During episode #1850 of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” released on July 29, podcaster and comedian Joe Rogan made a powerful claim about convicted, and now deceased, sexual abuser and trafficker of women and children, Jeffrey Epstein.
Rogan said, “Whoever was running it — whether it was the Mossad, or whether it was CIA, or whether it was a combination of both — it was an intelligence operation. They were bringing in people and compromising them.”
This statement gained national media attention, and I thought to myself, “Has anyone ever asked the CIA directly whether Epstein was involved with it?”
The question isn’t beyond the pale, and many have considered the idea both publicly and privately over the years. Eric Weinstein, physicist, podcaster, and managing director of Thiel Capital, has repeatedly asked about connections between Jeffrey Epstein and intelligence communities.
“It’s been about 20 years that I have been saying Epstein was a construct of the intelligence community," Weinstein tweeted on August 2 in response to the New York Post article about Rogan’s statement. "I want to know if I have been wrong for two decades. What I do know is that I have never seen a single story directly debunking this. Which, if you think about it ...”
Back in February 2020, Weinstein had likewise tweeted, “Could any one of the journalists following me call up the CIA, NSA and State Department spokespeople and ask 'Was Jeffrey Epstein known to the US government to be a pedophile with ties to *any* foreign or domestic intelligence agency?' and simply print *whatever* happens next?”
On Father’s Day of this year, he took to Twitter again, encouraging people to keep the pressure on and demand answers.
“One wish for Father’s Day: That every Dad [w/a] daughter ask one simple question: 'Why are our news organizations not asking whether Jeffrey Epstein was a state sponsored Intelligence agent of one or more nations whose trafficking of little kids was protected as ‘Sources&Methods'?'”
Members of the press have also explored whether Epstein's infamous human trafficking operation had ties to government organizations. On July 15, 2021, Rolling Stone published a piece called, “Was Jeffrey Epstein a Spy?”
Even an attorney for Epstein trafficking survivor Virginia Giuffre asked Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell about these connections during a 2016 deposition. Maxwell responded that she had “no recollection.”
This time, I decided to take the question directly to the CIA myself. My initial email to the CIA Office of Public Affairs asked about the statement from Joe Rogan specifically and said, “I only have one question, does the CIA use human trafficking or child sexual exploitation in any way as part of any US intelligence operations?”
I received a response requesting that I call and ask the question over the phone. I politely asked for a written response. The agency returned with a statement from CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp: “This suggestion is not only unequivocally false, but absurd and offensive to the CIA officers who risk their lives every day to defend the American people.”
I replied, “This is great news to hear something so unequivocal! Am I therefore to understand by the strength of your response that no members of any of the US intelligence sub-communities would knowingly allow an intelligence asset of any nation to knowingly engage in human trafficking or child sexual exploitation on American soil?“
This was their final reply: “As a matter of policy and US law, CIA promptly reports any such crimes of which it becomes aware to US law enforcement authorities. We stand strongly behind the below statement. For any queries regarding members of the US Intelligence Community beyond CIA, we would refer you to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.”
CIA spokesperson Tammy Thorp may have found the inquiry “absurd and offensive,” but I find many actions taken by her organization to be abhorrent and offensive. The CIA has been known to use torture tactics, inflame wars and unrest, experiment on citizens, and more, causing despair in the name of national security — Google Operation CONDOR, if you have doubts. I don’t think that it’s beyond the realm of possibility that the CIA would use children or adults for exploitation in this way. The American people deserve an answer.
The CIA also has a history of sex crimes against children within its own ranks. On December 1, 2021, Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier published a piece for BuzzFeed News entitled, “Secret CIA Files Say Staffers Committed Sex Crimes Involving Children.” This piece has haunted me and left me with more questions than answers. If the CIA is not defending child sexual abuse survivors, then what are they defending?
I’m not the only individual who has had these questions about the CIA/Epstein/child sexual exploitation link. Eric Weinstein, who admits that he met Epstein years ago, has been asking, as has Rolling Stone, Zachary Rogers of the National Desk, and now Joe Rogan. And the CIA has never adequately responded to any of their questions or speculation. I’m a survivor of human trafficking myself, so I am eager to find the truth.
Intelligence communities use the umbrella of national defense both to justify unsavory tactics to gather information and to obscure what those tactics are. If we are a nation that allows the torture, abuse, and death of innocent people, what is it we are really defending? The American people deserve transparency about what is being done in their name and the assurance that their national values are being upheld within the organizations that are tasked with defending them.
As long as the government remains reluctant to publicly share details of the Epstein case — including co-conspirators, clients, and intelligence community involvement — we will keep asking these questions. From public figures like Joe Rogan and Eric Weinstein to trafficking survivors like myself, we will not be silent and we will not give up.
Eliza Bleu is a survivor advocate for those effected by human trafficking. She is also a survivor of human trafficking. She is the host of Eliza Bleu Podcast.