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Kiriakou writes: "Vice News's Jason Leopold reported recently that the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided 'support' to a variety of Hollywood films, like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty; television series like Covert Affairs and Top Chef; documentaries; and even novels like Richard Patterson's The Devil's Light. Leopold said that the nature of the support is largely unknown because the CIA did not keep records of all of its meetings. A declassified CIA Inspector General's report said, 'OPA and other CIA employees did not always comply with Agency regulations intended to prevent the release of classified information during their interactions with entertainment industry representatives.'"

A climactic scene from Zero Dark Thirty. (photo: Sony)
A climactic scene from Zero Dark Thirty. (photo: Sony)

The CIA and Hollywood, an Unlawful Alliance

By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News

21 May 16


ice News’s Jason Leopold reported recently that the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided “support” to a variety of Hollywood films, like Argo and Zero Dark Thirty; television series like Covert Affairs and Top Chef; documentaries; and even novels like Richard Patterson’s The Devil’s Light. Leopold said that the nature of the support is largely unknown because the CIA did not keep records of all of its meetings. A declassified CIA Inspector General’s report said, “OPA and other CIA employees did not always comply with Agency regulations intended to prevent the release of classified information during their interactions with entertainment industry representatives.”

Therein lies one of the problems with the relationship between the CIA and Hollywood. There’s little-to-no oversight. And when rules and laws are broken, nobody has to pay the piper.

In 2015, Vice reported that a separate CIA Inspector General’s report found that former Director Leon Panetta “allegedly disclosed classified information” when speaking with Zero Dark Thirty writer Mark Boal, and that Panetta disclosed additional classified information to director Kathryn Bigelow. An even earlier Inspector General’s report detailed “Potential Ethics Violations Involving Film Producers” Bigelow and Boal, and said that CIA officers had accepted gifts from the two, including watches, restaurant meals, and tickets to the movie premiere, all of which went unreported. Presumably, this was in exchange for cooperating on the film.

CIA employees taking gifts from Hollywood producers for apparently giving them, in the case of Zero Dark Thirty, classified briefings on the bin Laden raid and then not reporting the gifts in their ethics filings is bad enough. The CIA director leaking classified information with impunity to the producers is worse. Indeed, it is a direct violation of the Obama administration’s definition of espionage: “Providing national defense information to any person not entitled to receive it.” That definition came directly from the judge in my case, when I was charged with espionage for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program.

But the worst, the most insidious, thing here is that the end result of the CIA’s cooperation with Hollywood and others in the entertainment industry is that it results in the propagandizing of the American people. That was illegal, until recently.

In the 1950s, the CIA initiated “Operation Mockingbird,” a long-term operation whereby the Agency planted articles in the American press. At the height of the program, some 25 major U.S. news outlets willingly published CIA propaganda meant for the American people.

That was outlawed in the immediate aftermath of the Church Committee hearings. Over time, many Americans forgot that the CIA had tried to influence them subversively. Indeed, many in Congress later said that the ban on propagandizing the American people was so that official outlets like the Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti could not be broadcast to Americans.

But that all changed on July 2, 2013, with the passage of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which passed as part of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. The new law allows a wide variety of propaganda meant for Americans. That includes CIA support for Hollywood.

Does this presage a period of television shows like The F.B.I., a series that ran from 1965-1974 and which had each episode personally approved by J. Edgar Hoover? Will Hollywood not be permitted to make movies or series critical of the Agency? Do we want John Brennan to be the guy who decides what we get to see?

Congress must re-implement the Smith-Mundt Act, the original one, and keep the government out of our movie theaters and televisions. Propaganda is a malicious force. It has no business in American society.

John Kiriakou is an Associate Fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. He is a former CIA counterterrorism operations officer and former senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+20 # Anonymot 2016-05-21 17:58
The CIA has been doing this since their hero, Joe McCarthy days. The seeds of fascism are not new in our "democratic" country. This century has revived them with a bang. Both political parties were bought by the Deep State Mike Lofgren so aptly describes.
+9 # Krackonis 2016-05-22 12:51
We tend to forget that Prescott Bush, Avril Harriman and Allen Dulles were all linked to the Nazi's (Through Union Bank) and Army Intelligence and they all founded the CIA.

Also, every in the world knows the US has always been lying to its citizens... Look at the rest of the modern world and how they act, and look at the US and how it acts.

Why is the US the only place where Serial Killers™ come from? Why have the fires of racism been stoked there where everywhere else (Canada, Europe) it is just almost eradicated.
Why are they always invading countries? They have invaded over 50 and set up military bases all around Russia and China (Shhhh, lets pretend we don't know that.)

Why has tens of thousands of movies gotten US military or CIA funding. The CIA sells lies and deception. Anyone who is intelligent knows about the false flags and the lies and the propaganda... I mean, we have eyes...
+4 # dandevries 2016-05-23 17:52
Can you say David Atlee Phillips (aka Maurice Bishop)? Crossfire by Jim Marrs would not be a bad place to start. And after that Mary's Mosaic from Peter Janney.
+10 # anarchteacher 2016-05-21 18:33
Anonymot - You have it totally wrong. The CIA and Senator Joseph McCarthy were bitter enemies. There was even discussion of assassination attempts of McCarthy.

The CIA mobilized its Operation Mockingbird media assets such as Edward R. Murrow to engage in a counter-attack upon old “Tail Gunner Joe” when he was building up momentum in going after the Agency’s “family jewels” of the time after his highly-publiciz ed campaigns against communist spies in the state department and the army.

Three interesting books of Establishment Studies (or power elite analysis) have outlined how CIA director Allen Dulles directed his counterintellig ence chief James Jesus Angleton to find a means of destroying McCarthy.

