“I would regularly bump into a parade of Hollywood types, including Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. I often wondered why these actors were allowed to walk around a top-secret facility. Because he’s going to be playing a CIA guy in a movie? That’s the criteria now?”
Former CIA Analyst John Kiriakou
“The Agency’s Entertainment Industry Liaison is a member of the media team and engages with actors, authors, directors, producers and screenwriters who are featuring the CIA in their creative ventures. The protection of national security equities is always paramount in any engagement with the entertainment industry. Our goal is accurate balanced portrayal of the men and women of the CIA, their vital mission and the commitment to public service that defines them.”
Building on the Reel vs. Real theme introduced in May 2018, CIA’s Office of Public Affairs hosted Daniel Craig, famously known for his portrayal as James Bond, at CIA Headquarters on June 25 to discuss what it’s really like to be an Intelligence Officer. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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In early July 2017, Tom Secker and Matthew Alford reported on their astonishing findings from trawling through thousands of new US military and intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents revealed for the first time the vast scale of US government control in Hollywood, including the ability to manipulate scripts or even prevent films too critical of the Pentagon from being made — not to mention influencing some of the most popular film franchises in recent years.
On June 26 2018, the CIA posted the following message on their website .
“Why have an international movie star and filmmaker visit the CIA? Because the CIA does not exist in a vacuum. The Agency is held accountable by Congress and scrutinized by the American people.
While secrets must be kept and the clandestine nature of the CIA’s work held sacred, the CIA works, where appropriate, with the film industry to combat misrepresentations and assist in balanced and accurate portrayals.
Visits such as this and the recent Reel vs. Real event at UCLA open the door to engaging with the public to humanize the workforce and demonstrate the many ways CIA’s work enhances national security.
Mr. Craig met with our leadership and workforce, who explained that real life espionage is a lot more “cloak” and a lot less “dagger” than presented in the entertainment world of spy vs. spy.
During conversations with CIA subject matter experts, Mr. Craig learned about the many facets of intelligence collection and how our five directorates work together to advance CIA’s mission.
Later, during an engagement with the Agency workforce, Mr. Craig remarked about the teamwork that goes into the intelligence cycle and how impressed he was with the commitment and dedication of CIA officers.”
The CIA has a long history of “spooking the news,” dating back to its earliest days when the legendary spymaster Allen Dulles and his top staff drank and dined regularly with the press elite of New York and Washington, and the agency boasted hundreds of U.S. and foreign journalists as paid and unpaid assets.
In 1977, after this systematic media manipulation was publicly exposed by congressional investigations, the CIA created an Office of Public Affairs that was tasked with guiding press coverage of intelligence matters in a more transparent fashion.
“The agency insists that it no longer maintains a stable of friendly American journalists, and that its efforts to influence the press are much more above-board.
But, in truth, the intelligence empire’s efforts to manufacture the truth and mold public opinion are more vast and varied than ever before. One of its foremost assets? Hollywood.”
PS/ According to a report by the Defense Department’s inspector general, the then-CIA Director Leon Panetta seemed to have stardust in his eyes over the prospect of a Hollywood version of “The Search for Bin Laden.” The CIA chief hoped that Al Pacino would play him in the movie.
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James Bond [D. Craig] Visits CIA Headquarters (June 25 2018)