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'The Quantum Supremacy' Concludes

Binary code

China’s Ministry of State Security and the Central Intelligence Agency are locked in a deadly battle of wits – from Muslim unrest in Xinjiang Province to the high-tech nerve center of US American intelligence at the National Security Agency. At stake is The Quantum Supremacy –  the biggest technological disruption of the century. This is the final installment from my spy thriller (Kindle edition). Read Part 1 hereRead Part 2 here. Read Part 3 hereRead Part 4 here. Read Part 5 here. Read Part 6 here. Read Part 7 here.

 

Chapter 21: Tying Up Loose Ends

Arzu and Muhemmet sat in handcuffs and ankle restraints in the basement of State Security headquarters outside Kargash. The MSS officer who had flown in from Urumqi stood over them, a lean man with a dark and thoughtful face. “You are terrorists and murderers,” the MSS man said calmly. “You have murdered a major in the State Security services, two policemen as well as another person. You will provide us with complete information about your CIA controllers and your terrorist networks.”

“Please, Your Honor,” Arzu said. “We have not murdered anyone. We do not know of any major. We have no networks. There is a young man called Mustafa who comes to see us sometimes and we make up stories to tell him to get money from him. We are honest businessmen who truck skins from Kyrgyzstan to a leather factory in Beijing and washing machines to Kyrgyzstan.”

“Do not bother to explain, Comrade Samedi. We know that you have a bank account in Istanbul with over 600,000 in US dollars, and we know that you have received visits from a CIA agent disguised as a tourist. You and your brother will be interrogated. I will now explain how the interrogation will proceed. You two will be placed in separate cells. We shall ask both of you the same question. If you both give the same answer, we shall ask another question. If you give different answers, we will hurt you. I can tell you from personal experience that no-one has ever held back the truth under this sort of questioning. You both can save yourselves a great deal of unpleasantness by telling the truth at the beginning, for you surely will tell the truth before very long.”

In fact, the interrogation lasted for 13 hours. “These barbarian terrorists show remarkable loyalty,” the lean man said to the sergeant who enhanced the interrogation. “They did not hesitate to betray their CIA contacts and to provide every detail about their contacts, their finances, their bank account in Istanbul, and their attempt to assist Chinese citizens in leaving the country by surreptitious means. But they refuse to identify their terrorist network. We know that they offered the services of a secret cell network to the CIA and that they claim to have weapons caches buried in the desert. But they insist that they invented the story. That’s a little hard to believe. Why would the CIA have spent so much money and effort to cultivate a network on nothing more than a fable told by a couple of truck drivers?”

“I don’t believe that they were lying,” the sergeant said. “I have conducted many interrogations and I do not believe that these men were capable of holding back information for so long and under so much stress. Men in pain will say what they think the interrogator wants to hear, but in this case, we had two sources with knowledge of the same people and events. Every time they invented something, one of them contradicted the other. I don’t think they have any information to give us. What shall we do with them?”

“I don’t have a lot of flexibility here,” said the MSS man from Urumqi. “We caught them red-handed in an attempt to smuggle people out of China. My superiors want to prove that this is part of a terrorist network with tendrils throughout Xinjiang, and we shall have to paint a picture according to the size of the frame. There is nothing to do but arrest their families and continue the interrogation in the same manner.”

Yu Yan Leung brought frozen dinners to her son’s apartment on 21st Street the next Sunday night. She sat next to Percy holding hands, exchanging messages in their secret code. Percival said, “I have something very important to tell you.” “I know,” said his mother. Percival squeezed out in Morse code:

Mommy is the best in the world

With a mom, you have the most valuable treasure

Jump into your mom’s heart

And you will find happiness

Mommy is the best in the world

Without your mom, you are like a blade of grass

Away from your mom’s heart

Where will you find happiness?

“世  上    只  有  妈 妈 好,” Yu Yan said. “I have something special for you.” She took his hand and tapped out in code, “We are going on an adventure.” That pleased Perceval enormously, although he had no idea what it might be.  He changed into a fresh shirt and a sports jacket and a blue wool coat. Yu Yan took her son’s arm, and they went to the street and hailed a cab. “Take us to George Washington University Hospital, please,” the woman said.

Two FBI agents waited in a car across the street and pulled out behind the cab. The agent riding shotgun radioed the team controller with the cab’s number. The team leader shouted the number to a young agent at a computer terminal, who logged into the taxi dispatcher’s system, and shouted back, “Panda is headed for George Washington University Hospital!” A second car was idling on 21st Street and picked up the taxi as it passed and then turned left onto 23rd Street. The controller barked, “Get every spare team to GWU Hospital and tell me who has eyes on Panda.”

