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Author Topic: The CIA Helped Produce an Episode of 'Top Chef'  (Read 377 times)
Rizla2345
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April 07, 2016, 08:20:58 AM
 #1

Interesting information. Not that it wasn´t known the the CIA, Pentagon and the government in general have their fingers in entertainment business. It´s part of the propaganda game.

https://news.vice.com/article/cia-helped-produce-top-chef-covert-affairs

By Jason Leopold

April 6, 2016 | 2:50 pm
What do the movies Argo and Zero Dark Thirty have in common with the novel The Devil's Light by Richard North Patterson; Bravo's Top Chef Covert Cuisine; the USA Network cable series Covert Affairs; the History Channel documentary Air America: The CIA's Secret Airline; and the BBC documentary The Secret War on Terror?

They all received "support" from the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA), the division that interacts with journalists and acts as the liaison with the entertainment industry.

But the exact nature and extent of what the OPA did while working on Patterson's book and the two documentaries is unknown because the CIA does not have a record of its meetings with Patterson and the documentarians. Furthermore, the CIA has only limited records about its work on the five other projects, according to a declassified December 31, 2012 CIA inspector general's audit of the agency's dealings with the entertainment industry obtained by VICE News in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

The audit said "OPA and other CIA employees did not always comply with Agency regulations intended to prevent the release of classified information during their interactions with entertainment industry representatives."

A version of the 20-page audit was released last September to the conservative group Judicial Watch and later to the National Security Archive in response to their open records requests. But the eight entertainment projects the CIA worked on were redacted, as were footnotes that stated the specific regulations for dealing with the media that CIA officials violated when working on at least one of the projects. That portion of the audit, however, was unredacted in the version turned over to VICE News this week.

Other than Zero Dark Thirty, the entertainment projects with which the CIA was involved over the past decade had not been previously revealed, although it was assumed that the Oscar-winning movie Argo received production assistance from the agency since it's based on a covert CIA operation. The audit reviewed a sample of eight projects out of 22 the CIA had supported between 2006 and 2011. One of the eight, a book, was redacted on national security grounds. The CIA won't reveal the other 14 projects it has supported. (The agency receives multiple requests to support entertainment projects every week.)

On the CIA's website, the agency says its entertainment industry liaison helps producers, screenwriters, directors, and authors "gain a better understanding of [CIA's] intelligence mission."

"Our goal is an accurate portrayal of the men and women of the CIA, and the skill, innovation, daring, and commitment to public service that defines them. If you are part of the entertainment industry, and are working on a project that deals with the CIA, the Agency may be able to help you. We are in a position to give greater authenticity to scripts, stories, and other products in development."

The entertainment industry liaison also offers up recommendations to inspire authors and filmmakers. The CIA's current recommendation is "The Vilification and Vindication of Colonel Kuklinski," a Polish colonel who spied for NATO.



Some entertainment projects on which the CIA has worked over the past decade

Dean Boyd, director of the CIA's office of public affairs, told VICE News that when the CIA engages with the entertainment industry, "CIA's priority is the protection of classified material and national security equities, while ensuring an informed, balanced portrayal of the women and men of CIA."

The CIA's relationship with the entertainment industry, which dates back to the 1950s, was scrutinized following the 2012 release of Zero Dark Thirty, a movie about the CIA's clandestine operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Two separate Inspector General investigations, one of which probed potential ethics violations by CIA officers, later revealed that filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal showered CIA officers involved in the operation with gifts and received unprecedented access, which included the disclosure of classified information to Bigelow and Boal by CIA director Leon Panetta. The audit said the CIA provided "significantly more support" to Zero Dark Thirty than the other seven entertainment projects on which the CIA worked.

Related: Tequila, Painted Pearls, and Prada — How the CIA Helped Produce 'Zero Dark Thirty'

"Because of the lack of significant documentation, it was not possible for us to determine that Zero Dark Thirty was deserving of greater CIA support based on the 'merits' of the project... or that Zero Dark Thirty had been deemed to have greater potential for furthering the CIA's goal for interacting with the entertainment industry," the audit said.

