Jul 8, 2008

Tradecraft: Ripped From The Headlines

Variety reports that Hollywood producers are moving quickly to get last week's exciting news story of the Colombian hostage rescue on the big screen as quickly as possible. Colombian officials went out of their way to describe the rescue mission as an "intelligence operation," and not military. While various studios, agencies and producers are courting the hostages themselves to secure their stories, others are pursuing the spy angle more directly. The trade reports:
Scott Steindorff and Las Vegas-based Phil Maloof are negotiating to get the rights to the Colombian government's story of how it pulled off the bloodless liberations.

The operation included infiltrating [rebel hostage-takers] FARC's intelligence network and employing acting teachers and speech therapists to fool the kidnappers into thinking that the helicopters that landed deep in the jungles were sent by a humanitarian group.

Steindorff filmed Love in the Time of Cholera in Cartagena, Colombia, and became friendly with government officials during his work there.
Acting teachers and speech therapists? Sounds like a team Jim Phelps would assemble! The secret nature of intelligence work dictates that most successes remain unsung, while failures become widely known. It will be nice to see a successful, real world intelligence operation celebrated on screen for once.

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