By Ted Snider
November 30, 202:
Information Clearing House
War" I haven’t
seen the movie Top Gun, and I won’t bother
seeing the much anticipated sequel, Top Gun:
Maverick. Why should I? If I wanted to see a
movie produced by the Pentagon or the CIA, I would
just watch Animal Farm.
Seriously. In perhaps the most ironic moment in
the history of literature, the CIA actually made an
animated movie version of Animal Farm. Of
course, they rewrote Orwell’s ending to fit the
message. CIA operative Howard Hunt, of Watergate
fame, would recall in his memoir that they "tweaked
[it] to heighten the anti-Communist message, and
distribute it throughout the world in the hope that
it would be seen by parents and children alike."
Other key contributors to the movie included
Hollywood producer and agent Carleton Alsop and
scriptwriter Finis Farr, who were both actually with
the CIA. The CIA followed this project up by
acquiring the rights to 1984. You got it: Big
Brother owns Big Brother.
Through information acquired through a Freedom of
Information Act request to the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, Joseph Trevithick has
reported that the Department of Defense was
"closely involved" in the production of Top Gun:
Maverick. The Department of Defense provided
assets, equipment and locations to the producers.
They had a constant presence on the set whenever the
US military was being portrayed in the movie. The
Department of Defense approved parts of the script
and reserved the right to sign off on any changes.
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Though this Pentagon involvement in Top Gun:
Maverick is significant and worrisome, it is not
as intrusive as the Pentagon, State Department and
CIA have been in past Hollywood collaborations.
In modern times, The State Department doubled as
director for The Interview, with an artistic
eye toward encouraging thoughts of regime change in
Leaked emails reveal that at least two US
government officials screened a rough cut of The
Interview and gave the film their approval. The
emails reveal that the State Department was involved
in Sony’s decision to keep the scene of the death of
Kim Jong-Un in the final cut of the film. Sony
Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton admits that they
“Spoke to someone very senior in State.” The leaked
emails also reveal that U.S. Special Envoy for North
Korean Human Rights Issues, Robert King, was also
consulting on The Interview.
The CIA would use the movie Zero Dark Thirty
as a vehicle for selling its justification of
torture. According to the screen writer, Mark Boal,
he was given access to firsthand accounts by the
CIA. And Obama administration officials admit that
Boal was given access to officials from the CIA, the
Pentagon and the White House. Gareth Porter
says that “Those meetings ensured Zero Dark
Thirty would tell a story that suited the
interests of those seeking to protect the CIA’s
But the history of CIA involvement in Hollywood
is an old one. In Finks: How the CIA Tricked the
World’s Best Writers, Joel Whitney says the US
developed the idea of "militant liberty" for the
perfect Hollywood film: "the goal was ‘to insert in
their scripts and in their action the right ideas
with the proper subtlety’" to project
"American-style democratic values" in propaganda
battle of the Cold War.
Whitney says that in 1955, the Joint Chiefs of
Staff plotted on how to insert militant liberty into
Hollywood movies. They actually had a meeting with
top Hollywood figures at the MGM Studios office of
director John Ford. Apparently, the meeting so
excited John Wayne that he became an early member of
the project. Ford was on board too. He committed to
the project and, according to Whitney, "even asked
for a consultant from the Joint Chiefs to help
insert the concept [of militant liberty] into his
movie The Wings of Eagles. . . ."
The CIA would go so far as to have operatives
infiltrate Hollywood studios. Paramount Studios even
had an executive and censor who was a CIA operative
who made sure Paramount’s movies cut out any
anti-American content or criticism of US foreign
In 1953, the CIA launched a campaign to make sure
the Gary Cooper film High Noon did not win an
Academy Award. In 2013, Whitney says, they tried to
ensure that two CIA films, Zero Dark Thirty
and Argo did: Argo won.
Pentagon involvement in the production of Top
Gun: Maverick is just the latest scene in a long
story of US military and intelligence use of
Hollywood movies to shape popular culture in a way
that fits America’s narrative of the world.
has a graduate degree in philosophy and writes on
analyzing patterns in US foreign policy and history.
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