As Yu Yan’s taxi continued south, a third car pulled in behind it while the second car passed the cab and took a forward position ten car-lengths ahead.  It entered Washington Circle and followed the cab onto New Hampshire Avenue. Before the cab driver could pull into the forecourt of the hospital on the left, Yu Yan said, “Keep going and take us to the Kennedy Center.” The driver shrugged and continued down New Hampshire and through the Triangle Park roundabout, and dropped them in front of the Center’s Concert Hall, with the advance FBI car 50 yards behind them.

Yu Yan took Percival by the hand and darted into the Kennedy Center as the FBI car pulled up. The agents abandoned the car and dashed after them. In a moment, they were blocked by half a dozen District of Columbia plainclothed policemen. “You can’t park there,” a burly cop shouted as he grabbed Agent Hernandez by the lapels. “This is a high-security zone.” Earlier that day the District of Columbia police had received a tip that terrorists were planning a car bomb attack that evening when the Beijing Symphony would play at the Kennedy Center. Men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns streamed past them and gave them wide berth; the Chinese Embassy would host a gala reception for the musicians after the concert and many Chinese-American notables had flown to Washington for the event.

“I’m Special Agent Hernandez of the FBI and we are in active pursuit of a suspect. Get the f* out of my way!” the FBI man shouted and tried to push his way through. The local plainclothesmen drew their Glocks and pointed them at the agents. “On your knees,” shouted the burly cop. Hernandez ignored him and opened his jacket to show the FBI ID on his belt. “Get on your f*ing knees!” the cop screamed and re-sighted his Glock at the FBI agent’s nose. Hernandez raised his hands and knelt. The cop examined it and said, “You should know better,” and Hernandez grabbed it back and dashed towards the main door.

Yu Yan and Percival darted through the dense crowd converging on the sold-out performance of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra. Yu Yan produced two tickets to the evening’s concert, and they entered the hall. They made their way quickly through the orchestra and disappeared into a small door to the left of the stage. A middle-aged Chinese man in workman’s overalls suit was waiting inside the door. He shepherded them through the backstage area, where the members of the Beijing Orchestra were removing instruments and sheet music from their cases, and out of the rear stage door. There were a dozen Ryder vans parked close to the entrance disgorging kettle-drums, xylophones, and other instruments. One van idled empty at the curb. The man in the overalls helped them into the back of the van and it sped off.

Half the audience at the Beijing Symphony event was Chinese. The two FBI agents in the tail car that followed Yu Yan and Percival past the GWU Hospital had called for backup, but for the moment they stood alone and bewildered, trying to find Panda in a crowd of Chinese faces.

After 20 years in the United States, Percival Leung was going home with nothing but the clothes on his back and the source code of the NSA’s cryptographic section in his memory. Yu Yan held his hand and tapped out, “My hero.” Percival didn’t understand; he only played with symbols. Yu Yan knew that if her son had tried to live a double life, the inquisitors would have caught him within weeks. He saw the world too simply to lie convincingly. Lying depends on understanding the responses of the belied and that is something Percival never would be able to do. But his memory was a treasure chest that she could bring home to China.

Chapter 22: A Double Deception

An elderly Princeton professor of comparative literature sat in his study correcting proofs a few nights later. He rose to answer the doorbell and admitted Paul Richetti. The old man smiled and walked his guest to the study, and opened a bottle of 21-year-old Oban. “You’re quite the conundrum,” the professor said. “You brought a high-level defector out of China, I hear, the biggest catch we’ve had in years. Langley can’t decide whether to promote you or fire you. ”

“I didn’t come to gloat,” Paul said. “We’ve got a problem.”

The professor sipped his Scotch and waited.

“I was supposed to exfiltrate a defector, a computer scientist who claimed that China had achieved quantum supremacy and could decode our encrypted cable traffic. The man was a fake, and operational exigency required me to kill him. The question is, why would the Chinese go to all the trouble?”

“My understanding,” the professor said carefully, “is that they wanted to find out how deeply we had penetrated the Uyghur separatist movement in Xinjiang. Apparently, we had contact with a network there, and the Chinese lured us into exposing it to bring the defector out of China. From what we hear, upwards of two hundred Uyghurs have been arrested and some have been shot. One cannot underestimate Chinese paranoia about the Uyghurs. The attack on Kunming Station in 2014 was a terrible embarrassment for the Communist Party. It can’t allow itself to be seen as weak and ineffective where terrorists are concerned.”

