Master spy novelist John le Carre in Hamburg, 1964
You might be good, Mr. le Carre, but I think this one is even beyond YOUR imagination. The embryonic plot: A neophyte politician shocks the world and is actually elected President of the United States. He's strong in economic theory and practice, but has to depend on others to give him advice on foreign matters. But who?
Enter a former Navy SEAL, let's call him "Eric", working on behalf of the President-Elect, who travels quietly to The Seychelles, a small island archipelago in the Indian Ocean, to meet with a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Oooo....let's have the meeting be set up by a Middle Eastern Prince! The purpose of the meeting is to establish a "back channel for high level communications" between the two powerful leaders. Or is it?
Eric is adept at working in the shadows, having founded a "dark" para-military / security firm (something sinister sounding....Blackwater!) that makes him a fortune thanks to years of lucrative US government contracts. Some of it, say a quarter million dollars, is later donated to the campaign of the President-Elect. Oh, and to pique your interest even further, let's have Eric's multi-billionaire sister be the new President's Education Secretary, and a major campaign donor herself.
At about the same time, the President-Elect's National Security Adviser-designate, "Mike", a former
But Mike, after spending a career in national security and counterintelligence, somehow forgets (?) that the Russian Ambassador's phone is always tapped, and on one of his innocent calls he is recorded discussing with Sergey the possible removal of the crippling economic sanctions the US imposed on Russia after they invaded a neighbor. When his lie becomes known, Mike is dismissed by the new President after only 3 weeks on the job.
Still, the press, smelling there is more to Mike's past, keeps digging. They soon learn that while he is advising his neophyte American candidate (who was elected by promoting "America First"), Mike is accepting a half million dollars in remuneration for advising someone "close" to the autocratic leadership of Turkey, too. In fact, after an attempted coup in Turkey, Mike meets with senior Turkish representatives to suggest how the suspected coup leader, now residing in Pennsylvania, USA, could be quietly "removed" from the US without going through the proper American extradition process.
Mike is a surprisingly sloppy intelligence operative, failing to file the proper paperwork with the country whose uniform he wore for 33 years, as representing a foreign government. Mike also attends several events in Russia, having dinner seated right next to none other than the Russian President himself, while actually receiving $33,000 from the Russian government-controlled TV news outlet RT for his attendance.
Claiming innocence, Mike files his paperwork late, but fearing he (and his 6-figure military pension) might be in serious trouble, offers to tell all he knows about....he won't say exactly what....in exchange for legal immunity. (Should Mike now have a surrogate start his car for him? *boom!* Interesting subplot?)
Still another Presidential adviser, "Rock", no, even better, Roger "Stone" admits he met up numerous times with a known Russian spy years ago, but shared nothing of value, claiming he just thought his "friend" was part of the Russian UN delegation. Even though the Russian spy was recorded as saying he thought Mr. Stone was an "idiot", Roger is later brought on board to advise the new American President "how the world works."
Not enough....I need more intrigue? OK, so how about if the President's own son-in-law, "Jared" (no, not the Subway perv), a young real estate mogul of note, quietly meets with a Mr. Sergey Gorkov, Russian President Putin's hand-picked man to be the CEO of state-owned Vnesheconombank. Jared says it is to discuss personal banking matters, never mind that Vnesheconombank is itself on our officially sanctioned "do not touch" list. Sergey, however, apparently doesn't get the memo, and tells us all it was to discuss those same sanctions that General Mike somehow forgot to mention.
Shortly after, our lame duck President, in his last days in office, expels 30+ Russian diplomats as punishment for Russia's meddling in the recent American election. Vladimir Putin just smiles, looks the other way, and doesn't retaliate, greatly pleasing the new President-Elect.
Whew! Enough? OK, so how did the neophyte politician ever manage to get elected in the first place? By a stroke of supreme luck he manages to hire Paul, an accomplished political handler, away from ousted Ukrainian President (and confidant of Russia's Putin), Viktor Yanukovych. And just like that....Wah La....Hail To The Chief!
Now my mind is truly mush. I'm exhausted. I'll have to finish my work-in-progess after I get some much needed sleep. Maybe I can watch the news tomorrow and get some more inspiration. *wink*
Nite all. :)