National Security Cinema — Tom and Matt on Media Roots
Tom Secker

Great podcast. It’s refreshing to listen to in-depth interviews in this age of soundbites.

I have a couple of comments.

  1. Regarding Charlie Wilson’s War, I think they didn’t want Charlie Wilson’s relationship with the CIA portrayed accurately in the movie because it would reveal “sources and methods”. Even whistleblowers say they don’t want to reveal that kind of information. Philip Agee had to go on the run to write about sources and methods, for example. It appears that Snowden didn’t want to give his information to Wikileaks because Wikileaks doesn’t care about revealing sources and methods. Also, revealing that Charlie Wilson had a CIA handler — well, that pretty much reverses the whole narrative of the movie. In the movie we are led to believe he was on a personal crusade to support the mujahideen; however it seems that he was just doing the CIA’s bidding. Plus, knowing that he had a handler makes me wonder, how many Congressmen have CIA handlers? How did it start? Are these relationships still going on?
  2. From listening and reading the information you and Matthew unearthed, it seems that all agencies, at the same time they try to portray themselves as the “good guys”, they try to play down the extent of their influence. They want to stay on the background, but if they come to the forefront, they need to be portrayed as good. I mean, the fact that they TRY to influence so many movies, should raise red flags all over. Imagine if it was revealed that Putin tried to influence ONE script. It would be all over the news, Russian Propaganda, Russian movies are garbage, Russia is controlled by Putin etc., etc. In the US however, it’s almost like it’s seen as a benign influence — producers, actors, directors are mostly silent about it.
  3. A question, have you looked into the music business? Have the government agencies tried to influence music videos? What about lyrics?
  4. What about the Bourne franchise? Is there any evidence of CIA influence?