“That’s how they’ll read it at Langley,” Paul continued. “The Chinese won the first round by rolling up our field network, and we won one round two by bringing out a defector. But I don’t think that’s the whole story or even the most interesting party of the story. How did the Chinese decrypt our messages in the first place?”

“They had a mole, a Chinese-American computer programmer.”

“How do we know he was the mole?”

“He disappeared – slipped through the FBI’s fingers after a car chase through Washington.”

“Did we uncover the communications channel he supposedly used?”

“We don’t know the mechanics of it, yet. Counterintelligence had him under observation for months and found nothing. “

“Then why did he disappear just now? You can’t believe that this is a coincidence. And even if there was a mole, that wasn’t necessarily the source of the leaks,” Richetti said.

“What are you saying?”

“They can decrypt our communications.”

“What?”

“It’s a double deception. They made a straw man – a fake defection – to discredit the thesis that China had achieved quantum supremacy. But they have.”

The professor looked at Paul Richetti sharply, and said, “Don’t repeat what you just told me to anyone. Why in God’s name do you think they can do that? The whole quantum supremacy story was the McGuffin, an enticement to convince us to expose the Uyghur network – and it succeeded.”

“That’s what they want us to think,” Paul replied.

“Young Mr. Richetti,” intoned the professor, “I knew James Jesus Angleton. James Angleton was a friend of mine. And you, sir, are no James Angleton. You might just be as paranoid as he was. What’s your evidence?”

“My defector knew that they can decrypt our messages.”

“How can you be sure of that?”

“That’s how I blackmailed her into defecting. She’s a poison witch, a Ministry of State Security diehard. She hates us and will do anything she can to hurt us. She’s related by marriage to the government minister in charge of it. But she thinks that I set her up, by reporting her plans to defect in an encrypted CIA cable. That was a bluff, but she fell for it. I convinced her that my cable reporting her defection would convince her masters that she had blown their operation. Why would she care what I put in an encrypted CIA cable, unless she knew that the MSS could decrypt it? I convinced her that her masters would rather believe she had sold them out than believe that they had screwed up a major operation. She knows what happens to traitors in the basement of MSS HQ, so she decided that defection was the better part of valor. ”

The professor looked at him astonished.

“By the way, I killed four men in cold blood – a major in Chinese intelligence, a senior MSS operative, and two Chinese cops.”

“Five,” said professor.

“What do you mean?”

“You killed five men, including a security guard at the Zhongguancun mall.”

Paul stopped. “I didn’t know that. I didn’t mean to kill him.”

“Never mind that now. What are you trying to say?”

“Their female operative profiled me too slickly and came on to me too strong. I was supposed to be thinking with my little head instead of my big head and choked up about my mother’s death. I figured the whole thing for an MSS setup and came prepared. I didn’t know what I was going to find, but when I found it, I knew what it was. You were right, professor. I am cut out for a life of crime. “

“You infer,” the professor said, “that her reaction to the report that you had sent an encrypted message to the deputy director demonstrates that she knew the message would be intercepted and decrypted, and you further infer that this only could be the case if China had a functioning quantum computer that could break our codes.”

“Elementary, Watson,” Paul said. “She tumbled to my bluff.”

“Maybe she just liked you.”

“No chance. She’s the Snow Queen.”

“Let’s assume you’re right. The Chinese have achieved quantum supremacy. That would be the biggest breakthrough for Chinese science in the modern era, the sort of achievement they would want to brag about it. Why keep it under their hat? And why go to such elaborate lengths to misdirect us?”

“I thought about that, professor. May I suggest that you type the term ‘quantum surprise’ into a search engine? That is a nightmare scenario in which the Chinese achieve quantum supremacy and proceed to decrypt all our secrets and set a hundred secret research projects in motion. Suppose the Chinese made the grand announcement and told the world in so many words, ‘We’ve beaten the West, now we’re the best.’  The Russians used to go in for that kind of thing. They milked the launch of Sputnik for all the propaganda value they could. But it also woke America up. Eisenhower overruled the Pentagon and put Werner von Braun in charge of the space program, and spent huge amounts of money training engineers. In a few years, we were ahead of the Russians. The Russians like theatrics. The Chinese like results. The last thing they want is another Sputnik moment when they rub their superiority in our faces. They know what happens when America wakes up. The Japanese were stupid enough to wake us up in 1941, and we saved China. The way the Chinese think, they’re better off getting a head start on quantum computation and learning what it can do without waking the American giant.”

