According to the official narrative, on Aug. 10, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire playboy charged with sex-trafficking minors, committed suicide in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. Only a third of Americans actually believe this narrative, according to polling.

What’s captured the public’s attention is the combination of Epstein’s apparent rapidly acquired wealth with three other key factors: sex trafficking of minors, extensive surveillance equipment on his properties, and the politically powerful people with whom he consorted.

Epstein started out as a teacher at the prestigious Dalton School. After being dismissed for poor performance, he was hired by Bear Stearns in 1976 as a junior assistant to a floor trader and shot up through the ranks. In four years, Epstein made partner. In 1981 he left to start his own money-management firm exclusively for billionaires. By 2000, Epstein was a billionaire himself.

In 2005, a woman contacted the Palm Beach Police Department alleging that her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been lured to Epstein’s local mansion to strip and give him a massage. As the investigation commenced, prosecutors for the Southern District of Florida allegedly had identified 36 other potential victims. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald “identified as many as 80 alleged victims.”

On June 30, 2008, Epstein was sentenced, but to a mere 13 months in prison for solicitation of prostitution, after getting a sweetheart plea deal through the efforts of his high-profile lawyers, including Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. Former U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta was the government attorney who arranged the deal. When asked about Epstein, Acosta stated in an interview with the Trump transition team, “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.”

Between 2008 and 2019, multiple lawsuits were filed against both Jeffrey Epstein and his close companion Ghislaine Maxwell. The lawsuits claimed a general pattern: Early-teen girls were recruited or lured onto one of Epstein’s properties (such as Little St. James Island—otherwise known as “Pedophile Island” or “Orgy Island”) and then sexually assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, or both. Some of the girls claim they were held as slaves and “shared” with wealthy and powerful individuals.

After Epstein was arrested again for sex trafficking crimes on July 6, 2019, authorities reported they found in Epstein’s locked safe “compact discs with hand-written labels including the following: ‘Young [Name] + [Name],’ ‘Misc nudes 1,’ and ‘Girl pics nudes.’” This disclosure gave credence to the reports that Epstein had his properties heavily surveilled, with cameras and microphones nearly everywhere.

The list of individuals who have flown on Epstein’s private jet the “Lolita Express,” who have visited “Pedophile Island,” or who have been otherwise associated with him is a who’s-who of the super-rich, celebrities, and—most importantly—elected officials, even U.S. presidents such as Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

One connection that has further raised suspicion that Epstein was not who he portrayed himself to be is his near-constant companion Ghislaine Maxwell. Ghislaine’s father was Robert Maxwell, known as “Israel’s super spy.” Another individual linked by degrees to Epstein and some of his cohorts is Roy Cohn, who was also deeply connected to the intelligence world and admitted to purposely compromising politicians by arranging for them to have sex with minors.

Americans sense the gravity of the Epstein case. The enigma of his life, wealth, associates, intrigues, and death all point to something more sinister than just sexual trafficking and abuse of early-teen girls—as sinister as those things are on their own. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots and come to the conclusion that a surprising number of America’s rich and powerful could easily have been ensnared in an intelligence “honeypot” operation designed to give power to darker, covert forces.

There are serious questions here that need answers. Who was behind Epstein? The CIA? Mossad? Both? Who was captured in these compromising acts? And, finally, is it possible that we’ve had government-by-blackmail for decades?