At the end of May, the CIA introduced Reel vs. Real, a program designed "to demystify the CIA's mission by comparing what's seen on TV to what happens in reality." In late June they really doubled down on that effort with a visit from the ultimate cinematic symbol of spycraft, James Bond (aka actor Daniel Craig).
Craig was there to dig into the real nuts and bolts of what CIA officers do—which many would tell you isn't remotely as interesting as anything in his movies.
The CIA's reasoning behind inviting Craig—as well as the filmmakers behind Bond flicks—was pretty straightforward for such a secretive outfit. As the agency's mysteriously unnamed blog author writes, "the CIA does not exist in a vacuum."
It is, after all, a government entity. As such, the CIA answers to congress and to the American public. Sure, it's all about clandestine missions in foreign nations (the CIA isn't legally allowed to operate within the the United States), and it's vital that work remains secret.
At the same time, TV and movie portraits of the CIA range from dumb to downright supernatural, as if it's some global organization of super villains. It's in the CIA's best interest, according to the agency's blog, to work "where appropriate, with the film industry to combat misrepresentations and assist in balanced and accurate portrayals."
This is about as transparent as it gets for them, basically. Here's what the man called Bond on screen got to do:
Mr. Craig met with our leadership and workforce,who explained that real life espionage is a lot more “cloak” and a lot less “dagger” than presented in the entertainment world of spy vs. spy. During conversations with CIA subject matter experts, Mr. Craig learned about the many facets of intelligence collection and how our five directorates work together to advance CIA’s mission. Later, during an engagement with the Agency workforce, Mr. Craig remarked about the teamwork that goes into the intelligence cycle and how impressed he was with the commitment and dedication of CIA officers.
Okay, we do kind of envy Craig, because just learning that much sounds damn intriguing.
It is, however, a good bet that no one let him drive some kind of tricked-out submarine/Lotus Esprit.