Rated R, 2hr 14m, Director: Oliver Stone, Cast on IMDb
So what did you think of the movie?
I thought this was very time relevant. As the CIA/NSA has said themselves, the technology keeps progressing so in a few years the initial exposure of Prism, Heartbeat, etc. will be outdated. Hopefully, the rights of citizens will start to be respected under the reforms triggered by Edward Snowden exposing the existing architecture of the current NSA snooping on the entire world. I liked the development of Snowden as initially in Special Operations, but was dropped due to his physical condition in his legs. He had a long family connection to serving in the military, so was following in his family's tradition of serving their country.
- Grandfather is a Rear Admiral in the Coast Guard
- Father is a Coast Guard officer
- Sister is a lawyer in Federal Judicial Center
One of the flaws of the movie is that it is made right after the event. We have not yet had time to digest the event in historical terms, so likely there is some myopic view when you do it in the moment. On the other hand, it is a type of film to almost document the whole event behind the scenes to really how Snowden choose to betray the NSA and become an international refugee.
What did you think of the girlfriend of Snowden played by Shailene Woodley?
It was a very important element that dives into her influence into to seeing the government as possibly suspect and through the eyes of a normal citizen outside of a true military family that Snowden came from. It shows how he has to walk this thin line of basically lying to his girlfriend of the extent of the NSA programs spying on the average US citizen.
So what was the breaking point for Snowden? (SPOILER?)
He claims that seeing the Director of National Intelligence lie to Congress was the tipping point. In the movie, there is the added dimension of confessing to spying on his girlfriend once, because he was jealous and his boss confirms that she is not cheating on him.
James Clapper - Director of Intelligence testifying before Congress
Another element is that Edward makes friends early on with an NSA teacher played by Nicolas Cage that tried to expose how the system was going to far earlier in his career and got sidelined. So Snowden knew that it was nearly impossible to expose the system from the inside.
Did the film crew become paranoid doing a documentary type film exposing the NSA?
In face Oliver Stone had all the filming moved to Munich, since he thought he would be spied upon by the NSA in the US.
What did the real Edward Snowden think of the movie of his life?
He has said it is a very good version of the events that passed and is as close to reality as possible.
What are the current US presidential candidates opinion on the case against Edward?
See below both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's interpretation on the topics.
Have you had any CIA/NSA connections?
Interestingly enough I have two. I once considered and started poking around the CIA website, but then considered that becoming a star on the wall that no one outside of the CIA was highly unappealing. At the time, the unease of what the government was spying on was seeming very unseemly. I'm sure the people in the CIA believe they are doing the right thing for their country, but with so many dicey executions like in Iran in 1953 and in Central America invasions. So at that point I kind of lost my interest.
My second point of touch point to the government was a deal that passed through my fingers on networking equipment at the Department of Defense. It was a $500K deal that was given to the government free since they got the wrong equipment (earlier versions). So the government was asking to get the new equipment, so we were asking for the equipment back to exchange. Since the information was confidential, the government would "destroy" the equipment and give us a receipt to prove it. I was completely against such a blatant BS deal, but being the government we had to fulfil this type of deal.
Does any of your art touch on these issues?
I have one painting "Ride the Dragon on the Plains of Slaves" dwelling on the Chinese Military hacking group 61398, which would have been one of the groups that Snowden would have been fighting while he worked in Hawaii.
Ride the Dragon on the Plains of Slaves
Another connected painting is the "444 Con" about the Iranian Revolution taken over by Islamic extremist Ayatollah Khomeini. One of the key to his rise was in fact the 1953 overthrow of the elected prime minister Mossaddegh by the CIA that led to bitterness by Iranian population.
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