as “asset” to operate a child sex trafficking ring for years at a time.
Instead, Schindler said that “it seems awfully coincidental that Epstein’s best pal and business partner for decades has been Ghislaine Maxwell.” Maxwell is the daughter of deceased British media mogul Robert Maxwell, who died in 1991 under unclear circumstances, but who was reported by The Guardian to have worked for the KGB. Maxwell was also suspected of connections to Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad.
“Since the lines between Russian intelligence, Israeli intelligence and organized crime can get remarkably blurry in practice,” Schindler wrote, “assessing whom Epstein’s been working for may prove difficult to answer.” But starting with the Russians and Israelis, “we have a suspect list.”