Intriguing Swashbuckling Films With Covert Intelligence Operations, Secret Missions, And Political Intrigue – The CIA has a long history of “scary news,” dating back to the days when legendary spymaster Allen Dulles and his top staff regularly drank and dined with the New York and Washington press elite, and the agency boasted hundreds of Americans. and foreign journalists as both paid and unpaid assets. After this systematic media manipulation was exposed through a congressional investigation, the CIA established a public affairs office in 1977 tasked with making press reporting on intelligence matters more transparent. The agency insists that it is no longer friendly to American journalists and that efforts to influence the press are more serious. But in fact, the intelligence empire’s efforts to create truth and shape public opinion are broader and more varied than ever before. One of their biggest assets? Hollywood.
The agency has created a very active spin machine in the center of the entertainment capital, working hard to depict the world of cloaks and daggers. Since the mid-1990s, but especially after 9/11, American screenwriters, directors and producers have traded positive portrayals of the espionage profession in film or television projects for special access and favors at CIA headquarters.
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Since its founding in 1947, the CIA has worked in secret with Hollywood. But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the agency officially hired an entertainment industry liaison and began advocating for preferential treatment in film and television. During the Clinton presidency, the CIA took the Hollywood strategy to a new level and sought to gain more control through its own mythmaking. In 1996, the CIA hired one of its most experienced intelligence officers, Chase Brandon, to work directly with Hollywood studios and production companies to improve its image. “We’ve always been misunderstood as evil and Machiavellian,” Brandon said later
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. “It takes a long time to support projects that portray us in the light we want to see.”
The flag-waving Tom Clancy franchise was central to CIA propaganda in the 1990s, with several actors (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and finally Ben Affleck) starring in films like …
, which pits brave Agent Jack Ryan against several enemies, from terrorists to South American drug lords to nuclear-armed white supremacists.
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The long relationship between Affleck, a prominent Hollywood liberal, and Langley seems confusing. But the mutual happiness is very rewarding for everyone involved. That’s why
, Clancy’s 2002 thriller starring Affleck, “the agency was happy to bring the creators to Langley for a private tour of the headquarters and give [the stars] access to agency analysts.” When filming started, [CIA liaison] Brandon was on set to advise him.”
, a TV spy series starring Affleck’s then-wife Jennifer Garner. The series, which premiered in September 2001, reflected the pervasive paranoia of the post-9/11 era — a perpetual climate of fear favored by national security agencies. The series, created by Hollywood star J. J. Abrams and later rebooting the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises, stars Garner as Sydney Bristow, an undercover CIA agent who has infiltrated a global conspiracy.
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In March 2004, the CIA announced that Garner had made a recruitment video for the agency, describing the growing merger between Langley and Hollywood. “The video emphasizes the CIA’s mission and the need for people with foreign language backgrounds and skills,” the agency’s press release said. “MS. Garner was excited to participate in the video after being requested by the Office of Public Affairs. The CIA Film Industry Liaison worked with the author
As fictional, the character played by Jennifer Garner embodies the integrity, patriotism and intelligence that the CIA wants in its officers.
As Hollywood became more involved in Langley after 9/11, CIA employees often saw their public relations colleagues giving various celebrities individual tours of the headquarters. “I can’t tell you how many times this happened,” recalled former CIA officer John Kiriakou. He regularly rubs shoulders with several Hollywood types, including Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. He often wondered why these actors were allowed to walk around the secret facility. “Because he’s going to be a CIA guy in a movie? That’s the criteria now? You just have to be a friend of the agency and then you can come and walk? Meanwhile, the undercover guys have to walk through the halls with their hands in front of them because these guys not cleaned. That’s crazy.”
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Langley’s investment in Ben Affleck and vice versa paid off handsomely with the highly popular, if highly controversial, 2012 film.
It was directed by Affleck, who also played CIA makeup artist Tony Mendez. Based on 2007
Tells [sort of] the true story of how the CIA rescued some American hostages in Tehran with the help of Mendez, who created a fake Hollywood production company under the guise of making sci-fi fantasy films in Iran. According to Richard Klein, a consultant who helps connect Hollywood studios with the CIA and other government agencies,
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He took many liberties with the truth, all aimed at making Langley and Hollywood look more heroic. For example, the important role that the Canadian Embassy played in the escape of the hostages is ignored in the narrative. And despite the film’s dramatic conclusion, there are no armed Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen in jeeps chasing a jetliner full of Americans hurtling down the runway. But the film won over audiences with its heartwarming tale of a true Mission Impossible-esque caper, while showcasing the CIA at its best. Correct,
– which won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and grossed over $230 million at the box office – arguably the agency’s most successful propaganda coup in Hollywood.
“It has nothing to do with reality. Everyone involved in this operation knows this. The unit Mendez works for is fictional. He’s the makeup guy. He made the first mustache I ever used. He doesn’t have to last long, so he doesn’t remember your face.” When someone asked Baer what he thought was the best movie about the CIA, he suggested watching HBO.
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. “It’s the same bureaucracy, politics and ambition,” he said. “All the other crap you find in the police can also be found in the secret service.”
Although the main character, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), is a bipolar CIA officer who has to take drugs to avoid a nervous breakdown and often violates all kinds of protocols – even sleeping with the target of the investigation – Showtime television drama.
S co-creator. “We really haven’t heard any official or indirect criticism of the series or the characters [from the CIA].”
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Has become a platform for Gansa to examine the most compelling and controversial aspects of the War on Terror from a reliable CIA-friendly perspective. “We don’t compromise,” Gansa insisted. “We are critical of the protagonists and the goals of their superiors. We try with passion to present both sides and not be polemical.
Gansa said the show has never filmed at the Langley headquarters, but he and some of the show’s actors have been invited to stay there. “We sat at a table of twenty or thirty intelligence officers.” At some point, CIA Director John Brennan shows up. During a visit to CIA headquarters, Mandy Patinkin, who was Mathison’s boss – Saul Berenson, head of Middle East operations – was allowed to visit Brennan’s office. “Then something really funny happened,” Gansa recalled. “They separate people who were born in the United States from those who were not born there.” The group includes Philippine-born Gansa, as well as British actor Damien Lewis and Brazilian-American actress Morena Baccarin. “We weren’t allowed into the part of the building where you could see people in disguise. We weren’t allowed into the gift shop because you could see it in the cafeteria. We felt very left out.
Although the CIA’s protagonists are portrayed as flawed and often tortured heroes, the bottom line is that they are heroes.
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When the focus shifted overseas and became more based on real events, Gansa offered a consulting job to former CIA Deputy Director John MacGaffin, whose brother Henry Bromell was one of the original writers of the series and whose father Leon had served as a CIA Officer in Cairo. , Tehran and Kuwait. A successful screenwriter for
Among other things, Bromell died of a heart attack in 2013. “Henry sometimes called me when he was doing it, including in the first part
“Remembers MacGaffin. “I gave a clear and open answer and knew that he gave all the authors. At the funeral I met Alex Gansa and introduced me to all the writers. He told me that whenever he got stuck [on a story problem], he would say, “Let’s talk to John MacGaffin.” I’m glad I don’t know, otherwise I’ll tell you.
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