Spy TV

Jack Ryan Star John Krasinski Tries to Dispell Allegations of Propaganda

With just a week to go before season 2 of Amazon's Jack Ryan is released and the eponymous star John Krasinski has tried to downplay allegations that the show is propaganda for a US coup or war in Venezuela.  In an interview he trie

Did the Pentagon Support Venezuela Coup Porn Jack Ryan Season 2?

As prep for my forthcoming video on Amazon's Jack Ryan as next-gen propaganda I've been keeping an eye on promotions and events around the launch of season two in November.  The first episode was shown at New York Comic-Con a few days ago, and at a panel disc

New Jack Ryan Trailer Illustrates Western Hypocrisy Over Arms Trade

The latest trailer for Amazon Prime's Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan is a perfect illustration of Western double standards and hypocrisy over the global arms trade.  As I predicted in an earlier article, the plotline centres on Venezuela and in all lik

ClandesTime 186 – NCIS

NCIS is a wildly successful TV drama, one of the most popular series of the last 20 years. This week I recount how the DOD, Navy and Marine Corps routinely rewrite episodes of NCIS to fit their PR and propaganda goals.

The DEA and Breaking Bad: Why Hank Never Tapped Jesse’s Phone

Despite its enormous popularity there are many problems with Breaking Bad - the utterly racist depiction of Mexicans, the glorifying of a sociopathic protagonist and that incredibly boring and pointless fifth season come to mind.  But what has never been discussed before is how the show functions as propaganda for the Dr

The Rebooted Designated Survivor: Sponsored by the CIA?

The soft reboot of the political drama Designated Survivor recently dropped on Netflix and in spite of Kiefer Sutherland making the least convincing president since Sarah Palin it is a considerable improvement on the first two seasons.

Q-Force, or How Queers Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fascism

Netflix recently ordered a 10-episode first series of Q-Force, the world's first animated LGBTQ spy series.  Pitched as a 'gay James Bond' the cartoon will undoubtedly contain the usual PR for the security state, wrapped up in a rainbow flag.  No doubt

The DEA and the Entertainment Industry: Spying, Censorship and Control

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently released nearly 200 pages of contracts between themselves and entertainment producers, which for the first time shed light on how they interact with Hollywood.

‘The Script was Entertaining but very Sophmorish’ – FBI Deputy Director on The X-Files

In 1998 retired FBI deputy director Cartha DeLoach was asked by the producers of The X-Files to review the script for an episode of the show that was set in the 1950s.  The FBI recently released DeLoach's response to the producers, where he branded t

Stars of CBS’ FBI Admit They are Making Propaganda for the FBI

Missy Peregrym and Zeeko Zaki, two of the stars of the CBS drama FBI were asked about the government shutdown this week, and responded with a statement that sounds like it was written by the FBI's Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit.

The Wire Season 4 Review (Preview)

In this penultimate review episode I look at how the education system is a poor place to learn anything, how standardised testing is a form of child abuse, the fundamental problems of electoral politics, and expand on why an intelligence-based approach to societal problems is always better than a military-based ap

The Wire Season 3 Review (Preview)

In part 3 of this subcriber-only review series I look at season three of The Wire. In this season the Barksdale storyline comes to a climax, while the city hall politics are added into the ever-expanding world of the show.

The ’24 Mentality’: The CIA, Torture and the ‘Ticking Bomb’ Scenario

Just as politicians start to believe their own speeches, intelligence agencies start to believe their own propaganda. Nowhere is this clearer than in the CIA's black stite torture program initiated in the wake of 9/11.

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.

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.

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.

ClandesTime 147 – Crime, Censorship and the Copycat Effect - Spy Culture

For movie censors, crime is perhaps the most complex issue to make decisions about. They want the public to be alert to the possibility of crimes happening, and respectful of law enforcement institutions.

Salisbury, Skripals & Syrian Airstrikes – Tom Secker on Media Roots - Spy Culture

I recently joined Robbie Martin of Media Roots to discussion the Salisbury poisoning, the Skripals, the Syrian airstrikes and the general state of politics and Russophobia.  We covered many of the reasons to be sceptical of the official s

Homeland Season 7 Episode 1 – Tom Secker on PPR - Spy Culture

Continuing our long-running commentary, Pearse invited me back onto Porkins Policy Radio to talk about the first episode of the new season of Homeland.  For the first time in several seasons Homeland maintained the storyline from the previous season rather than rebooting the sho

ClandesTime 133 – Was the Unabomber Right? - Spy Culture

Ted Kaczynski is most famous for both being the most prolific serial bomber in US history and for writing the Unabomber Manifesto – a political-philosophical tract that was published by major newspapers and by the FBI.

ClandesTime 131 – The Science and Entertainment Exchange - Spy Culture

The Science and Entertainment Exchange (or SEEX) has consulted on over 1300 films and TV shows in less than 10 years, but outside of Hollywood few people know who they are and what they do. This week we pull back the curtain to look at their activities and their agenda.

ClandesTime 128 – The FBI in Hollywood - Spy Culture

Of all the US intelligence agencies, the FBI has the longest-running relationship with Hollywood. From spying on A-listers as to helping blacklist screenwriters, through to manipulating scripts for PR and propaganda purposes, the Bureau’s influence on Tinseltown is very broad.

The FBI’s Entertainment Liaison Office - Spy Culture

Newly released documents shed light on the FBI's entertainment liaison office - officially titled the Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit (IPPAU), including how they work on dozens of popular films and TV shows, and reject requests for support for PR reasons, just like the Pentagon.

Extra Bonus Podcast – House of Cards 3 – The Final Cut - Spy Culture

In our review of the final season of the original House of Cards, Pearse and I discuss whether Urquhart is a psychopath, or someone so brutalised by the military and ruling class life that he is indistinguishable from one.

The FBI spied on the star of The F.B.I. - Spy Culture

The long-running ABC show The F.B.I. was perhaps the greatest success of the FBI's entertainment liaison office during Hoover's time as head of the Bureau. The deal struck between the FBI and the producers granted Hoover approval and veto power over scripts, casting and even sponsors.

Have the CIA relaxed their rules about filming Langley? - Spy Culture

In last weekend's ClandesTime I discussed how the CIA no longer allow film-makers to shoot footage of the CIA headquarters, leading the producers of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation to re-use old footage of Langley, but it appears they may have relaxed this rule and are now allowin

ClandesTime 125 – Why Can’t You Film at Langley Any More? - Spy Culture

The first movie to film at CIA Headquarters at Langley was Scorpio in the early 1970s. The last major film was Argo in 2012. Sometime in 2014 the CIA stopped letting film-makers shoot footage on the CIA campus.

Top Secret Files on the Disappearance of Buster Crabb - Spy Culture

Buster Crabb was a WW2 British Navy Frogman who in 1956 was recruited by MI6 to spy on Soviet ships docking in Portsmouth harbour during a goodwill visit.

ClandesTime 122 – The Fake Sheikh and Red Mercury - Spy Culture

In 2004 three men were arrested in the UK for trying to buy red mercury – a trigger for a nuclear bomb – from an undercover journalist working with British intelligence. This plot inspired multiple films and TV programmes and the resulting trial cost over £1 million.

The Jennifer Garner CIA Recruitment Video - Spy Culture

I recently obtained a copy of the notorious 2004 CIA recruitment video featuring Alias star Jennifer Garner. This is not available anywhere else online, and the CIA did not release it in response to my FOIA request (they claimed to be unable to find a copy).