The CIA does not wish to be confused with Hollywood depictions of the agency, it said in a little-noticed press release on Thursday: “Hollywood Myths vs. The CIA.”
When you think about the CIA, does a famous British super spy come to mind? Are images of shootouts and high speed chases running through your head? Do you imagine CIA officers chasing terrorists through the American heartland, as seen on popular TV shows?
While the CIA may have cool spy tools that even James Bond would be proud to use, such as a robot fish that samples water and insect-sized listening devices, the CIA is a lot different than Hollywood portrays it to be. CIA.gov wants to share some of the facts with you.
The release goes on to list the flaws in some Hollywood portrayals of how the CIA works, such as the notion that everyone at the CIA is engaged in espionage, or that the CIA is “above the law.”
The timing of the release coincides with the debut of Zero Dark Thirty, the new Kathryn Bigelow film about the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden, told from the perspective of a female CIA agent based on a real-life operative.
Though the CIA was receptive to the film at the beginning, allowing Bigelow and screenwriter Boal several meetings with key players in the bin Laden search, enthusiasm has since waned; acting CIA director Michael Morell has criticized the movie for its controversial interrogation scenes, saying they give the “strong impression that the enhanced interrogation techniques that were part of our former detention and interrogation program were the key to finding Bin Laden. That impression is false.”
The film has also led some in Congress to call for an inquiry into whether or not the CIA shared classified information with the filmmakers.