Saturday, May 13, 2006
In God we trust. The rest we monitor.
"In God we trust. The rest we monitor," is one of the "tag lines" for the 1998 movie ENEMY OF THE STATE, starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, and directed by Tony Scott. It's about chicanery in the National Security Administration (NSA), which is literally drunk on power and running amuck, spying on Americans to the max. Does the NSA and spying on Americans ring a bell for you? The movie is, of course, fiction. Or, is it?
A successful lawyer named Robert Dean (Smith) meets an old pal, frightened and running, who slips Robert a computer disc without his knowledge just before the pal is killed. A senior officer at the NSA with the last name of Reynolds (Voight) wants that disc back because it implicates him in the politically motivated murder of a U.S. Congressman, and he will stop at nothing to get it.
Robert is viciously pursued, and it takes him awhile to discover the disc, not before another friend is murdered. He knows the danger he is in and contacts a old friend "Brill" Lyle, a technical genius who formerly worked at the NSA.
Meanwhile, Reynolds uses all the sophisticated spying equipment, and personnel at the NSA to wiretap, film, tap into all kinds of personal files, etc. He tracks first Robert and then Brill, in order to eliminate both of them, neither of whom have broken a law. Well, not until they realize what is going down. Then, to heck with the law, survival is paramount. Of course, Robert and Brill are the good guys from the get-go, and they win, but only after one life-threatening experience after another.
Back in the real world. Someone asked the question on the IMDB, "Can you imagine not having any privacy at all?" My answer is, "That day is here. No need to imagine."
After what has gone down with the CIA, the NSA, and the former head of the NSA General Michael Hayden in recent weeks, any rational American can see the handwriting on the wall. The premise of ENEMY OF THE STATE is coming true right before our eyes. We are watching the nightly news, not a movie. If Hayden is appointed head of the CIA, he will have it, the NSA, and the Pentagon in his pocket. All are under the Executive Branch. Never in my lifetime have I seen so much power concentrated in the Executive Branch. Yee Gads!
If you haven't seen this movie, get it. It will scare even the casual viewer enough to vote for a Democrat this fall.