Undercover CIA officers who met with Bigelow and Boal to discuss the bin Laden operation told the inspector general "they were unclear concerning what information could be discussed in the interviews and uncomfortable with the information being discussed," and that OPA "could have better prepared them for the interviews and OPA officials should have exercised greater control of the interviews."

"CIA officers who supported entertainment industry projects (Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, respectively) told us that they were contacted directly by entertainment industry representatives after the initial meetings conducted with OPA." The CIA's regulation governing communications with the media does not authorize CIA officials to speak with media or with the entertainment industry outside of the presence of an OPA representative.

Argo, the true story about the CIA's covert operation to rescue six American diplomats hiding at the official residence of the Canadian ambassador in Iran in 1979, was based on CIA officer Tony Mendez's book, The Master of Disguise. The film won three Academy Awards in 2013. In November 2014, the CIA, in a series of tweets marking the 35th anniversary of the hostage crisis, fact-checked the film. The CIA said Affleck took creative liberties with some of the dramatic scenes about the rescue operation.

For three of the entertainment projects — Top Chef Covert Cuisine, The Secret War on Terror, and Argo — foreign nationals "may have participated in briefings, interviews, and visits provided by the CIA."

"However, because of the lack of adequate records, we were unable to determine the extent of the CIA's support to the eight projects, the extent to which foreign nationals participated in CIA-sponsored activities, and whether the Director, OPA approved the activities and participation of foreign nationals," the audit report said. "Failure on the part of CIA officers to adhere to the regulatory requirements could result in unauthorized disclosures, inappropriate actions, and negative consequences for the CIA."

One of the regulations previously redacted in an earlier version of the audit says that many CIA employees who spoke with and/or were interviewed by entertainment industry representatives did not submit a written or oral presentation to the CIA's Publications Review Board, as they are legally required, prior to speaking with entertainment industry reps.

Panetta was also involved in the Top Chef Covert Cuisine episode, which aired in 2010. The episode called for the chefs to "transform a well-known dish into something entirely new, cooking for none other than CIA Director Leon Panetta, who knows a thing or two about taking on a new identity. The chefs serve CIA Director Panetta and his closest allies in his private dining room inside the agency's closely guarded headquarters."

A spokesperson for Bravo and the producers of Top Chef did not respond to a request for comment.

Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, told VICE News that, in all likelihood, "there was no security concern raised by the presence of foreign nationals" in any briefings provided to the producers by the CIA.

"CIA would not have disclosed highly classified information even to uncleared US citizens in that context," he said. Still, "it is the role of counterintelligence to consider unlikely or even implausible scenarios. So, for example, the foreign nationals might have been undercover intelligence officers. They might have been surreptitiously scouting out the location of the meeting, establishing relationships for future exploitation, identifying potential recruits, or otherwise seeking to take advantage of the opportunity."

According to a synopsis of Patterson's book posted on Amazon, his novel "tells the story of an Al Qaeda operative named Amer Al Zaroor, who, on orders from Osama Bin Laden, directs the theft of a nuclear weapon from the Pakistani military, and then transports it toward its intended target, Israel.... Deep inside Washington, Brooke Chandler, a CIA operative whose cover was blown by an incompetent colleague in Lebanon, thinks he knows how the bomb is being moved toward its target and how to find it. First he must overcome the skepticism of the CIA and the White House, and then he must find the bomb and disable or detonate it before it causes the Middle East to go up in flames."

The BBC describes its 50-minute documentary hosted by journalist Peter Taylor as the "inside story of the intelligence war which has been fought against al-Qaeda over the last decade since 9/11." The BBC boasts of "unparalleled access" it gained to "Western intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and exclusive interviews with those who have been at the sharp end of fighting the terrorists — from the CIA and the FBI to MI5 — Peter Taylor asks whether the West is winning and whether we are any safer from attack."

The History Channel summarized Air America as a look "at the unique civilian airline known as Air America secretly owned and operated by the CIA which began as an outgrowth of WWII's Flying Tigers. From secret missions over China and Korea to aerial support in Vietnam and the secret war in Laos Air America formed a cornerstone of US policy in Southeast Asia."

Neither Patterson nor a spokesperson for the BBC responded to requests for comment.