“That would be the Chinese way of doing things,” the professor replied. “Boil the frog by degrees so that it doesn’t notice that it is being boiled. Well, we had better get cracking on our own quantum computers.”

“Think of the fun we can have in the meantime,” Paul enthused. “The Chinese think that we don’t know that they can read our cable traffic. We could feed them some really amusing disinformation.”

“One more question,” the old man added. “Getting into China with a silicon face mask and slip-on fingerprints was ingenious, I admit, but incredibly risky, especially because it was a do-it-yourself job. To my knowledge, that sort of Mission Impossible trick isn’t used by the Agency because it is so unreliable. Why did you take the risk?”

“Risk to whom?” Paul replied. “I thought the mission was a setup and that if I went in through the front door, my chances of arrest and exposure were 100%. And that would be an arrest in the middle of an act of espionage, with a high probability that I never would see the light of day again. Suppose they did catch me gate crashing at the border. I’d be arrested, declared persona non grata and shipped home. The Agency would fire me for dereliction of duty and insubordination, but I’d walk away. Once I got inside by my own route, I had a fighting chance. I just did the math.”

“You really do think like a criminal,” the professor said. “I’m proud of you. But I’m also concerned for your safety.”

Paul looked him sharply, and said very carefully: “Safety? From whom?”

“Suppose you are right, and the disappearance of a programmer at the NSA was only a distraction to make us think he was the source of the decryption. The Chinese know who you are, and know that you killed several of their people on their territory. That is something we try to avoid if at all possible. Foreigners killing nationals on their home ground is the sort of thing that intelligence agencies will avenge even at great cost. They also know that you arranged the defection of a senior operative and one with a connection to an important family. They won’t forgive that, either. They will do their best to kill you, as a matter of face.

“And let’s further suppose you are right about quantum supremacy. That’s not what the CIA wants to hear. They just got through telling the president that they flushed out a mole, and D/NCS is about to receive the President’s Intelligence Medal. Now you want them to go back into the Oval Office to tell the president that they screwed up, that the Chinese tricked us, and that, by the way, China probably has made the most important technological breakthrough of the century. That’s a hard discussion to have. Heads will roll. There are people at CIA who would breathe a sigh of relief if you were no longer with us. Oh, the truth will out one day, but that problem would be dumped on the desks of another generation of bureaucrats. The CIA doesn’t sanction its own officers, but someone might be less than diligent in arranging protection for you.”

The professor looked into his whiskey glass. “No good deed goes unpunished in this lugubrious business,” he said. “You might be the latest in a long line of spies who achieve the near-impossible and learn the adversary’s deepest secrets, only to be shunned by their own masters. The first thing to consider is self-preservation. You’re going to take medical leave for the next couple of weeks,” he said. “Go to ground. Don’t communicate with me electronically, not even from a clean phone.” He wrote a number on a scrap of paper. “If you need to contact me call this number and ask for Felix Krull. And take precautions.” That meant to carry a gun. “I’ve taken precautions,” Paul said.

Chapter 23: The Welcoming Night

Paul and Guang-Yin had landed at Andrews Air Force Base 48 hours earlier, and a half dozen ex-military contractors escorted them to separate SUV’s. The one carrying Paul brought him to the Falls Church safe house. Jerzy Kowak sat in a recliner and clutched a bag of potato chips. The gaunt man with black glasses sat next to D/NCS director on the sofa. Diderot Klapowicz lounged in the back. Havisham Beckwith was not there. He had tendered his resignation after the disappearance of Percival Leung and was cleaning out his desk back at Langley. “Sit down, Richetti,” the gaunt man snarled. “You’re an insubordinate, reckless, blood-simple head case. What were you trying to do – start World War III?”

Richetti noticed a heavy glass ashtray on the coffee table and suppressed an impulse to pick it up and crush the gaunt man’s skull. “I adapted to exigent circumstances in the field and improvised,” he said. “We had been set up. I detected a setup and acted accordingly to neutralize it. If I hadn’t, we would be neck deep in shit. I warned you that this was going to happen and took the initiative to avert a catastrophe for this Agency.”

The gaunt man glared at him and spat, “How dare you!”

