Karla's mole

Karla's mole

On Tuesday, the heads of the FBI, CIA, and the director of national intelligence got up in front of Congress and pissed all over Donald Trump’s parade.

Under questioning, they laid out that Russia and China were the main threats to US national security, and that as of now Iran was keeping up its end of the bargain as to nuclear proliferation, a bargain which Trump crumpled up and threw away.

Trump, of course, went off the rails, insulting these professionals and again averring that only he was right.

In John Le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, spy-catcher George Smiley is pulled out of retirement to ferret out a double agent at the heart of British intelligence. The Soviet spymaster running this mole is known in the book only as “Karla”.

In the book, both Karla and the mole are experts at deceit. In our own real-life version, Karla is a failed KGB officer who nevertheless has been able to assume leadership over an entire nation, and the mole is a failed game show host who, with Karla’s help and the apathy of too many of our citizens, was installed in the Oval Office. It would be farcical were the real-world consequences not so serious.

Last night, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote and posted a letter to the heads of the FBI, CIA, and DNI Coats, to “intervene” with Trump and make clear to him that him undercutting his intelligence agencies threatens American power and influence. Of course, Trump cares nothing for that.

Trump is circling the drain, and his only concern is base survival. He has spent a lifetime lying to people that he’s the smartest guy in the room. Now that it’s caught up to him, he has no plan B. Conning and scamming are all that he knows. He thought that if he could con and scam the rubes who voted for him, that he could do so to anyone. He can’t comprehend that 65% of the country is against him. He can’t fathom that his skills were more bark than bite.

But the fact of the matter is that Vladimir Putin has a mole right at the apex of American power. And this week we learned from the Financial Times that he and Trump had a secret tête-à-tête at the G-20 in Argentina this past November, after Trump made a big show of canceling any meeting with Putin. One can only surmise that Putin summoned his minion in fury, apoplectic that he would dare cancel his debriefing. And the only other person in the room with Trump wasn’t a translator, wasn’t an official, but his wife, Melania. Which does nothing to dispel the jokes that she’s his case-agent.

Meanwhile, we have our own George Smiley, in the form of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Much like Smiley, he’s anonymous, not revealing his plans save via indictments and court filings. He’s the only one who lives up to the grandeur of the book.

As Yeats wrote, some rough beast is slouching towards Bethlehem. Trump will fall. The question is how many of us he takes with him.



Like what you read? Chip in, keep us going.


On His Shoulders

On His Shoulders

Open thread—An actual break in the action

Open thread—An actual break in the action