The cable series "supported" by the CIA, Covert Affairs, follows CIA agent Annie Walker, a "skilled linguist and spy whose work takes her on secret missions. Seemingly picked for her linguistic skills, it may be something from her past that her CIA bosses are really after."

The series ran for five seasons on the USA Network. It was canceled in December 2014, two years after the Inspector General's audit was issued, which resulted in a complete overhaul of how OPA interacts with the entertainment industry. Several months before the audit was completed, the CIA issued a new policy: "Management Guidance on Contact with the Entertainment Industry and Support to Entertainment Industry Projects."

Boyd, the CIA's director of public affairs, told VICE News that the CIA now requires employees who work in the OPA to attend annual ethics training and that the OPA has "strengthened policies and procedures to ensure the protection of classified information and to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures."

"The many changes implemented since Zero Dark Thirty are part of our continuing obligation to the public, to Congress, and to CIA to uphold the highest standards of accountability and ethics as we communicate the CIA mission," Boyd said.

Follow Jason Leopold on Twitter: @JasonLeopold
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April 07, 2016, 08:53:56 AM
 #2

I have a feeling this is all some conspiracy theory nonsense?

From what I can tell by the article and one of it's primary sources... The CIA has been involved in certain TV shows by granting them clearance... letting them view certain classified info to help them make their movie more accurately, etc... this isn't anything crazy (beyond a breach of protocol) and the CIA did not write the episode

"Secret" level security clearance is rather low on the totem-pole and doesn't give them access to any real security secrets

Have you watched the episode of Top Chef?  Is there some crazy message in it the CIA is trying to brainwash the planet with? (as if anyone actually watches that show anyway)

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April 07, 2016, 09:06:18 AM
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I have a feeling this is all some conspiracy theory nonsense?

From what I can tell by the article and one of it's primary sources... The CIA has been involved in certain TV shows by granting them clearance... letting them view certain classified info to help them make their movie more accurately, etc... this isn't anything crazy (beyond a breach of protocol) and the CIA did not write the episode

"Secret" level security clearance is rather low on the totem-pole and doesn't give them access to any real security secrets

Have you watched the episode of Top Chef?  Is there some crazy message in it the CIA is trying to brainwash the planet with? (as if anyone actually watches that show anyway)

You seem to be suggesting that the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is lying about helping to produce TV shows and movies. What would be the purpose of lying about this?
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April 07, 2016, 09:11:30 AM
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I have a feeling this is all some conspiracy theory nonsense?

From what I can tell by the article and one of it's primary sources... The CIA has been involved in certain TV shows by granting them clearance... letting them view certain classified info to help them make their movie more accurately, etc... this isn't anything crazy (beyond a breach of protocol) and the CIA did not write the episode

"Secret" level security clearance is rather low on the totem-pole and doesn't give them access to any real security secrets

Have you watched the episode of Top Chef?  Is there some crazy message in it the CIA is trying to brainwash the planet with? (as if anyone actually watches that show anyway)

You seem to be suggesting that the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is lying about helping to produce TV shows and movies. What would be the purpose of lying about this?

I'll admit I didn't read every word of the article... but I didn't read anything about them producing the TV show or movie... only granting security clearance

This part basically sums it up

On the CIA's website, the agency says its entertainment industry liaison helps producers, screenwriters, directors, and authors "gain a better understanding of [CIA's] intelligence mission."

"Our goal is an accurate portrayal of the men and women of the CIA, and the skill, innovation, daring, and commitment to public service that defines them. If you are part of the entertainment industry, and are working on a project that deals with the CIA, the Agency may be able to help you. We are in a position to give greater authenticity to scripts, stories, and other products in development."

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April 07, 2016, 09:15:49 AM
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I guess you better read the article before posting your opinions about it. That´s all I can say. It´s the usual procedure in discussions.
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April 07, 2016, 09:20:50 AM
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I guess you better read the article before posting your opinions about it. That´s all I can say. It´s the usual procedure in discussions.

Shut up asshole... I read 90% of the article, and 50% of its primary source, which is clearly more than your read since you totally misunderstand what it is talking about... fuck off prick

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April 07, 2016, 09:25:38 AM
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I have a feeling this is all some conspiracy theory nonsense?

