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I have been following the show Burn Notice very closely since it's inception, but one thing has been bothering me. Who burned Michael?

I was always under the impression that a burn notice was the way in which a spy was fired, so naturally, I had assumed it was CIA sponsored.

In the most recent season(s), the team has been chasing a man named Anson Fullerton, who is supposedly "rebuilding the organization that burned Michael."

Anson (right) and Michael (left)

Now, that was where I became confused. I can understand if he was the person, working for the CIA, who was in charge of the burning of Michael, but what was this "organization" they were talking about, if it wasn't the CIA?

If the CIA wasn't the organization that burned Michael, who was it?

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Hmm? Since the question who burned Michael is a major driver of the show's background story, I don't think this can really be answered, yet (I can't remember or haven't seen the latest episodes, though). –  Napoleon Wilson Jun 15 '12 at 21:08
    
@ChristianRau - What I am asking about is, when Michael talked to Vaughn in prison, he told Michael that he was trying to re-build the organization that burned him, is that implying that burn notices are, in fact, not government sponsored? –  Ephraim Jun 15 '12 at 23:35
    
I always understood it the way, that somebody (probably from anywhere non-government) blackened him (somehow told the CIA he was ill-behaving), to make the CIA burn him. –  Napoleon Wilson Jun 17 '12 at 12:50
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2 Answers

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Anson Fullerton was a psychologist in the employ of the CIA. He was also the mastermind of a rogue network of operatives involved in various illicit activities. Anson wanted Michael to join his network so he used his own access, as well as the access of the operatives in his network, to plant false evidence implicating Michael in a number of illegal activities. So, in the technical sense, it was the CIA that burned him, but it was Anson's organization that caused him to be burned.

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While the other answer talks about one of the masterminds behind it, I feel that the spirit of the question asks for the person who actually put out the notice. The person who actually issued the Burn Notice was NSA agent Phillip Cowen. If you watch the towards the end of season one Micheal figures this out and he sets up a meeting with him. While he doesn't say much before he is executed, he does tell Micheal that,"This is much bigger than me or you. Bigger than all of us" Hinting that he is part of the organization that we learn about later in the show.

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