Angleton chose a veteran of the OSS, James McCargar, to undertake this covert espionage/disin formation action against McCarthy.

These facts are discussed in Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA; Gregg Herken, The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington, and in the fascinating and absolutely compelling new book by David Talbot, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.
+22 # Old Uncle Dave 2016-05-21 19:01
Tonight on CBS - 48 Hours Presents: The Spymasters - CIA in the Crosshairs
The 12 living directors of the CIA openly discuss the inner workings of the agency, the tough controversies they have faced, their failures and successes, and the challenges ahead in the war on terror.

Translated - Watch a dozen ex spooks blow smoke up the viewers' asses for two hours.
+3 # Krackonis 2016-05-22 12:53

"Nuclear Threat"

"Cold War"

"The USSR"

"North Korea"


"Our President"

(These are the buzzwords for the drinking game..... How long before you drop dead from propaganda overload... I mean... Being too Drunk...)
+9 # elkingo 2016-05-21 19:01
American culture psychotic. Via The Great American Bullshit Machine government and showbiz smuje into one another and are difficult to tell apart. Capitalism induces bent consciousness. GABM operates in all spheres of American life. But John, if nobody is supposed to rat-out classified info, what about Snowden and you, having each done the right thing? Song:"Orwell, it's good to see ya'!"
+1 # Krackonis 2016-05-22 12:54
We know the inner workings of the Galactic Empire... It's time to realize we are all Alderaan...
+5 # anarchteacher 2016-05-21 19:05
Anonymot is however correct in the assertion:

"The seeds of fascism are not new in our "democratic" country. This century has revived them with a bang. Both political parties were bought by the Deep State Mike Lofgren so aptly describes."

The American Deep State -- an Amazon book list

The Deep State and the November 22, 1963 Coup d’état

Dallas '63: A Brilliant Synthesis Regarding the November 22, 1963 Coup d'état

De Gaulle: The Deep State Murdered JFK

The Deep State and the Hughes-Nixon-La nsky Connection

The American Deep State

Will Trump Declare War Upon The Deep State?
0 # Krackonis 2016-05-22 13:02
I like Miles Mathis better. :P

He calls them "The Hidden Kings".

Those sons of Rich "Owners" who run the country while the rest of us vote on a front man.

According to him they have been running the show since they killed FDR. Since then the "real" president are the sons of the Oligarchs. Our president that we vote for doesn't actually do anything. He is just the "PR guy" for them.

To him nothing we do matters at all, in any real sense... Everything we watch on TV is really meaningless, the real decisions have already been made.

Everyone knows we are going to war with Iran, Invading Syria with a proxy army and trying to surround and starve out Russia and China....

This is a world war, they are not going to lose it. Russians have always fought against Fascists... The Nazi's didn't take prisoners last time, and now the fascist are wearing red white and blue instead of red and black, but no matter, founded by the same men (Bush, Harriman, Dulles) the new "Hidden Kings" are running the show right into war.

It has always been about taking over Russia since the days of Napoleon... Arguably before that.
+13 # anarchteacher 2016-05-21 19:13

Hollywood Wars

Savvy political manipulators as far back as Woodrow Wilson and V. I. Lenin recognized the pivotal role of motion pictures as a strategic weapon of the State’s predatory policies of war, aggrandizement and exploitation.

Soon after the commencement of the American intervention in the Great War, Hollywood was enlisted in the martial endeavor of shaping and molding misperceptions and disinformation in Wilson’s bloody crusade.
+8 # Kootenay Coyote 2016-05-21 21:04
The hideous corruption reaches everywhere, creating a structure that cannot long endure; & ‘great will be the fall thereof’.
+13 # janie1893 2016-05-22 00:27
Why would anyone believe anything that the media, the CIA, the FBI or the Pentagon tell us? Even the voting process is twisted to result in lies.
I am starting to think it is too late to change anything about the USA. The liars have won.
0 # Krackonis 2016-05-22 13:09
They won in Germany too...

It took the rest of the world to band together to burn it's capital to the ground and burn it's leader alive in a ditch with his new wife.

That is the US's future... I recommend you find the people who are driving you to war (The rich who run the show) and do to them what we are going to to do the US before we get there...

I say we because I am not a fascist and will gladly join the fight to save the planet from them.

Kudos to the US btw... Germany attacked 3 countries before we stopped them. America has attacked Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and Syria either with real armies, proxy armies or drone strikes. Congrats for getting this far.

Only a few countries left without "central banking systems"™ ... How odd they are your enemies... Weird eh?
+3 # oakes721 2016-05-22 10:31
The MEDIA MACHINE: Propaganda OFF the people, BUY the people and FORE the people.
+3 # elly105 2016-05-22 11:43
Once trust is betrayed it's pretty hard to repair it, if at all. Where are the good guys except commenting from the sidelines? Power has migrated into the hands of the 'wrong' people and they won't let go at any cost. My Friend who defected from a communist regime years ago said in most countries honesty is treated as a weakness to be exploited and we are naive to believe otherwise. I never suspected that I could become cynical...
+1 # Krackonis 2016-05-22 13:15
The good guys are in Russia.

Fighting the "New World Order". This is how Putin talks to Russians, it's clear they are much more aware of the score. They lost all trust in the Soviet system and the constant lies... Much like the US had, but it was better hidden. The US won the Propaganda war.

But now the USSR has fallen and the people wizened up to it and so Russian leaders play to that. The fascists killed 50 million Russians.... We can't understand that number... No prisoners.... So fascists are not "your buddy who works in the space program", no, they were killers, and should be treated as such.

These man and their spawn run America now...
+1 # kalpal 2016-05-23 04:33
Top Chef???? That discredits everything.
0 # rac 2016-09-16 16:43
Well now we have Oliver Stone's film "Snowden" to consider.

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