From what I can tell by the article and one of it's primary sources... The CIA has been involved in certain TV shows by granting them clearance... letting them view certain classified info to help them make their movie more accurately, etc... this isn't anything crazy (beyond a breach of protocol) and the CIA did not write the episode

"Secret" level security clearance is rather low on the totem-pole and doesn't give them access to any real security secrets

Have you watched the episode of Top Chef?  Is there some crazy message in it the CIA is trying to brainwash the planet with? (as if anyone actually watches that show anyway)

You figured that the CIA was involved in some kind of conspiracy revolving around lying about helping to produce TV shows and movies. I think you can´t afford to call other people dumb. In my humble opinion.
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April 07, 2016, 09:26:37 AM
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I have a feeling this is all some conspiracy theory nonsense?

From what I can tell by the article and one of it's primary sources... The CIA has been involved in certain TV shows by granting them clearance... letting them view certain classified info to help them make their movie more accurately, etc... this isn't anything crazy (beyond a breach of protocol) and the CIA did not write the episode

"Secret" level security clearance is rather low on the totem-pole and doesn't give them access to any real security secrets

Have you watched the episode of Top Chef?  Is there some crazy message in it the CIA is trying to brainwash the planet with? (as if anyone actually watches that show anyway)

You figured that the CIA was involved in some kind of conspiracy revolving around lying about helping to produce TV shows and movies. I think you can´t afford to call other people dumb. In my humble opinion.

You are the dumb fuck claiming the CIA helped produce an episode of top chef, not me

It's simply not true and quite misleading slander

The article is about proper security protocols, breach of information... Leaking of classified documents...

Nothing like the title of this thread implies, or your comment about the CIA spreading propaganda..

Exactly what propaganda are they spreading on Top Chef?

Once again... Have you even watched the episode to see?

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April 08, 2016, 09:30:59 AM
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Doesn't CIA have some more important things to do? This doesn't sound very likely.

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April 08, 2016, 09:32:45 AM
 #10

Doesn't CIA have some more important things to do? This doesn't sound very likely.

Why would the CIA lie about helping produce TV shows and movies? What would be the purpose of that?
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April 09, 2016, 06:02:02 PM
 #11

CIA’s Work With Filmmakers Puts All Media Workers at Risk
By Adam Johnson

Apr. 8, 2016

http://fair.org/home/cias-work-with-filmmakers-puts-all-media-workers-at-risk/

Vice’s Jason Leopold (4/6/16) has uncovered documents showing the CIA had a role in producing up to 22 entertainment “projects,” including History Channel documentary Air America: The CIA’s Secret Airline, Bravo‘s Top Chef: Covert Cuisine, the USA Network series Covert Affairs and the BBC documentary The Secret War on Terror—along with two fictional feature films about the CIA that both came out in 2012.

The CIA’s involvement in the production of Zero Dark Thirty (effectively exchanging “insider” access for a two-hour-long torture commercial) has already been well-established, but the agency’s role in the production of Argo—which won the Best Picture Oscar for 2012—was heretofore unknown. The extent of the CIA’s involvement in the projects is still largely classified, as Leopold notes, quoting an Agency audit report:
However, because of the lack of adequate records, we were unable to determine the extent of the CIA’s support to the eight projects, the extent to which foreign nationals participated in CIA-sponsored activities, and whether the Director/OPA approved the activities and participation of foreign nationals…. Failure on the part of CIA officers to adhere to the regulatory requirements could result in unauthorized disclosures, inappropriate actions and negative consequences for the CIA.

The CIA’s history of producing or helping to produce films goes back decades. The Agency, for example, secretly bought the rights to Animal Farm after Orwell’s death in 1950 and produce an animated adaptation centered on demonizing the Soviet Union rather than capturing Orwell’s broader critiques of power.
And as the CIA got involved in film production, Hollywood players have likewise taken part in covert operations. For years, legendary film producer Arnon Milchan (Pretty Woman, Fight Club, back-to-back Oscar winner for Best Picture in 2014 and 2015) worked for Israeli intelligence to deal arms and obtain technologies Israel needed to make nuclear weapons. “At the peak of his activities,” according to the Guardian, he was “operating 30 companies in 17 countries and brokering deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” an arrangement that, Milchan told the BBC (11/26/13), involved Sydney Pollack—director of Sabrina, Tootsie and, ironically enough, Three Days of the Condor.