“Allow me to rephrase that,” Richetti said. “I’d be in an MSS dungeon after the obligatory parade before the news cameras, confessing to war crimes, subversion of the Chinese state, and whatever else they tortured me into saying. You would just be in deep shit.”

D/NCS looked benevolently at the gaunt man. “It’s all good. Nothing succeeds like success,” he said. “Young Mr. Richetti is a throwback to the bad old swashbuckling days when we tried to kill Fidel Castro with an exploding cigar. We try not to do such things anymore, but there are exceptional cases that merit this kind of initiative, and this very well may be one of them. I personally will recommend Paul Richetti for a commendation.”

What he’s saying is that I deserve a medal, but what I’m hearing is that the son of a bitch wants me dead, Paul thought to himself.

“You’re not telling us the whole story, kid,” Jerzy Kowak broke in. “It’s not clear to me why this woman defected.”

“Do the math,” Richetti replied.

“How do you know she isn’t a double?”

“Because they couldn’t have planned it that way.  They didn’t have time. They expected me to come in with my diplomatic passport, and to keep me under a microscope from the moment I landed in Beijing. They didn’t know that I would gate crash and go to ground inside China, and they didn’t know that I would bring in a weapon.”

“How do you know they didn’t know?”

“They didn’t know because I didn’t tell anyone – not you, not our pants-suited Hong Kong Station Chief, and least of all anyone from Langley – not while all of you were running around in tight little circles trying to find the leak in our communications.”

“Do you realize that you murdered an official of the Chinese government on Chinese soil? And that you committed an act of terrorism in the center of Beijing? Do you understand the consequences? Are you aware of what sort of diplomatic incident you have created?” the gaunt man rasped. He was red-faced now and a vein throbbed in his neck.

Richetti yelled back, “Why the hell do you think I was lured into China? I was supposed to be the f***ing diplomatic incident! I was going to be paraded before the news cameras to prove that the CIA was behind a secret network of Uyghur terrorists. Maybe we are, for all I know, although I doubt we’re smart enough to be behind anything in China. I thought it was a setup before I went in.”

“How did you know?”

“I just f***ing knew.”

“Then why did you go into China?”

“Because they didn’t know that I knew, and that gave me an edge. The Chinese are smart and thorough. They plan down to the last detail. But they don’t adapt well to the unexpected. When the plan went pear-shaped, I bluffed the woman into believing that I had set her up and that she would take the fall for it. She had less than a minute to decide and she chose self-preservation. Now you have in hand the best-informed defector we’ve ever gotten out of China.”

“What does she know?”

“Ask her.”

“You bet your butt we will, Richetti, and we will have a few more long and intimate conversations with you before we’re done. When you’re back from medical leave you’ll have a long list of questions to answer.”

Paul grunted and headed for the door. The gaunt man said, “The Beretta, Mr. Richetti.” Paul removed the little gun in the chamois leather holster from his shoulder bag and placed it gently on the coffee table. The Chinese semiautomatic with its armor-piercing rounds waited reassuringly under the spare tire of his rental car.  The physical security team at the airport had gone through his bag, but they hadn’t patted him down. Before landing, he had taped the Norinco pistol to his left ankle and the spare magazine to his right.

Klapowicz followed Paul out the front door and shouted, “Richetti!” Paul turned. The elfin face was animated. “Call me if you have a problem,” he said. Paul nodded and went to his car.

He drove the rental car to Chrystal City and stopped at a drugstore to buy a change of underwear, a toothbrush, a comb and a razor. He also bought a $500 debit card and a cheap smartphone with a SIM card, and a two-quart plastic bottle of soda. Then he parked in the underground garage below the apartment building where the Agency had quartered him and recovered the Chinese pistol from the trunk. He rode the elevator up and let himself into the apartment, easing the door open while standing to the side, pistol in hand. It was empty and dark with drawn curtains. Paul arranged pillows under the bed linen in the approximate shape of a sleeping body. He went to the bathroom and poured the contents of the soda bottle into the toilet. He then placed a chair against the wall by the side of the door, turned out the light, sat in the chair and placed the muzzle of the Chinese pistol in the mouth of the empty plastic bottle, and waited. He sat forward in the chair so that he would catch himself if he nodded off. It was a bit past 9 p.m.

