High Life

Dinner With Spies

May 27, 2017

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Dinner With Spies

Although both guilt and innocence fascinate me, I’m not so sure there is such a thing as redemption. I know, it sounds very unchristian, but there you have it. For me, bad guys remain bad, and good guys ditto. In the meantime, I didn’t make it to Rupert Deen’s memorial service, nor that of my first Spectator editor, Alexander Chancellor—two friends not known for feeling too guilty, nor for their innocence, come to think of it. I’m still in the Bagel and need to stay because at my advanced age I’m finishing the last part of a TV show, or perhaps a film (as yet untitled, about two pre-embalmed society figures), produced by Graydon Carter, the VF honcho and Donald Trump’s leading cheerleader.

Mind you, those friends who have met the man in the white suit could do worse than have my old boss, Algy Cluff, pay tribute to them. Reminiscing about Rupert, Algy brought the house of God down with his icy, Jeeves-like wit about Deen and his family. It seems Rupert’s mother was a replica of Mrs. Wilberforce from The Ladykillers, rather absentmindedly greeting Christine Keeler when she arrived at the Deen house in the South of France in the middle of the scandal. Rupert’s father was just like Rupert, without a scintilla of ambition in his body. He once spent seven days in his room alone trying to remember the combination to his safe, refusing all food and drink. Finally, eureka! The number was 1234.

Rupert Deen was lazy but not too lazy to organize a cruise and invite all his good friends, of which he had many. The fact that the guests had to pony up for the cruise once they were afloat was neither here nor there. One time Rupert went to see Algy because the situation was very bad. Insolvency was knocking rather loudly at his door, so the oilman and ex–Spectator chairman had to throw caution to the wind. The day after, crossing Pont Street, our ex-chairman was almost killed by a speeding but gleaming brand-new Porsche purchased the day before by Rupert Deen.

“The spook favorite: Steve Bannon, who happens to be my No. 1 also.”

I met Rupert very long ago, when he was tripping the light fantastic with Lady Charlotte Curzon, just about the time when he was interviewed by a BBC hack about the strikes of the Heath era and when he uttered his most famous words, something about pheasants being bred to be shot and miners being born to live underground. Once repeated by the BBC, his words helped Harold Wilson win a squeaker.

Otherwise, things are hunky-dory. Last week I had dinner with about ten spooks, ex–CIA men and other secret services, and managed to get rather high while listening to some of the tales. Basically they were unloading their frustrations with the Deep State. But aren’t you the Deep State? I asked one of them. I used to be, now I’m retired. According to the spooks, the bad guys are senators McCain and Edwards from the Republican side, all the Democrats, and from the Trump camp Dina Powell, Reince Priebus, and the Kushner son-in-law. The spook favorite: Steve Bannon, who happens to be my No. 1 also.

I imagine the business of spying makes one a bit paranoid at times, and many of the Trump circle were called Saudi and Israeli agents, and yet… Saudis and Israelis are known to have bribed and subverted Washington like no others, and when we think what these two countries are doing and getting away with, I certainly see the spies’ point. Next Monday, May 29, will be John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday, one he obviously did not live to see, thanks to what my spook buddies claim to have been an inside job. I remember that awful day well. JFK was having it off with Liz, Pam, and a French youngster by the name of…better not, she’s still around. The trouble with the French gal was that she would refuse to leave the White House once serviced by the president. Her uncle, Hervé Alphand, was French ambassador to Washington, and believe it or not, he asked me to give her a lecture. (She was a regular visitor to the White House and regularly made a scene when asked to clear the decks.) That’s one assignment I dodged, and soon after she was dispatched back to Paris, where she had a very good time for a short while with a young Taki. Her favorite song went “She wore an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini…”

Well, now we have the Russian question, one invented, according to the spooks, by John Brennan, ex-head of the CIA and a very bad guy. The spies called him a Saudi whore. And they insisted that Dick Cheney has a large mine to his name in the Golan Heights, a very profitable mine. Nothing a piece of shit like Cheney does would surprise me. What does surprise me is how much honesty in media has changed. Inventing that Trump spilled highly classified information in a meeting with top Russian diplomats is now standard procedure for The New York Times and The Washington Post. Then the invention is confirmed by the public editor, one Liz Spayd, in highfalutin and pompous language worthy of any yellow newspaper in Athens or Istanbul. The spooks may be right. Everyone’s a crook over here.

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