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Official Secrets
by Karen Pecota

Filmmaker Gavin Hood could not be more compelling during the Q & A (question and answer session) after the first screening of his latest feature film Official Secrets. Hood and his screenwriters, Sara and Gregory Bernstein, hope the film receives distribution at the deal making film festival to showcase the true story of a modern-day heroine, Katharine Gun. An ordinary person who found herself in an extraordinary situation in their intellectual thriller Official Secrets.

According to true events, British intelligence specialist, Katherine Gun, whose routine job of handling classified information, takes a daring side-step against protocol to stop a war. Hood says, "She was a British spy who leaked a top secret NSA memo about an illegal spying operation designed to push UN Security Council members into voting in favor of the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

Hood recalls while listening to (and taking extensive notes of) Gun's very complicated story, "...her quiet integrity drew me into a film-making journey that has restored my faith in basic human decency and the power of individual conscience." He adds, "Conscience, the 'still small voice' we do not always listen to, but, when we do, banishes cynicism and raises us to a better, kinder place."

Daniel Ellsberg, the famed whistleblower behind Steven Spielberg's 2017 drama The Post, remarks of Gun's actions, "the most important and courageous leak I have ever seen. No one else, including myself, has ever done what Gun did: tell secret truths at personal risk, before an imminent war, in time, possibly, to avert it."

Martin Luther King Jr., quotes from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches, "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right." This quote is the epitome of Katherine Gun's story.


In 2003, Katherine Gun (Keira Knightley), British intelligence specialist who regularly handles classified information, receives a memo from the The National Security Agency (NSA)--the national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense.

The memo states that the United States is enlisting Britain's help in collecting compromising information on United Nations Security Council members in order to blackmail them into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq.

Gun recognizes foul-play and can not with a clear conscious ignore the threat of what would be the onslaught of an illegal war. Gun deals with great inner turmoil over the idea of the horror and it's consequences. Gun's moral conscious guides her to take action. She leaks the memo to the press.

The events that follow exposes more than Gun could have known. Her actions set in motion sends shock-waves of an international controversy that exposed a political conspiracy not to mention the chilling effect it had on Gun and her family.

Step-by-step Gun's personal story of integrity reveals that we can be hopeful it's of value to act accordingly, by her example, to do our due diligence when freedom is on the line and war can be avoided.