The NSA In Hollywood Films

The revelations brought forth by Edward Snowden shook the world. But should they have? What follows are many movie clips featuring the truth about the NSA, including Good Will Hunting, Enemy of the State and even The Simpsons movie.

What’s clear is that for more than a couple of decades, Hollywood has been ahead of mainstream media, showing us the power of the NSA before our very eyes.

Sneakers (1992)

In the 1992 film Sneakers, the NSA is featured throughout. In the following scene, the 1992 version of the NSA is portrayed as quite competent phone-call tracers.

But, in the film, the NSA shrugs off allegations of domestic wiretapping. It’s not them, one of their agents insist.

Robert Redford asks: “you’re the guys I hear breathing on the other end of my phone.”

The NSA agent replies: “No that’s the FBI, we;’re not chartered for domestic surveillance.”

RR:” I see. You just overthrow governments. Setup friendly dictators.”

NSA: “No…that’s the CIA. We protect our governments communications. We try to break the other fella’s codes. We’re the good guys, Marty.”

This following amateur clip of the movie shows the film’s main characters uncovering that the NSA wiretaps domestically.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

The 1997 movie Good Will Hunting features a classic scene in which Matt Damon’s answers the question, “Why shouldn’t you work for the NSA?”

Here is the transcription:

Why shouldn’t I work for the N.S.A.? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at the N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people that I never met and that I never had no problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Send in the marines to secure the area” ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number was called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. They’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s walking to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the schrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorroids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’ ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure, fuck it, while I’m at it, why not just shoot my buddy, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

 Enemy Of The State (1998)

The 1998 movie Enemy of the State was based around NSA corruption and surveillance.

Gene Hackman: “The government’s been in bed with the entire telecommunications industry since the 40s. They’ve infected everything. They can get into your bank statements, computer files, emails, listen to your phone calls.”

Will Smith: “My wife’s been saying that for years.”

Gene: “Every wire, every airwave. The more technology you use, the easier it is for them to be keep tabs on you. It’s a brave new world out there, or at least it better be.”

In this dramatic scene, Gene Hackman tells Will Smith’s character that “the nsa conducts worldwide surveillance.”

The Listening (2006)

The following trailer for the movie The Listening gives a little history of the NSA, which used to be called the Black Chamber. The movie focuses on Echelon.

The Simpsons (2007)

In the following clip from The Simpsons movie, Lisa warns Marge and Bart that they should keep it down, since they are fugitives on the run to Seattle. Marge says, “It’s not like the government is listening to everyone’s conversation.” The scene then cuts to a massive NSA data center, with the implication that, in fact, everyone is being spied upon.

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