|www.ebbemunk.dk"I'm on my own side now" said Jason Bourne|
Seen in the intelligence service's perspective the concentration of power seems to have been a success in two operations where Jason Bourne was the master of two apparently accidental deaths:
But the concentration of power is a problem when it is used to solve private interests or to get rid of other Special Operation's employees:
The problem is demonstrated by the fact that out of 12 attempts, six targets were external, and four targets were Special Operations employees[note]. In other words, the Special Operations is a very dangerous place to work.
The answer to the research question is no. Apparently, the management of the intelligence service has not taken precautions against the Special Operation's possible abuse of power. On the contrary, CIA Director Ezra Kramer approved CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen's assassination of CIA Station Chief Neal Daniels.
The analysis of the power play in the sections on corruption and the internal power plays shows that the employees are using all kinds of organizational politics to fight each other:
The answer to the research question is no. Apparently, the management of the intelligence service has not taken precautions against internal power plays. On the contrary, CIA Director Ezra Kramer takes part in a conspiracy against Pamela Landy.[note]
Here is the chain of reasoning for research question 3:
When Jason Bourne applied for the programme, Dr. Hirsch assured "Your mission will save American lives"[note]. That is a common incantation in U.S. foreign policy. As Dr. Hirsch is preparing Bourne to be an assassin, it is a morbid statement. And, when looking at the programme's results, it is completely misleading. The desirable outcome changed from saving American lives to targeting American citizens.[note]
When Noah Vosen selects Nicky as the next target, Pamela Landy interferes: "Noah, she's one of us. You start down this path, where does it end?" Vosen answers: "It ends when we've won". Vosen is defining the desirable outcome like the generals of World War I who not only commanded their armies, but also were left to decide the goal. On both sides the generals wanted the total victory and left out the possibility of negotiation or withdrawal. The result was a war of attrition and a massive loss of soldiers on both sides.
And how is the balance between internal and external actions in the three films?
The answer to the research question is yes. The Special Operations changes its desirable outcome to be self-obsessed and not show attention to the world around it.
In the first film Jason Bourne only wanted to recover his identity and keep distance from CIA "I swear, if I even feel somebody behind me there is no measure to how fast and how hard I will bring this fight to your doorstep. I'm on my own side now".[note]. As CIA continues to send assassins to kill him, Bourne is targeting his old organization.
In the second film Bourne let himself arrest on purpose, because he wants to get in contact with those who killed Marie.
In the third film, he declares to Marie's brother: "Someone started all of this and I'm gonna find them"[note].
Bourne's total victory is described by a television reporter at the end of the third film:
"The President convened an emergency cabinet meeting today to discuss the growing scandal over an alleged government assassination programme, code-named Blackbriar. CIA Director Ezra Kramer is under criminal investigation for authorising the programme, which in several cases may have even targeted US citizens. Two agency officials have already been arrested. Dr. Albert Hirsch, the alleged mastermind of Blackbriar programme, and CIA Deputy Director Noah Vosen, the programme's operational chief. Meanwhile, mystery surrounds the fate of David Webb, also known as Jason Bourne, the source behind the exposure of the Blackbriar programme. It's been reported that Webb was shot and fell from a Manhattan rooftop into the East River ten storeys below. However, after a three-day search, Webb's body has yet to be found."[note]
We watch it happen, and that is very good entertainment.
Robert Ludlum's inspiration was what made him angry. In a television interview for an earlier book, "The Aquitaine Progression" (1984), he said:
I write about something that either outrages me or intrigues me or amuses me. And I'm outraged by, I guess, an awful lot. I think, you know, this is the age of fanaticism in a way, and I think fanaticism feeds upon itself, and I loathe fanatics. And so I think I use whatever minor imagination I have to try to attack them, really.
Jason Bourne's part as CIA's assassin is much more probable than for example James Bond's part as a British secret agent. James Bond attracts attention by using luxury hotels, sports cars and expensive women. Bourne is very modest in his choice of hotels and cars and has nearly no time for the women. He participates in car hunts with Marie's old Morris Mascot, a Moscow Lada taxi, and a New York police car.
Henry Morrison was Ludlum's literary agent. He explains Ludlum's way of creating a realistic description:
For a long time, he and his wife would travel. He would go to locations, and I think Bob took about 4,000 pictures. He had pictures of army vehicles, He had pictures of people's landry on roofs. He knew the locales, so that when he was writing the story it was almost like a movie location, because he could lay out all those pictures and remember what everything looked like.[note]
Universal Pictures has followed up on Ludlum's realistic style. The films are taken on location in Zurich, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, London, Madrid, Tangier, etc.[note]
It is relatively easy to be an individual author like Ludlum, who invents the plot and criticizes the CIA. The creative process takes place in the author's mind. As an author Robert Ludlum only needed to find someone who would publish the book. The creative process is much more complicated when the process is to create a film. Then the creative process takes place in cooperation between writers, directors, and producers.
