Don’t fall asleep on us! If you do you might wake up thinking you are a sleeper agent and start killing people! That’s right folks; it’s time again for another round of “Versus.” And this week, we have a sleeper agent stand off! Two different people that were trained, then left in normal everyday towns not knowing that they are to one day to do someone else’s dirty work. We have two fast paced killing machines today. We have Jason Bourne from the Bourne series, and we have Clarly Baltimore from the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. Who do you think would be the better sleeper agent killing machine?
A sleeper agent is a spy who is placed in a target country or organization, not to undertake an immediate mission, but rather to act as a potential asset if activated. Sleeper agents are popular plot devices in fiction, in particular espionage fiction and science fiction.
In espionage, a sleeper agent is one who has infiltrated into the target country and has “gone to sleep”, sometimes for many years. That is, he or she does nothing to communicate with his or her sponsor nor any existing agents, nor to obtain information beyond that in public sources. They can also be referred to as ‘deep cover’ agents. They acquire jobs and identities—ideally ones which will prove useful in the future – and attempt to blend into everyday life as normal citizens. Counter-espionage agencies in the target country cannot, in practice, closely watch all of those who might possibly have been recruited some time before.
In a sense, the best sleeper agents are those who do not need to be paid by the sponsor as they are able to earn enough money to finance themselves. This avoids any possibly traceable payments from abroad. In such cases, it is possible that the sleeper agent might be successful enough to become what is sometimes termed an “agent of influence”.
Sleeper agents who have been discovered have often been natives of the target country who moved elsewhere in early life and were co-opted (perhaps for ideological or ethnic reasons) before returning to the target country. This is valuable to the sponsor as the sleeper’s language and other skills can be those of a ‘native’ and thus less likely to trigger suspicion.
Choosing and inserting sleeper agents has often posed difficulties as it is uncertain which target will be appropriate some years in the future. If the sponsor government (or its policies) change after the sleeper has been inserted, the sleeper might be found to have been planted in the wrong target.
Jason Bourne (Bourne Identity)
Jason Bourne is a fictional character and the protagonist of a series of novels by Robert Ludlum and subsequent film adaptations. He first appeared in the novel The Bourne Identity (1980), which was adapted for television in 1988. The novel was very loosely adapted in 2002 into a feature film under the same name and starred Matt Damon in the lead role.
The character has appeared in twelve sequel novels; the most recent (nine) were written by Eric Van Lustbader, with the latest published in 2014. Along with the first feature film, The Bourne Identity (2002), Jason Bourne also appears in two sequel movies The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), both with Damon again in the lead role. Jeremy Renner stars in the fourth film of the franchise, The Bourne Legacy, released in August 2012. Damon stated in interviews that he would not do another Bourne film without Paul Greengrass, who had directed the second and third installments.
Jason Bourne has a tormented past, which continues to influence him throughout his lifetime. Jason Bourne is but one of many aliases used by David Webb. Webb served in the United States Marine Corps and is a career foreign service officer and a specialist in Far Eastern affairs. Before the events in The Bourne Identity, Webb had a Thai wife named Dao and two children named Joshua and Alyssa in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Webb’s wife and two children were inadvertently killed during the Vietnam War when a fighter plane strayed into Cambodia, dropped two bombs and strafed a spot near the Mekong River. However, unknown to Bourne, Joshua survived. Due to Cambodia’s neutrality in the war, every nation disclaimed the plane, and, therefore, no one took responsibility for the incident. Having nothing left to live for, Webb went to Saigon and, under the careful guidance of Alex Conklin, ended up training for an elite Top Secret Special Forces unit called Medusa. Within that select organization Webb was known only by his code name, Delta One.
Charly Baltimore (Long Kiss Goodnight)
Charly Baltimore is a factional character from the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. It is a 1996 action film directed and produced by Renny Harlin, written and produced by Shane Black and starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.
Charly Baltimore/ Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) is a schoolteacher in the small town of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, with her boyfriend Hal (Tom Amandes) and her daughter Caitlin (Yvonne Zima). Eight years earlier, she was found washed ashore on a New Jersey beach, pregnant with Caitlin and totally amnesiac. Having never remembered her real name or any part of her life from before that day, “Samantha” has hired a number of private investigators to try to discover her past, the latest being Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson).
She’s a trained government assassin named Charly. She has forgotten her real identity because of “what the doctors call focal retrograde amnesia.” She leads a quiet life in a small town, even playing Mrs. Santa in the Christmas parade, until a TV broadcast and a violent car wreck begin to bring back her past.
As you have seen, we have to people that were sleeper agents that went off and choose their own paths. Seems familiar? Well there have been a few films that have followed this trope. It’s not a new idea, but studios seem to like the idea and contunie with it. So who would you like to see win this sleeper agent showdown – Jason Bourne, or Charly Baltimore? Do you want to hear more than what we have written here? You can listen about it in detail at podcastunlimited.com, and look for episode #81. You can either download it, or listen to it on the go. Please comment below, and be a part of the bigger picture. And vote for who you would like see win! Make a difference!