We Should Have Listened to Shia LaBeouf About the NSA!


Celebrities talk a lot about stuff–and sometimes about stuff they don’t really know much about. But five years ago, as a guest on Tonight Show with Jay Leno, actor Shia LaBeouf brought up something that seems far more important now than it did then–and maybe we should have paid attention.

LaBeouf was discussing his experiences filming Eagle Eye, a thriller about

a young man and a single mother who are brought together and coerced by an anonymous caller into carrying out a plan by a possible terrorist organization.

The film had an FBI consultant. The consultant, according to LeBeouf,  told him that home alarm monitors could be turned on to monitor households, and that cars could be shutdown using OnStar. And that one in five phone calls were recorded by the government. To prove the point, LaBeouf continued, the FBI consultant played back a call the actor had made two years earlier, before he was associated with the picture,

one of those what are you are wearing type of things.

Okay that is creepy. But wow, they must have gotten really close for the consultant to show him all that spai stuff.

According to IMDBpro, the FBI technical consultant on Eagle Eye was Thomas Knowles. A quick Google search shows that Knowles retired from the FBI in 2006, and in 2009

joined the Board of Directors of Continental Prison Systems, Inc. (Pink Sheets:CPSZ), and its operating division called EZ Card & Kiosk, which provides the “cashless jail” solution to city and county jails around the US. Mr. Knowles, who retired from the FBI in 2006, brings superior organizational, analytical and exceptional decisiveness and problem-solving skills to the company….

In 1985, Mr. Knowles began his FBI career, with assignments in Oklahoma, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Athens, Greece, Kandahar, Afghanistan and the FBI Headquarters Office in Washington, D.C. While with the FBI, Mr. Knowles pursued investigations in violent crime matters such as drugs, kidnappings, bank robberies and organized crime, before transferring to the International Terrorism Division just prior to the first bombing of the World Trade Center Towers in February of 1993. He then continued his work in terrorism matters both living and working assignments in Greece, the Middle East and the former Soviet Republic break-away states, before returning to FBI Headquarters as Chief of the International Operations Section responsible for FBI international offices. He retired from the FBI after managing a joint law enforcement terrorism task force, yet remains actively involved in the fight against both international and domestic terrorists.

Eagle Eye is the only film for which he has been credited as consultant.

19 Responses to "We Should Have Listened to Shia LaBeouf About the NSA!"
Phoenix Woman | Wednesday June 12, 2013 07:37 am 1

Wow! Good legwork, Lisa!

Lisa Derrick | Wednesday June 12, 2013 07:46 am 2

To quote LaBeouf from that classic American film, Transformers: “That woman just called me a messenger. Can you believe that? After everything I’ve done, I’m a messenger.”

eCAHNomics | Wednesday June 12, 2013 08:17 pm 3

Is anyone surprised by this? I hope not.

I’ll use the pretext of this post to point out that Hollywood, CIA, Pentagon are closely tied. CIA, Pent like to test drive, on TV & in movies, scenarios they are considering.

Was talking to a friend about this with some specific item, like school shootings, and she said: Yes, I remember seeing that on L&O, or CSI, or JAG, or whatever it was.

DSWright | Wednesday June 12, 2013 08:34 pm 4

Wow. Senator Coats today at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing said that every phone call made is recorded and stored somewhere.

I could have learned that years ago by watching the tonight show… meh, still not worth it.

nonpartisanliberal | Wednesday June 12, 2013 08:40 pm 5

There is a petition to pardon Ed Snowden. I don’t expect him to receive a pardon, but I do think how vigorously he is pursued and how awfully he is treated can be mitigated by a show of public support.

nonpartisanliberal | Wednesday June 12, 2013 08:41 pm 6
In response to nonpartisanliberal @ 5

Okay, the link feature does not work. Here it is:


eCAHNomics | Wednesday June 12, 2013 08:42 pm 7

They recorded Wall St. trading floor phones in the 199os, and were able to scan them for compliance purposes (or so they said).

In annual compliance meetings, once email came in (1990s), employees were warned not to communicate anything by email that you didn’t want to last forever.

Heh. What is so difficult to learn about that.

The two telecom securities analysts (male to make another point) who were convicted of warning selective clients that their stock recommendations (buy or strong buy) were bogus, were convicted on their own emails. The third analyst (female) could not be convicted because she did not incriminate herself in email.

