William Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency since 2021, is one of a growing list of famous people who met with Jeffrey Epstein years after he became a convicted sex offender, according to thousands of pages of emails and schedules from 2013 to 2017 that were not previously reported.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Burns was serving as deputy secretary of state and preparing to leave government service when he met Epstein about 10 years ago. “The director did not know anything about him, other than that he was introduced as an expert in the financial services sector and offered general advice on transition to the private sector,” said CIA spokeswoman Tammy Kupperman Thorp. “They had no relationship.”
Epstein was accused in 2006 of sexually abusing girls as young as 14 in Florida. The FBI and police investigated, and Epstein made a deal with prosecutors in 2008 that allowed him to plead guilty to soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution, avoiding federal charges. Epstein registered as a sex offender and served about 13 months in a work-release program.
At the time, some politicians and other Epstein associates cut ties with him. His bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., said it closed his accounts in 2013 but his private banker, Jes Staley, continued meeting with Epstein until 2015.
In 2019, prosecutors charged Epstein with a sex trafficking conspiracy after the Miami Herald reported that dozens of women said they were abused. Epstein died in a New York jail in 2019 while awaiting trial. While his death was reported as a suicide, this has been disputed by some who believe Epstein’s many famous friends and associates stood to be exposed if his case went to trial.
Burns was a 67-year-old career diplomat and former ambassador to Russia when he met with Epstein in 2014, WSJ reported.
A lunch was planned in August 2014 at the office of law firm Steptoe & Johnson in Washington. Epstein also scheduled two evening appointments in September with Burns at his townhouse, according to documents. After one of the scheduled meetings, Epstein planned for his driver to take Burns to the airport.
Burns remembered being introduced in Washington by a mutual friend, and meeting Epstein once briefly in New York, Thorp said. “The director does not recall any further contact, including receiving a ride to the airport,” she said.
In October 2014, Burns stepped down from the State Department to work as president of a think tank, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which he ran until President Joe Biden nominated him in early 2021 to serve as CIA director.
Other names revealed in Epstein’s private calendar include meetings scheduled with Ariane de Rothschild (now chief executive of the Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild Group), Joshua Cooper Ramo (former co-chief executive of Henry Kissinger’s corporate consulting firm), Noam Chomsky (professor, author and political activist), Kathryn Ruemmler (a White House counsel under President Barack Obama), and Leon Botstein (president of Bard College).
None of their names appear in Epstein’s famous black book of contacts or in the public flight logs of passengers who traveled on his private jet, WSJ reported. The newspaper also couldn’t verify whether every scheduled meeting took place.
Epstein’s 92-page black book contained names linked to famous friends, associates and acquaintances including former President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Prince Andrew The Duke of York, New York Daily News former owner Mort Zuckerman, and actor-director Woody Allen.
The new WSJ report reveals contacts unknown until now. Some say they regret associating with Epstein or deny they knew about his criminal activities.
“Burns is certain to face scrutiny in Washington over his ties to Epstein, as well as his failure to disclose the relationship,” Chuck Ross wrote for the conservative political journalism website The Washington Free Beacon. “Links to Epstein have proved a liability for government officials and business leaders in the past.”