Legendary movie director Oliver Stone, director of the new movie Snowden, joined The Glenn Beck Program for a fascinating discussion about national security and cyber warfare.
"Hello, America. And welcome to Friday," Glenn greeted his radio listeners. "Well, I never thought I would be saying these words (and I have no idea how the next 20 minutes will end up), but here we go: Oliver Stone joins us on the program, beginning right now."
Read below or listen to the full segment for answers to these mind-boggling questions:
• Does Oliver Stone think Glenn's name is Jeff?
• Was Glenn rude to Oliver Stone?
• Does Snowden deserve prison or a parade?
• On what topic does Stone accuse Glenn of jumping to conclusions?
• Why did Snowden go to Russia and stay there?
• What's the one thing Glenn respects about Oliver Stone?
• How closely does the movie follow the actual story?
• Is the central CIA figure portrayed as a father figure or creepy, spooky guy?
• Do we need a cyber treaty with the rest of the world?
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:
GLENN: Welcome to the program, Mr. Oliver Stone. How are you, sir?
OLIVER: I'm fine. Is this Jeff?
GLENN: This is Glenn.
OLIVER: Oh, Glenn. I'm sorry. I talk to too many people at once.
GLENN: That's okay. That's all right. You can call me Jeff. I'll call you Bill. How are you?
OLIVER: No, Oliver is fine. I'm fine. I'm good. And I'm in New York.
GLENN: Okay. All right. Okay.
So, Oliver, do you -- because this is a really dicey thing because I think there's a billion things we really strongly disagree with you on.
OLIVER: Uh-huh, sure.
GLENN: And, you know, I watched -- I saw Snowden.
GLENN: And I will tell you that I -- I wanted to believe his side, but you made the movie. And so -- you know, I don't know -- you do -- and one thing I do respect you on is you at least say what your agenda is. So how is somebody like me or somebody in my audience supposed to take Snowden knowing you have a very strong opinion on America and --
OLIVER: Well, Jeff, I -- I'm sorry. Glenn, I'm sorry.
GLENN: Right. Right. Okay. I got it.
OLIVER: Beyond embarrassing.
But, listen, I have a strong agenda as a citizen, but when I do my work, I take it very seriously, as you do. And I'm a dramatist. I am a dramatist above all. I tell the story.
This is a story that speaks for itself. I spoke to him many times, but I also spoke to other people. And we got as realistic a story as we could out of it. And maybe new things had come out. But this is -- is as authentic as you can get it. Because not many people have written about the NSA or the CIA from the inside.
GLENN: Right. Well, as you know, I mean, we have gone up with whistle-blowers and gone up against this government with whistle-blowers.
OLIVER: Yeah, I admire that.
GLENN: Well, thank you.
And it is not an easy thing. And we have been very torn on Snowden. I think personally if he hadn't have gone to Russia, he would be viewed as a hero. But because he went to Russia, it puts it into question. And his relationship with Julian Assange, who is also getting, you know, Russian Secret Police, you know, protection.
OLIVER: Well, yeah, you're jumping to conclusions there.
Keep in mind that Snowden went to Russia on his way for asylum in Ecuador via Cuba. He had to get there, and the airspace allowed him to do that. He did not stay in Russia out of his own volition. His passport was cancelled by the State Department in mid-air, which is rare. And happens that they wanted him perhaps to be stuck in Russia. I don't know.
But, anyway, he's there. And they have given him asylum, and they're one of the few countries in the world that could actually protect him.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden in the new movie 'Snowden,' directed by Oliver Stone.
GLENN: That is true. How do you feel about Russia and Putin?
OLIVER: That's another. You're -- that's next year's movie. Let's -- let's not go there.
GLENN: No, because honestly, Oliver, we are probably one of the shows -- I don't know how many people have done this -- I know one show lately -- one show was for him to be in prison, and now that he's against -- or now that he's for taking out Hillary Clinton, "Oh, let's give him a parade." We still don't know.
We tend to feel that he is a patriot. However, there is that -- that Russia connection that makes it --
OLIVER: Yeah, I could understand your concern. But, look, there are two central truths here. One is that our government deployed and developed the most massive surveillance system global that we've seen in history.