That was 15ish years ago, near the top of the dot-com bubble, and technology is “better” now.

eCAHNomics | Wednesday June 12, 2013 08:53 pm 8
In response to DSWright @ 4

The additional problem is that emails (and I presume now voicemail) can be forwarded with a click. Can happen accidentally as well as on purpose. I’m sure you hit “reply all” when you meant to hit “reply.”

I was once involved in a confidential personnel matter. I kept my emails opaque, e.g. no names, and conducted sensitive arrangements via phone, which was not recorded at the time. Or not recorded by parties, like department deans, who needed to be kept out of the loop.

That was about a decade ago.

onitgoes | Wednesday June 12, 2013 09:28 pm 9

If only it hadn’t been Shia the Beef I might’ve paid attention. Wail!

eCAHNomics | Wednesday June 12, 2013 09:30 pm 10
In response to onitgoes @ 9

Cummon, onitgoes. I’m in Luddite stage of life, and I figured this out. You didn’t need the Beef guy (whoever he is) to know what was possible.

eCAHNomics | Wednesday June 12, 2013 09:37 pm 11

BTW, onitgoes, read your comments about contempt for and rape of females in India on the earlier thread. Also heard the presstv special about female in total without dozing out. The presstv documentary does not mention rape, but does talk about the dismal role of women, except in Bangalore. Even there, where they can reach high corp levels, like in the U.S. women do not get equal pay and promotion and are expected to maintain the household.

Nice segment near the end when one of the subjects went to an ashram to consult how Gandhi might have thought about the issue. Convinced her to struggle on with her female triplet daughters.

Do you know what the current status of caste system is in India. Are untouchables still untouchable.

Kurt Sperry | Wednesday June 12, 2013 09:57 pm 12

Good work digging up the details on the FBI consultant.

I wonder what Sunni Lecochon knows?

Talcott | Wednesday June 12, 2013 10:45 pm 13
In response to eCAHNomics @ 3

I have never bought a teeV….If I didn’t have roomates at certain points of the last 20 would never watch the sheot.


gordonot | Wednesday June 12, 2013 11:42 pm 14

You know, if you call the NSA and say, “shit, my daughter lost her car key, can you tell me where it is?” and they say, “yeah, it fell into a bag and then fell out of the bag in a bush by the driveway.” That might garner a little more support from these quarters.

nixonclinbushbama | Thursday June 13, 2013 04:39 am 15

I thought they did not listen to telephone calls or read emails, “only” collect so-called metadata.

Gee, were we lied to, even after Clapper came clean?

Whodda thunk?

Reagan was wrong. The scariest line is not, “I’m from the government and I am here to help.”

It’s “I’m from the government and, trust me, we’d never do that.”

easyrider1969 | Thursday June 13, 2013 06:11 am 16

I knew someome professionally who worked for the FBI. When he came to my office, he took the battery out of his cell phone and then the SIM card in order not to have our conversation monitored. (My old school cell phone didn’t matter.) Was he delusional about everything?

onitgoes | Thursday June 13, 2013 04:14 pm 17
In response to eCAHNomics @ 10

I was being snarky-licious. I dislike La Beef as an actor is all. Yes, I knew this stuff a long time ago.

onitgoes | Thursday June 13, 2013 04:16 pm 18
In response to gordonot @ 14

WOW! Now you’re talking! Me likey that.

onitgoes | Thursday June 13, 2013 04:21 pm 19
In response to eCAHNomics @ 11

Yes, the plight of women in India is not good, even though some measure of improvement in some areas, such as Bangalore. It is a very sexist society and culture though.

Plight of untouchables? Not sure. They definitely had ‘em when I was there in the ’80s. I know for sure that Ghandiji was working on improving/changing that, but I doubt it did a lot of good. It may be the case that some can “rise” out of that caste via a good job, IF they someone can secure one.

I’d have to ask my tenant, though.

I know that the caste system still exists. My tenant and his good friend (from India also) speak openly about it. They are both from upper middle class families finanically; I’m not sure where they fall in terms of caste. Another friend and I think that our tenant is in a higher level caste than his friend bc his friend will sometimes fall into this sort of “step ‘n fetchit” mode. It’s interesting.

If I remember to ask them about untouchables, I’ll let you know, but it’ll be about another month before I see them. So I might forget.

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