Yesterday I watched this movie for the second time, having a little more understanding these days of the people and events it portrays. Wikipedia introduces an article about it with a short paragraph:
“The Good Shepherd is a 2006 spy film directed by Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, with an extensive supporting cast.
Although it is a fictional film loosely based on real events, it is advertised as telling the untold story of the birth of counter-intelligence in the Central Intelligence Agency. The film’s main character, Edward Wilson (portrayed by Matt Damon), is loosely based on James Jesus Angleton and Richard M. Bissell. William Hurt’s character, Phillip Allen, is largely based on Allen Dulles, while General Bill Sullivan, played by Robert De Niro, is loosely based on Major General William Joseph Donovan.”
Here are some taglines from IMDb movie publicity:
“Edward Wilson believed in America, and he would sacrifice everything he loved to protect it.
The true story of the birth of the CIA through the eyes of a man who never existed.
The untold story of the most powerful covert agency in the world.
All our dirty secrets start here.
Who is the good shepherd? The one who looks after his family or the one who looks after his country?”
The timeline of the movie is from Edward Wilson’s college days and recruitment to be a United States counterintelligence agent in the 1930’s, up to the early 1960’s and the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba – failed due to a leak somewhere in the intelligence community, according to the movie plot. In real life, the truth was somewhat more murky. From Wikipedia:
“A Crime So Immense, an article by James K. Galbraith, states that a previously redacted version of the Taylor Report on the Bay of Pigs Invasion shows the Russians did know the date of the planned invasion:
One of the great travesties of the Cold War surfaced on April 29, 2000 when the Washington Post reported the declassification in full of General Maxwell Taylor’s June, 1961 special report on the Bay of Pigs invasion. Partial versions of this document have been available for decades. But only now did its darkest secret spill.
Here is what Taylor reported to Kennedy. The Russians knew the date of the invasion (Therefore, Castro also knew.) The CIA, headed by Allen Dulles, knew that the Russians knew (Therefore, they knew the invasion would fail). The leak did not come from the invasion force; it had happened before the Cuban exiles were themselves briefed on the date. Kennedy was not informed. Nor, of course, were the exiles. And knowing all this, Dulles ordered the operation forward.”
If you don’t know what and why the Bay of Pigs invasion was, take yourself a little history lesson; look it up. Be prepared to have lots of questions unanswered, of course. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article about it, with references and links to others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion
Now, why am I including all this in my blog? Because “Observing / Listening / Meditating” about national and world events are high on my priority list of personal activities and interests these days.
I was a young adult when the Bay of Pigs invasion was attempted and failed. I read and heard all the stories the national media published, both newsprint and television. I didn’t believe the American people were being told the truth about it, and we weren’t.
But why should we have been?
The current US administration wants to nitpick, second guess, dissect and destroy the information-gathering work of our intelligence agencies. I can think of a reason or two, and they have nothing to do with preserving our way of life…
All in all, this is a good movie. Informative and thought-provoking, one I can recommend to anyone interested in US politics and current events. Here’s a link to one of the movie trailers: The Good Shepherd movie trailer.