Wayne Grudem evaluates the Jason Bourne films (his critique applies to The Bourne Legacy as well) when he discusses the CIA in Politics—According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 424–25:
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the primary organization that gathers and analyzes information about other countries, especially about potential enemies of the United States. In other words, the CIA coordinates America’s spy network abroad.
Is this a good thing? It seems to me that a necessary part of defending a nation is seeking to know about potential enemies and possible attacks before they happen, so that the nation can be defended against them. Because of this function, the CIA has no doubt prevented immense harm to the United States and to its interests both at home and elsewhere.
In the Bible, spies were not unknown. Joshua sent spies into the Promised Land before the conquest of Canaan (Josh. 2:1), David sent out spies to learn the whereabouts of King Saul (1 Sam. 26:4), and David later sent Hushai the Archite to serve as an undercover agent when Absalom was about to capture Jerusalem (2 Sam. 15:32–37; 16:15–19; 17:5–22).
Americans should, in general, be thankful for the CIA and the valuable intelligence it provides for our government. But instead of appreciation, the CIA constantly faces hostility and criticism from much of the American media and Hollywood. Because of unrelenting criticism over the years, much of which cannot be effectively answered without revealing national secrets, a sort of anti-CIA attitude has grown up in the United States. One example is the recent series of three movies called “The Bourne Trilogy,” starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Although I have enjoyed several of Robert Ludlum’s novels (from which the lead character was taken), and although these movies were great fun to watch and very well made, their plots were completely different from Ludlum’s novels, and the main villain turns out to be not any evil terrorist but the CIA itself!
Such an anti-CIA mindset is both unfortunate for the country and highly inappropriate to the crucial work that is carried out by the agency. Although there are no doubt occasional breeches of good conduct and unwise decisions, for the most part the tens of thousands of people who work for the CIA do so at the cost of significant personal sacrifice and often in the face of great danger. Criticism of the CIA or its activities in general has a destructive effect on the nation because it undermines the morale of CIA employees who often perform extremely dangerous tasks at great personal sacrifice, largely out of devotion to protecting the nation. It also creates an atmosphere in which it is more difficult for the agency to recruit employees and carry on its work.
Opposition to the CIA as a general attitude of mind or a general policy position runs contrary to the very ability of the nation to defend itself; it is therefore opposition to the United States itself.
Of course, it is necessary that Congress have some oversight of the activities of the CIA and related intelligence agencies, all of which are part of the executive branch and ultimately report to the President. But too often congressional oversight has led to damaging leaks of information (from anti-CIA congressmen or their staff members), leaks that have been destructive to the CIA’s ability to protect national security and have actually hampered the CIA in fulfilling its tasks.
Christians who believe it is right, according to Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2, for nations to defend their citizens should be supportive of the CIA in general rather than being instinctively critical of activities about which they actually know very little.
Related: Three Books on Politics