Posts Tagged ‘spy books’

NSA Report on John le Carré Novels

Published January 5th 2017

Recently made available by Cryptome this NSA report originally appeared in an issue of their publication Cryptolog in 1992. It examines the role that signals intelligence (SIGINT) plays in the storylines of several John le Carré novels and considers whether the inaccuracies and limitations in these portrayals are of benefit to the NSA. They assess the influence of the novels on both the general public and on policy makers and in a moment of great irony they accuse le Carré of overlooking the moral consequences of his more favoured human intelligence (HUMINT), while doing the exact same thing themselves.

CIA Documents on Scorpio – The First Movie to Film at Langley

Published October 11th 2016

Scorpio holds the dubious distinction of being the first film to be allowed to shoot at the CIA headquarters in Langley. Since then the likes of Patriot Games and Argo are among a very small number to have been granted that privilege. It has otherwise been overlooked in favour of more significant thrillers of that decade but it was important enough for the CIA to have some files about it, both internal documents and open source records.

FBI investigated Richard Condon over The Manchurian Candidate

Published October 6th 2016

Author and publicist Richard Condon is best remembered for writing The Manchurian Candidate – a biting futuristic satire in which a Medal of Honor winning soldier is brainwashed by the Soviets to try to assassinate the US president. The FBI files on Condon and his most famous book draw numerous connections between the JFK assassination and The Manchurian Candidate (particularly the film adaptation). The Bureau even conducted a background search on Condon before the book was even published, solely due to it depicting the FBI.

The CIA and Hollywood 10 – Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Published June 19th 2016

Aaron Franz joins us to discuss the 2002 biopic Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, which tells the story of game show producer and host Chuck Barris. Barris claims that while becoming a TV star he was recruited by and worked for the CIA as an assassin, killing a total of 33 people. In this episode we analyse this claim, which has been dismissed by the Agency as a ludicrous fantasy. We examine Barris’ true life history, focusing in on his marriage to Lyn Levy – the daughter of one of the founders of CBS – and his incredibly selfish relationship with their daughter Della. None of this appears in the film so taking this into account we consider whether Barris was a CIA assassin, a psychopathic fabricator or an emotionally warped narcissist (or all of these things rolled into one). If Barris truly was a CIA agent then what was his job? Was he an assassin, or did they employ him to ‘slay the audience’ by developing the prototypes for reality TV?

Graham Greene’s FBI File

Published May 23rd 2016

Graham Greene was one of the most important novelists of the 20th century, and one of the greatest spy novelists of all time. He also holds the dubious honour of having worked for MI6 during WW2 but being spied on by the FBI as a suspected Communist. Few spies have FBI files, so Greene is in a very small and distinct club. The FBI records cover over a decade during the early Cold War, and Greene himself wrote a response to them.

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