Why Is Homeland Playing Down The Abilities Of The CIA?
This week I've been watching Homeland and The Secret State and something struck me. The CIA really are a bit rubbish.
In The Secret State we see that GCHQ, the nation's secret service communications centre, is tapping into politician's cellphones/mobile phones even when they are off, to listen to conversations, flagged by corporate keywords requested by American secret services. Basically the US government in the pocket of corporate America, and using leverage over Britain for commercial interests.
But in Homeland, the CIA don't seem to be able to do that. Even though we know that they can.
Ever since Brody was accepted as a turned Al Qaeda operative by the CIA, they should have been able to tap into the microphone on his cellphone/mobile phone and listen in on his conversatios. Including a certain chat in the corridor a few episodes ago with Roya Hammad that they can only see but not hear, at the exact time they are trying to create a web of his contacts
There are two reasons. Storytelling ability. In Homeland, the CIA are the protagonists, andit's hard to make the protagonists too powerful, because there would be no drama. If they had that conversation in the corridor tapped, they wouldn't have to go through all the hoops necessary to target Hammad as a suspect. She would have been arrested right away and where's the fun in that?
The other one is that you don't want to spook the horses. The American public are okay, it seems, with terrorist suspects being stabbed in the hand as part of an interrogation. Waterboarding, torture, whatever it takes, they've been arrested for reason right? But tapping the phones of people, even when they're not being used as a call, the realisation that everyone is carrying a potential bugging device or two on their person which can be listened in at any point? Even if you're subconsciously aware, America may not like this rubbed in their face all the time
In Britain, we know what shits the secret services are. We have no freedoms, we have no rights, but on the other hand, we can have nudity and swearing on network TV, and there's free healthcare at point of use, so you know, swings and roundabouts.
Sorry Rich, I'm not saying your larger theories about American intelligence agencies are incorrect, but I think you'e getting your Homeland eavesdropping scenes confused.
The first eavesdropping scene is when Roya meets her contact near a public fountain. Carrie has eyes on this because of CCTV cams in the area, but Max and Virgil are unable to get close enough with a microphone to capture any usable audio. Bummer. Then Virgil bungles the tail. Double bummer.
The Brody/Roya corridor scene goes down in an entirely different way and gets recorded in it's entirety, thanks again to CCTV, but also because Carrie has given Brody a tapped phone. She even jumps into his car in an earlier scene in the parking garage to specifically remind him to take the new phone in when he enters the building.
The Brody/Roya conversation goes well until Roya spots a man on a cell phone in the same corridor. They stop talking. Then the following dialog:
CARRIE: Ok Virgil, what happened to our audio? We lost audio!
VIRGIL: No, they're just not talking.
When the guy leaves, Brody and Roya wrap things up. Conversation recorded. But after the Gettysburg incident, Carrie accuses Brody of having passed some kind of non-verbal message to Roya. So even with all the fancy tech and eyeballs on the conversation, the CIA might have been thwarted.