Universal Pictures has done a brilliant work when changing the story into the three films.
In the films, CIA seems to have unlimited access to information about foreign citizens: Cross-referencing Marie's grandmother's old telephone bills, hacking Ross' e-mail account, using all closed circuit TV cameras on Waterloo station and turning off the cameras before killing Ross. CIA's largest technological problem at Waterloo station seems to be that Ross is using a telephone where CIA does not know the number.
But in the real world there is spent a lot of time working with the extraction of data. Customer databases are full of typos and identical names, passwords have been changed, old data are in unaccessible formats, and it takes time to make comprehensible cross-references.
The least realistic example: In the second film, Jason Bourne is using a gadget to clone John Nevins' SIM card. In the film it is a very quick process: Nevin draws his gun. Bourne jumps up, hits Nevins and the guarding policeman so that they are unconscious, clones Nevin's cell phone SIM card with a device from Bourne's bag, takes Nevin's car keys, leaves the room and blocks it from the outside, all in 25 seconds.
According to Wikipedia, a realistic time for extracting the authentication key from a SIM card is approximately 4-8 hours. There is 40% probability of damaging the card in the process. Additionally, the attacker must know the SIM card's PIN code. The quick and realistic solution would be to steal the telephone. [note]
The usability expert Jakob Nielsen has written about the exaggerated IT usability in the movies: User interfaces in film are more exciting than they are realistic, and heroes have far too easy a time using foreign systems. It matters, but ... we go to the movies to be entertained, not to learn realistic task performance. "So, go ahead and employ user interfaces and interaction techniques that are entertaining and would never work in the real world."[note]
1. CIA and its Special Operations section are dependent on the cooperation of others:
2. In the first film Ward Abbott asks his subordinate Conklin about Treadstone:
Abbott: ... What's this Treadstone?
Conklin: You're asking me a direct question?
Conklin: I thought you were never gonna do that.
Abbott and Conklin share this knowledge already, in general because Conklin receives a lot of money for his project, in special because they are the conspirators that made Bourne kill Neski.[note]
3. Film no. 2 ends with Bourne in New York. He tells Pamela Landy that she looks tired. The New York scene in film no. 2 is a kind of "happy end shortcut" to tell that Bourne survived and found his way home. He tells Pamela: "Get some rest, Pam. You look tired"[note]. This scene turned out to be superfluous when film no. 3 was realized. Film no. 3 continues with the wounded Bourne on the run in Moscow, and much later he appears in New York.
In the real world there will always be mistakes: The Alexander Conklin figure is partly based on Oliver North, who in 1985 worked on finding a way to let the U.S Government fund the Nicaraguan contras and bypass the Congress' restrictions and several laws. The funding was financed by selling weapons to the Iranian government and letting the money pass through private entities and foreign governments. A money transfer was messed up when Oliver North's secretary, Fawn Hall, transposed the numbers of North's Swiss bank account number. A Swiss businessman, suddenly $10 million richer, alerted the authorities of the mistake.[note]
 Sources: interviews on the Bourne Trilogy Bonus Disc, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bourne_Identity_(2002_film, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Contra_affair.
 On the contrary, Universal Pictures includes a quite different disclaimer on the DVDs, only dealing with the extra material: "Any views or opinions expressed in interviews or commentary are those of the individuals speaking and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Universal Pictures International, its parent, or any of its affiliates or employees."
 The scene featuring Bourne desperately trying to catch a glimpse of Paz in the London Underground after Ross is gunned down is, according to director Paul Greengrass, a wink to the New York City Subway chase in one of his favorite films, The French Connection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bourne_Ultimatum_(film)
 Interviews on The Ultimate Bourne Collection, bonus DVD. Considering laundry on roofs: The scenes where Bourne is hunted by Moroccan police on the Tangier rooftops may be inspired by the 1987 James Bond film The Living Daylights.
 Jakob Nielsen mentions two problems: 1. Research funding and management expectations are biased. When you see something work as part of a coherent and exciting story, you start wanting it. 2. Users blame themselves when they can't use technology like they have seen someone do in a film. Source: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/film-ui-bloopers.html