His body was still in Asian time, and he had little trouble keeping vigil. He thought about the security guard at the mall who appeared without warning and paid for his diligence with his life. That was the first man he had killed, and he hadn’t even known about it at the time. The Ministry of State Security hoods were combatants, but the guard was a civilian and his death was collateral damage. Could he have avoided it? He didn’t know, but being a criminal with official sanction suddenly seemed a less desirable occupation than it had before. He relived the incident, examining every step in slow motion, all the more vividly because he sat in darkness. The guard hadn’t been part of the plan. He appeared out of nowhere and he had to be neutralized.

Slightly before 2:00 a.m. he heard the room lock click open as a key card was inserted into the slot, and he readied his weapon with its improvised suppressor. Quickly but noiselessly a heavyset man came into the room and trained a weapon on the bed. Paul heard the hiss-click of a silenced small-caliber automatic, five shots in rapid succession. The man moved further into the room and Paul shot him several times. The supersonic crack of the 5.8-millimeter slugs became a muffled boom inside the soda bottle. The intruder fell, and Paul aimed carefully and shot him in the head. The Chinese bullet tore away the side of his face and splattered clumps of grey and red on the carpet and wall.

The man looked Latino, with Popeye arms and a penitentiary chest that bore witness to days with nothing to do but lift weights. He wore a Kevlar vest. Pancake-sized blotches of blood marked the spots where the hot Chinese slugs had gone through it. Paul searched the dead man’s pockets. There was no wallet, and no identification, only a hotel key card, a phone and a fat roll of $100 bills. He had dropped a .22 magnum semi-automatic with a suppressor screwed onto the barrel.  Pressing each of the dead man’s fingers in turn onto the phone’s fingerprint scanner, Paul brought it to life with the ring finger of the left hand. He found the last text message, which contained the address and number of the apartment where he stood. Paul replied to the message “Confirmed,” and hoped that would buy him some time. He used the burner phone’s camera to take a half-dozen pictures of the scene, the dead man’s face, and the man’s fingerprints. He rolled up the dead man’s sleeve; there on the forearm was a tattoo of a crown above a trident, a gang tattoo of some kind. Paul took a photo of that as well. He pocketed the dead man’s money roll and phone, grabbed his bag and took the stairs to the street, walking as quickly as he could without looking hurried.

Paul jogged to the Chrystal City Metro Station and took the Blue Line to Farragut West, and then walked a dozen blocks to Dupont Circle. He had wiped the assassin’s cell phone clean and left it on the train. A half-empty Bolt Bus was leaving to New York, and he joined the line of students and retirees using the cheapest available mode of transport.

He fell asleep the moment after taking his seat in the bus and jolted awake 20 minutes later. Who had sent Popeye after him? The assassin was a jailbird, not a CIA contractor with a military background, but for some jobs, the Agency wasn’t squeamish. An attempted hit a few hours after he turned up at an Agency apartment begged an explanation. Of course, if the Chinese could decrypt Agency communications, then the Ministry of State Security could have found him there as easily as his own people. For the time being the question was undecidable, like the Continuum Hypothesis. He found the hip flask in his shoulder bag and drained the last couple of ounces of vodka. It was time to become nobody and be nowhere. Nowhere is a metaphysical impossibility, he mused, but Baltimore might be the next best thing. When the bus stopped in the city on Maryland Avenue, he got out and made his way into the welcoming night.

Copyright: Spengler, David P. Goldman, The Quantum Supremacy

Catch-up linksRead Part 1 hereRead Part 2 here. Read Part 3 hereRead Part 4 here. Read Part 5 here. Read Part 6 here. Read Part 7 here.

About the Author: David P. Goldman has written the “Spengler” column at Asia Times since 2001. His previous books include How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too) and It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You. He has published extensively in major media including The Wall Street Journal, The Journal of American Affairs, The American Interest, First Things, Tablet Magazine and PJ Media. He has directed major research groups at Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Cantor Fitzgerald, and received Institutional Investor Magazine’s award for research excellence. He consulted for the National Security Council during the first Reagan Administration and for the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment during 2011-2013. From 2013 to 2016, he was a managing director at Reorient Group, a Hong Kong investment bank, and has published and lectured extensively about China. This is his first work of fiction.

“Ask anyone in the intelligence business to name the world’s most brilliant intelligence service and we’ll all give the same answer: Oswald Spengler. David P. Goldman’s ‘Spengler’ columns provide more insight than the CIA, MI6, and the Mossad combined.”  –  Herbert E. Meyer, special assistant to the director of Central Intelligence and vice chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council in the Reagan administration.