OLIVER: The second truth is that there was a person that revealed it. A person who has tremendous patriotism and conviction that we were breaking the Constitution by doing this.
OLIVER: So that was what -- those are the facts of that movie, as it stands. The Russia element is a distraction used by Democrats, Republicans. You know, you can be a Libertarian and still support Snowden in this matter.
GLENN: I am a Libertarian.
OLIVER: Oh, good.
PAT: How closely did you stick to the actual story? Did you take a lot of liberties for dramatization?
OLIVER: Oh, we had to. I mean, it is a nine-year -- it's about nine years in his life. And we see you can't do that as perhaps a documentary, but we're asking for a large audience. And we made a dramatic thriller. That was always my fear, that this thing was going to get too technically heavy. Because it is complicated.
OLIVER: We threw out about 50 percent of our research but kept this film as simple as possible, but put the tension in. Don't alter the truth. And stick to it. Stick to what -- the propulsion of the story carries itself. You don't have to invent anything.
GLENN: But here is where the Oliver Stone moviemaking comes in: Did you have to make the guys from the CIA like the spookiest guys ever?
OLIVER: Well, they weren't. I disagree. I think the fellow who plays the senior NSA and CIA official -- he's played by Rhys Ifans -- is actually a father figure because he nurtured his career. And, you know, he does say things --
GLENN: Well, you know, a really creepy father, yes.
OLIVER: Well, that's what you think, but, you know, he has his views. And he talks about the mission that they have to protect the world.
OLIVER: He talks about, you know, global intelligence. He talks about the need for it. He talks about America's position in the world. At one point, he even criticizes the Iraq War as a waste of energy and time. And he says, "You don't have to be a patriot to disagree with your politicians."
GLENN: So how can you -- I'm trying to -- I mean, this is just such a complex thing because your involvement.
OLIVER: Well, you keep putting it back on me.
GLENN: Well, because you made the movie. And so you are a very good filmmaker. And so, you know, films are very, very effective. And what interests me here is that here we are supposedly on the same side of saying, "Hey, the government cannot do these things, the Constitution."
GLENN: And yet, you are a guy that will hang on with some of the worst dictators around.
OLIVER: Well, here we're talked about the American system. And that system was deeply violated by the NSA. I think you'll admit that.
GLENN: Yes, I do.
OLIVER: And we're trying to come to terms with it, but we don't a lot. So we have to start somewhere by talking about these issues, by bringing some awareness to the American people who are left in the dark. They haven't trusted us with that information.
GLENN: Are you surprised -- and in talking to him, how surprised is he that America didn't go crazy when they found out the truth?
OLIVER: On the contrary -- before he said my greatest fear was that it would drift into indifference. And that's how tyranny -- tyranny will happen. Because the steps will be taken away from us. The freedoms will be taken away from us. The civil liberties. And one day we'll simply be a passive Orwellian population. And there will be a new guy coming along, or woman, who may be completely different and play a harder ball game, if he or she faces pressure.
GLENN: Are you concerned about the man or the woman that are currently --
OLIVER: Absolutely. Everyone should be.
You know, we're living in a world of great privilege in this country. We have tremendous -- consumerism is a religion. But this can all be -- how do you say it? Destroyed, by this overreaching that we're doing in the NSA, as well as we're listening on everybody.
And we're -- the whole other element you haven't discussed yet what Snowden revealed was about cyber warfare. Cyber warfare is extremely dangerous. It was us that presented the program, that used it first on an offensive capability in 2007 in Iran.
And since then, it's gotten out of control. Snowden described it as a surveillance free-for-all. Nobody knows who is doing what because it takes months and months to unwind these things and find out. So crazy accusations go out there.
GLENN: Well, I will tell you, we're very concerned. And it doesn't seem like very many people are, that we are in a cyber war right now.
GLENN: That's what's happening. World War III, I believe, is already happening. It's just happening with digits at this point.
OLIVER: There's some truth to what you say. But it's not necessarily a war with Russia. It's a war with all hackers in every country. If you remember, cyber warfare -- remember when the atomic bomb got dropped in '45, Truman told Oppenheimer back then, you know, "This is -- we're going to keep this a secret." And Oppenheimer scoffed at him. He said, "You can't keep this a secret."
