The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television

The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0292772467

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Jenkins's book raises serious ethical and legal questions about the relationship between the CIA and Hollywood and the extent to which we consume propaganda from one through the other. . . . Should the CIA be authorized to target American public opinion? If our artists don't confront [the question] more directly, and soon, the Agency will only continue to infiltrate our vulnerable film and television screens—and our minds." —Tom Hayden, Los Angeles Review of Books

"The book makes a strong case that the CIA should not be in Hollywood at all, but that if it is, it cannot pick and choose which movies it wishes to support. Well written and researched, this study examines a subject that has not received enough scholarly or critical attention. Highly recommended." —Choice

"A fascinating, highly readable, and original new work. . . . Incorporating effective, illustrative case studies, The CIA in Hollywood is definitely recommended to students of film, media relations, the CIA, and U.S. interagency relations." —H-Net Reviews

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with a diminished ability to discern between right and wrong, or that the lines of right and wrong cannot help but become blurred in the shadowy world of intelligence. Either way, with its assassins, infidelity, and illegal operations, the CIA has often been typecast as operating on morally ambiguous grounds. Undoubtedly, the CIA’s own history plays into this depiction. For instance, it has been revealed that the Agency tested LSD on unsuspecting American citizens in order to gauge the drug’s

Government Secrecy concluded, “Excessive secrecy has significant consequences for the national inter- Why and How the CIA Works with Hollywood 35 est when, as a result, policymakers are not fully informed, government is not held accountable for its actions, and the public cannot engage in informed debate.”12 The report also argued that the government’s classification system “is used too often to deny the public an understanding of the policymaking process, rather than for the necessary

sentenced to life in prison without parole. Kent Harrington was the CIA’s director of public affairs at the time of the Ames case. He argues that the Ames story was “devastating” to public perceptions of the Agency, as its inability to detect and prevent the officer’s betrayal put Langley “in the bull’s eye for its failures.”19 Also damaging to the Agency was Ames’s own testimony, as he claimed that the whole espionage business was a “self-serving sham, carried out by careerist bureaucrats who

types of productions.47 Indeed, former CIA officer Robert Baer remarks that the Agency could never even admit that they use “foreign governments, including those in Morocco and Tunisia, to help with rendition. . . . No one at the Agency is going to say, ‘Oh, what the hell, let’s just tell people the truth about rendition.’ They can’t.”48 As a result, the CIA’s history mostly reflects the attitude that it should promote only its successes in order to serve the Agency’s interest, rather than that

fiancée, but also his own grandchild, all in the name of national security. Paul Barry states that these types of scenes “not only disparage the reputations of our officers but negatively influence the decisions of potential assets contemplating an association with the CIA.”34 This point is well-taken, but it is important to add that the CIA’s disapproval of both The­Good­Shepherd and Syriana was not founded just on a basic textual analysis of the films. It was also compounded by the films’

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