Those familiar with the American TV series Homeland will know that CIA usually uses some sort of safe lines for communication between its HQ and their agents. Well, at least in the series.

In the first episode of the second season of Homeland CIA’s Middle-East Division chief Saul said to former agent Carrie during a phone conversation:

“I can’t talk. We’re on an open line, but we need your help.”

In the second episode there was a conversation David Estes, director of the CIA’s Counter terrorism center and his colleagues Saul and Carrie, who were on a mission in Beirut. However, there was no problem with safe/open lines – they were using Skype.

Skype in Homeland (2012, Showtime, screen capture)

Katie McLaughlin of CNN asked the same question in her blog post ‘Homeland’: Bullets over Beirut:

“With all the communication security concerns that occur on nearly every episode of ‘Homeland,’ was Skype really the way to go on this one? Seeing as it’s perhaps the most classified conversation that has ever occurred on the show.”

Skype in Homeland (2012, Showtime, screen capture)

We shouldn’t be too harsh on producers and writers … it’s just a TV show. However, the viewers and fans usually don’t like shortcuts or dubious choices.

I’m sure Skype won’t mind getting some extra exposure, though.

  1. It’s worth checking out which phone Brody uses to talk to his daughter from the bunker at the end of the first series. Great reception :)

  2. You’re right. And his BlackBerry (I think it was BB) delivered his message to Abu Nazir from Pentagon to Beirut in no time :)

  3. You could use skype securely for an anonymous conversation. The government has their own VPN networks, creating tunnels that are secure and anonymous. Anyone using the Tor network, for example, could use Skype securely as well.

  4. There were at a safehouse in Beirut. You don’t want CIA communications equipment in a Beirut safehouse. You have to “live off the land.”