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Angelina Jolie’s “Salt”: Russian Spies Aren’t What They Used to Be

Posted on July 23 2010 8:00 am
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Angelina Jolie (who is one of the few true Hollywood stars to support the surge in Iraq), has a new movie opening on Friday called”Salt.” It is a spy thriller about a CIA analyst falsely accused by a KGB defector of being a secret Russian agent tasked with killing the President. It’s pretty ironic timing, as 10 Russian spies were arrested recently and were swapped for four U.S. spies.

Hollywood is hoping that the headlines about the spies will help sell movie tickets, but I don’t think they should hold their breath. The average moviegoer isn’t thinking about the spy case and won’t pay 10 bucks (or 11 in my case) to see a movie with a similar theme but no real connection to what just happened. I think the movie will simply drown as more and more people hear talk about “Inception,” with many seeing it twice in order to try to put the complex puzzle pieces together.

The movie could actually be undermined by the facts of the spy case, although I doubt many people are aware of the hilarious details of the spies’ incompetence. In this TIME Magazine article, former CIA case officer Robert Baer explains:

At one point, an undercover FBI agent introduced himself to one of the suspects, claiming to be a substitute-control officer. Not only did the alleged Russian operative fall for it, she didn’t notice that afterward, she was followed by more undercover FBI agents to a Verizon store, where they observed her buying a prepaid phone card. They then observed her as she apparently dropped the Verizon bag into a trash can — with the receipt in it. The name on it was Irene Kutsov — not the Americanized alias she reportedly used in the U.S. — and the address “99 Fake Street.”

Kind of brings a whole new meaning the words “intelligence community,” doesn’t it?

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