The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and by Tricia Jenkins

By Tricia Jenkins

What’s your influence of the CIA? A bumbling service provider that can’t guard its personal spies? A rogue association susceptible to covert operations and assassinations? Or a devoted public carrier that advances the pursuits of the USA? Astute television and picture audience can have spotted that the CIA’s snapshot in well known media has spanned this complete diversity, with a determined shift to extra confident portrayals in recent times. yet what only a few humans comprehend is that the crucial Intelligence supplier has been actively engaged in shaping the content material of movie and tv, in particular because it proven an leisure liaison application within the mid-1990s.

The CIA in Hollywood bargains the 1st full-scale research of the connection among the corporation and the movie and tv industries. Tricia Jenkins attracts on a variety of interviews with the CIA’s public affairs employees, operations officials, and historians, in addition to with Hollywood technical specialists, manufacturers, and screenwriters who've labored with the enterprise, to discover the character of the CIA’s function in Hollywood. particularly, she delves into the Agency’s and its officers’ involvement within the creation of The organisation, within the corporation of Spies, Alias, The Recruit, The Sum of All Fears, Enemy of the kingdom, Syriana, the nice Shepherd, and extra. Her examine finds the numerous effect that the CIA now wields in Hollywood and increases vital and troubling questions about the ethics and legality of a central authority employer utilizing renowned media to govern its public snapshot.

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For instance, when I asked Paul Barry (Brandon’s successor) to walk me through the CIA’s process of responding to requests for assistance from filmmakers, he stated that initial discussions gravitate toward the project’s focus and requirements. If the industry representative is seeking assistance outside the realm of advice or guidance, the next step is to review the script, just like at the Pentagon. ”62 Barry also stated that while there are no written guidelines that he follows, ultimately he is looking for projects that will increase understanding of the Agency and instill pride in its employees.

36 As such, these individuals were not selected for the project. Houle also noted that he personally felt a “need to protect the CIA’s rights on the project,” joking: It’s ironic because I came of age in the sixties, when the CIA was the bad guy. ” But when I went there and started meeting with people, I realized that the CIA was just made up of individuals who weren’t very James Bond–like at all. They simply had a job that often required them to keep secrets. These guys had families in the suburbs, and I found I really liked the actual people who did the job; they were committed, hardworking people.

44 While Myers’ point is well taken, the CIA’s arrangements with TPP meant that the Agency nonetheless exerted very strong control over the program’s content. For instance, script material was to be culled from the CIA’s case files, but it was the Agency archivist who would select them. It is likely that he would have first sanitized the files delivered, and before that, selected only cases that avoided controversial subject matter and highlighted CIA successes. After all, the show’s purpose stemmed from the Agency’s need to temper criticism directed at the CIA after the Ames case became public knowledge.

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