If you want a logical reason for the complete disinterest in longevity research shown by the powers that be, the most obvious, if you’re even a little paranoid, is that they already have the secret, and aren’t interested in distributing it to the hoi polloi. If so, members of the inner circle would obviously have to fake their own deaths every so often – otherwise they might face mobs of angry peasants bearing torches. Still, occasionally losing your identity is a small price to pay for for the privilege of being a sequoia farmer. It wouldn’t mean losing power – real power is already invisible.
Of course, if you were truly the top dog, there would be a temptation to occasionally drop the disguise and shake up the groundlings. Even if this was reported again and again, every serious person would know that it was just fodder for trailer trash.