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ClandesTime 158 – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

The new Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, in keeping with the Agency’s long-time support for adaptations of Clancy’s work. In this episode I review and analyse the series, including the inevitable references to 9/11, the hallmarks of CIA input on the script and the question of whether the series acts as revenge fantasy for Islamist terrorists.

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ClandesTime 158 - Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

ClandesTime 158 – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

The new Amazon series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, in keeping with the Agency’s long-time support for adaptations of Clancy’s work. In this episode I review and analyse the series, including the inevitable references to 9/11, the hallmarks ...
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War Machine vs Charlie Wilson's War - Tom Secker on Around the Empire (Part 1)

War Machine vs Charlie Wilson’s War – Tom Secker on Around the Empire (Part 1)

Joanne invited me on the Around the Empire podcast to do a 'high level compare and contrast' of two war comedy films set in different wars in Afghanistan: Charlie Wilson's War and War Machine.  The films are similar in many respects - both comedies, both have A-list lead actors, both ...
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Jack Ryan is the Latest TV Show to Film at CIA Headquarters

Jack Ryan is the Latest TV Show to Film at CIA Headquarters

Amazon's new headline streaming series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is the first TV show to film at CIA headquarters for several years, after a fairly disastrous run that saw two awful movies along with an awful TV programme film there circa 2014.  In keeping with the CIA's longstanding love affair ...
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How the Pentagon Rewrote The Core

How the Pentagon Rewrote The Core

2003's The Core is widely regarded as a piece of schlock, but with a sense of humour.  It is certainly one the least realistic films the US military has ever supported, featuring a small craft that drills into the Earth's core so a team of scientists can nuke the core, ...
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ClandesTime 157 – Two Years Inside the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs

ClandesTime 157 – Two Years Inside the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs

The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) was established in the late 1970s and contains their entertainment liaison office. This week I go through an 8-page summary of the CIA’s Entertainment Liaison and Media Outreach activities covering 2014-16. This includes their relationships with journalists, their involvement in entertainment such as ...
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What does the CIA's Office of Public Affairs Actually Do?

What does the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs Actually Do?

The CIA's Office of Public Affairs is - ironically - very tight-lipped about what they actually do, so I was pleased that they recently responded to a 3 year old FOIA request and provided me with a document summarising their activities from 2014 to 2016.  This includes numerous meetings with ...
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ClandesTime 156 - The Pentagon and Pitch Perfect 3

ClandesTime 156 – The Pentagon and Pitch Perfect 3

To unsuspecting movie audiences Pitch Perfect 3 is a piece of lighthearted family-friendly entertainment to be enjoyed and then forgotten almost immediately. Lurking beneath this neutrally-toned surface lies a work of military recruitment propaganda, intelligently crafted to appeal to demographics that the DOD usually has trouble reaching. In this episode ...
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Dear Rummy...  How Jack Valenti got Permission to be Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Dear Rummy… How Jack Valenti got Permission to be Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

MPAA President Jack Valenti maintained a long and friendly relationship with various branches of the US government, not least the Department of Defense.  He also harbored lifelong ambitions, including to be buried among America's military heroes at Arlington National Cemetery.  The DOD recently released correspondence between Valenti and then Secretary ...
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Subscriber Podcast #23 - The Merits and Demerits of Netflix

Subscriber Podcast #23 – The Merits and Demerits of Netflix

Streaming content on-demand has changed the way people think about their relationship with entertainment, and drastically changed people's viewing habits and behaviour. So in this episode we take a look at Netflix (and other on-demand platforms), the merits and demerits of the streaming model, and ask whether this development will ...
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How the Pentagon Rewrote Pitch Perfect 3

How the Pentagon Rewrote Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3 appears on the surface to be a family-friendly piece of lighthearted, forgettable entertainment.  But beneath that surface lies a carefully-crafted piece of military PR, aimed at recruiting people the DOD usually finds it hard to attract.  Documents recently released by the US Air Force and the Pentagon ...
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ClandesTime 155 - Production Assistance Agreements or How the Pentagon Broke the Rules for Transformers

ClandesTime 155 – Production Assistance Agreements or How the Pentagon Broke the Rules for Transformers

Most government agencies sign contracts with Hollywood producers when they agree to provide support on a film or TV show. These are called Production Assistance Agreements, and set out the legal terms of the partnership between the government and the production company. In this episode I explore these contracts, how ...
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Change 'One Male and One Female' to 'Two Male' - Pentagon Production Notes for Transformers 3

Change ‘One Male and One Female’ to ‘Two Male’ – Pentagon Production Notes for Transformers 3

Going back through some documents released by the Army on the Transformers films I noticed that some of the notes weren't script notes from pre-production, but were production notes from while Transformers: Dark of the Moon was filming.  They show that sometimes the Pentagon continues to rewrite the script while ...
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