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The 'Argo' effect: Film could stoke suspicions about Americans abroad (+video)

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“I would also assume this movie ["Argo"] may have confirmed this suspicion for many who do not read books but do see movies,” he adds.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s decision to bring in none other than first lady Michelle Obama to announce the best film Oscar – which just happened to be "Argo" – only amplifies the impression that the relationship between the US government and Hollywood is totally chummy.

“That decision crossed a line,” says Chuck Evered, a director and writer whose film, “A Thousand Cuts,” was recently nominated for a Saturn Award, one that honors science fiction films.

If the industry wanted to send a message of independence from government influence, he says, “that would not be the choice you would make.... If we are all in each other’s back pockets, how effective as storytellers can we be?”

The CIA has used any number of covers over the years, says Peter Earnest, a 35-year CIA veteran and executive director of the International Spy Museum in Washington. He says he was involved in numerous intelligence operations and points out that “there are any number of countries where if you even speak a foreign language or ask questions you will become an object of suspicion, so Americans are not alone in this.”

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