Many shows and films including Argo – Zero Dark Thirty – 24 and Homeland have had major access to the brass at Langley.
The CIA and the rest of America’s vast shadow empire have been manipulating the press for as long as these secretive agencies have existed.
But the clandestine effort to control public thought does not stop there.
The CIA also makes a major effort to insert itself into our dream life.
It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the CIA formally hired an entertainment industry liaison and began openly courting favorable treatment in films and television but the agency has been covertly working with Hollywood since its inception in 1947.
As part of its lavishly budgeted global propaganda campaign during the Cold War the CIA secretly funded the production of the 1951 animated feature Animal Farm – based on George Orwell’s anti-communist parable.
The CIA made sure that the animated version of Orwell’s story left out the late author’s sour sentiments about the capitalist system – focusing its critique entirely on the grim aspects of communism.
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During the Clinton presidency the CIA took its Hollywood strategy to a new level—trying to take more control of its own mythmaking.
In 1996 the CIA hired one of its veteran clandestine officers Chase Brandon – to work directly with Hollywood studios and production companies to upgrade its image.
‘We’ve always been portrayed erroneously as evil and Machiavellian’ Brandon later told the Guardian.
‘It took us a long time to support projects that portray us in the light we want to be seen in’.
The flag-waving Tom Clancy franchise became a centerpiece of CIA propaganda in the 1990s with a succession of actors (Alec Baldwin – Harrison Ford and finally Ben Affleck) starring in films like Patriot Games – Clear and Present Danger and The Sum of All Fears.
The long relationship between Affleck – a prominent Hollywood liberal – and [CIA headquarters in] Langley seems particularly perplexing.
But the mutual admiration has paid off handsomely for all concerned.