Dead Drop: August 26

FACEBOOK “FOUNDER” FLEES FEDS:  Bloomberg news had a story last week you might have missed about Paul Ceglia, a guy who says he helped invent Facebook and who claims Mark Zuckerberg owes him half the company’s worth.  But the government charged Ceglia with falsifying some documents to support his case against Zuckerberg.  So he was sporting an electronic ankle bracelet until about a year ago when he reportedly cut it off and went on the lam with his wife, two pre-teenage sons, and dog.  Ceglia, 43, told Bloomberg in recent emails that he fled due to a “very credible” threat that he would be “arrested on new charges, jailed and killed before trial.”  Why, you might reasonably ask?  He says he was targeted for death because the CIA didn’t want him to reveal that the Agency’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel, played a role in setting up Facebook. Here at The Dead Drop, we have (not yet) been targeted for assassination by the CIA – but if we were – we’d probably avoid sending emails from our hideout to media outfits.  And as Jason Bourne could tell you – it is hard enough to avoid being tracked down by the CIA. Imagine how hard it would be if you were running with your wife, two kids, and the dog?

RAPP ATTENTION: Several months ago The Dead Drop told you that actor Dylan O’Brien was in talks to play CIA operative “Mitch Rapp” in a forthcoming movie called American Assassin. The flick is based on the popular novel of the same name by the late Vince Flynn.  Now we hear that Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch have also signed on.  According to one account:  the film American Assassin will follow the rise of Mitch Rapp (O’Brien), a “CIA black ops recruit” under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Keaton). They are asked to investigate a wave of attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together they discover a pattern in the violence, leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative (Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East. Note, in the original novel, Vince Flynn credited former CIA officer (and current Cipher Brief network member) Rob Richer with helping give him the flavor of Beirut in the early 1990s.

RED SPARROW: While The Dead Drop is on a Hollywood kick, we might as well tell you that a movie based on Jason Matthews well-received Red Sparrow is about to take flight.  According to Deadline Hollywood, Joel Edgerton is in talks to join Jennifer Lawrence in the flick set in contemporary Russia about a woman enlisted, against her will, to be a “sparrow” – a trained seductress – who targets a first-tour CIA officer.

GET SMART: We apologize for the excessive Hollywood tilt to this week’s issue – but we go where the news leads us.  Earlier this week, CNET posted “an exclusive” film clip from the forthcoming Oliver Stone flick, Snowden.   The scene shows the CIA giving a cyber aptitude test to a bunch of recruits.  The test monitor warns that it takes the average applicant five hours to complete and that if you take more than eight hours you flunk.  Our “hero” Ed Snowden naturally finishes in 38 minutes.  CNET incredibly writes: “…if Oliver Stone’s new political thriller Snowden can be believed, there’s one issue about the man that can’t be debated. He’s brilliant.”  Are you kidding us?  Oliver Stone puts this questionable scene in his movie and that proves beyond debate that Snowden is brilliant? And where did Stone get the information about the test?  We’re no rocket scientists, but we are betting it was Ed Snowden.

CIA’S RUFF TAIL: In case your subscription to The Bark magazine (motto: “Dog is my copilot”) has lapsed, The Dead Drop would like to draw your attention to an article the magazine just posted called, “The CIA’s Spot On Dog Training Tips.” The Bark dug up a posting from the Agency’s website from about a year ago about how the CIA trains its K-9s.  The Bark says we should sit and listen to the Agency’s advice.  This represents the first time in living memory that a San Francisco-based publication said, “good boy” to the CIA.