Citizenfour: The Spy Who Was Never Out in the Cold

October 29, 2014 10:19 PM

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Citizenfour: The Spy Who Was Never Out in the Cold

Officers of the CIA's clandestine service are often warned: don't fall in love with your agents. This cautionary advice is meant to be interpreted literally and figuratively. In Laura Poitras' compelling, controversial, and ultimately contradictory new documentary Citizenfour, the filmmaker seems to have fallen in love with her "agent" -- in this case the movie's hero, or villain, depending upon how you look at it -- Edward Snowden.

To be clear: contrary to popular jargon, a "CIA agent" is not the American employee of the Agency itself, but rather the recruited foreign human asset -- the person committing treason against his country or double-crossing the organization to which he belongs -- albeit for a higher purpose, from the...

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