Same with cyber warfare. We started a new form of warfare. We're very good at it. We've spent a huge fortune on it. And we need is a treaty, to cut to the quick here, a cyber treaty with the rest of the world. Very important.
GLENN: The one scene where he first sees the Arabic woman coming in and undressing and he's very uncomfortable. One of the guys from the CIA or NSA comes in --
OLIVER: Yeah, yeah, NSA.
GLENN: And hacks into her phone or her iPad.
GLENN: And he's just watching her undress and he's very uncomfortable.
GLENN: I don't think people really understand as they put their iPhone next to their bed as they charge it at night and they're doing what they do at night in bed. Nobody understands that.
OLIVER: No. The program was described as Optic Nerve, which it was. That was a British program. You know, the NSA has more than 150 programs. The depth of this stuff is even beyond that. We showed that as even an obvious example. Snowden is a bit of a prude, and certainly he didn't want to go there. But they have pornographic abilities to use to discredit their enemies.
Now, they used it on the Muslim population in the United States. They passed the raw intelligence -- this is outrageous, and it pissed off Snowden. They passed the raw intelligence that they were getting while he was in Hawaii to the Israeli Mossad. So imagine, you know, what they can do with that, with all the Arab relatives of the people who live in the Middle East close to Israel. It's this huge. It's an overreach and an arrogance about people's lives. It's disgusting.
STU: Oliver, if you make a movie about a historic event that, you know, was decades and decades ago, you have a long time to essentially marinate in perspective and look back and see the full picture of that. What's the difference between doing something like that and something like Snowden, which is really you're making a movie about an event that is still going on today?
OLIVER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Mr. Obama has presided over the worst excesses of the surveillance age. I mean, he's taken the Bush program which was illegal in the first place, and he's doubled down. And that was part of the story we're telling. And you see very clearly the Obama path. You see Snowden believing -- believing that Obama is going to reform that system in 2008 when he's elected. And by 2013, when he released those secrets, he's given up hope that Obama will do anything.
GLENN: When you see all of this going on and America not paying attention, what do you think is going to happen when we watch this movie? We're just going to take it as a movie and move on with our lives?
PAT: Move on?
OLIVER: As I said earlier, I don't have an agenda. I'm not an activist that way, although you may think I am. I really think it's presented to you. It's a movie. Enjoy it. It's an intense movie. It's a thriller. You walk out, you make your own conclusions, or you might just think about it some more and start to do a little more research because there's a lot to be done.
GLENN: Yeah, there is. Oliver Stone, thank you so much.
OLIVER: Thank you very much, Glenn.
GLENN: God bless. You bet. Buh-bye. Buh-bye.
STU: It's out this weekend, right?
STU: You saw it already?
GLENN: I saw it last night.
PAT: So it opens today?
GLENN: Yeah, opens today. I saw it last night.
PAT: Nice. You liked it, or not?
GLENN: It is -- I'm not sure. Yes, it's worth seeing. It's worth seeing. I, again -- and I didn't mean to be rude to him, and I hope I wasn't --
STU: No. It was an interesting --
GLENN: No, but I was just being honest, and he was being honest back to me.
I don't trust him. He's Oliver Stone, so I don't trust him. And when you see the movie, you will see -- you know, I should bring it in on the break. I'll show you a couple of places in the movie where you'll watch it and you'll say, "Oh, my gosh." I mean, he's -- you tell me, you watch that scene with the CIA guy when he's asking Edward Snowden, "So tell me about yourself. How come you want to be in the CIA?" He's the creepiest dude ever. And then the guy who he says is his father figure is always in the shadows and always like, "So what do we've got to do? What do we've got to do?"
GLENN: So, I mean, you've got just that layer of Oliver Stone moviemaking that does taint it, which I wish it didn't have that because I think it would be a much more powerful film. You wouldn't walk out dismissing because it was Oliver Stone.
STU: Did you see the documentary about Snowden?
GLENN: Oh, no.
PAT: The actual documentary.
STU: My joke all the time. The actual documentary.
STU: I'm curious if it's consistent largely with that.
GLENN: I didn't see the documentary. I wish I did. I didn't see the documentary.
Featured Image: Director Oliver Stone attends the 'Snowden' premiere during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)