In such revelations, an important point is often overlooked: The CIA assisting or posing as filmmakers, journalists and other creative roles—a practice the Agency reserves the right to partake in to this day—puts actual filmmakers, journalists and other creators at risk overseas. It’s an important piece of context that’s rarely addressed by a pundit class who is (rightfully) outraged at American journalists and filmmakers being detained as spies overseas, but responds with praise or amusement when CIA takes on such roles as cover.
The amnesia at work is impressive. Jon Stewart’s film Rosewater, about Iran detaining Iranian-Canadian journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari in 2009 on charges of spying, came out a mere 18 months after Argo won Best Picture for depicting the CIA using phony filmmakers to do just that. We praise the latter without acknowledging the glaring fact that it helps set the stage for the former.

This isn’t to suggest Iran doesn’t detain legitimate journalists and filmmakers for simply publishing uncomfortable truths—as it did in the case of Bahari and Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian in 2014—but American media’s cozy relationship with the CIA and other intelligence agencies makes the possibility of overcompensation by Iran and other unfriendly governments that much more likely, and makes the pretense that legitimate journalists are suspected of espionage that much more plausible.
Indeed, this is a position advanced by Associated Press reporter Terry Anderson, who spent six years detained by Hezbollah and now lobbies aggressively against these suspect practices. As Martha Bayles and Jeffrey Gedmin wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed last year (1/4/15):
First, such practices make honest journalism more dangerous. Ask Terry Anderson, the Associated Press reporter who in 1985 was taken captive by Hezbollah, which accused him of being a CIA agent. After being released in 1991, Anderson became an eloquent voice arguing against blurring the distinction between newsgathering and espionage.

This is not to suggest that if the CIA’s policy were less murky and problematic, the Taliban would not have murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, or the Azerbaijan ruling party would not be trying to discredit Khadija Ismayilova. But when it comes to managing risk, a definite ban on the recruitment of journalists would constitute a positive step. Not only that, but the lack of such a ban erodes the trust of America’s allies and provides fuel to its adversaries.
The same is true for filmmakers. While it appears the CIA’s involvement in the entertainment “products” revealed by Vice was to provide access in exchange for steering the message (as opposed to using the filmmakers for intelligence-gathering), the spectacle of Hollywood teaming up with US intelligence agencies to make propaganda—especially given the dodgy historical context—no doubt stokes the fears of countries already hostile to Americans within their borders.

This isn’t to say that if the CIA bans the practice of recruiting journalists and assisting the production of films, other countries still won’t be paranoid (justifiably or not), or that such a restriction would even be respected. But when the CIA blurs the lines between covert intelligence gathering and legitimate media, the reaction of media people shouldn’t be amusement, much less awards. Every time this type of behavior is normalized, or shrugged off, or made sexy, real journalists and real filmmakers overseas are put further at risk.
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April 10, 2016, 12:03:41 AM
 #12

I'm willing to bet that a film that truly showed how the spying business works in most cases would bore the shit out of the audience. MI5's recruitment information for prospective agents makes for interesting reading. Most of the time you're sitting in a car or cafe looking innocuous for about twenty grand a year.

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April 10, 2016, 09:21:44 PM
 #13

CIA and Hollywood episode 1 George Orwell

Published on Apr 15, 2015
'In this opening episode of the new series Pearse and Tom look into the CIA's adaptations of George Orwell's two most famous novels - Animal Farm and 1984. We focus primarily on Animal Farm, a revolutionary animated film in several senses of the word, produced by Louis De Rochemont - a man who had worked with several other government agencies prior to making Animal Farm with the CIA. The animation was does by British firm Halas and Bachelor, and we also discuss their background. This episode also examines the paper trail, looking in Orwell's FBI file and the MI5 records on actor Michael Redgrave, who starred in 1984 despite being a suspected Communist. We conclude that the CIA had something of an obsession with Orwell at this time, and were subverting his works quite radically in these films.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bQLnGSQFME&nohtml5=False
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