The Good Shepherd and the Birth of the CIA

Welcome to my project for US History and Film for the Fall 2010 semester at the University of Mary Washington. Throughout this site, I will critically analyze the film The Good Shepherd directed by Robert De Niro in 2006, provide a foundation for the history of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and an analysis of the characters in the movie versus the historical figures that helped build the CIA. My research includes the movie itself (of course), reviews by film critics, journal articles, and historical dissertations and research books about the CIA. Feel free to look around, and please make sure you watch the trailer for this wonderful movie.


I Caryn Levine Sever hereby declare upon my word of honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized help on this work.

Please proceed to The Birth of the CIA page.


[1] “The Good Shepherd Trailer – Trailer Addict,” Trailer Addict- Movie Trailers, accessed October 28, 2010,

The Birth of the CIA

In 1945, Harry S. Truman was new to the White House following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt; in a letter to his friend Truman wrote “when I took over, the President had no means of coordinating intelligence from around the world”.[1] According to Truman, when his Central Intelligence Group (CIG) was built, he …

The CIA and the Bay of Pigs Invasion

In 1961 the United States and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) suffered a humiliating failure in the Bay of Pigs. The operation was authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the State Department, the White House, and the CIA who “failed to carry out their tasks properly.”[2] Beginning in March of 1960, the CIA …

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