CPAC Movie: Counter Terrorism Expert Explains ‘Olympus Has Fallen’

CPAC is turning mainstream – at least in movie screenings. Last Friday, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted a showing of “Olympus Has Fallen,” set for release to theaters March 22.

The film starred such big names as Morgan Freeman, Gerard Butler, Ashley Judd, and Aaron Eckhart – which may come as a surprise, for the conservative audience. After all, Freeman is a very public Obama supporter and Judd considered challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, as a Democrat in the 2014 Kentucky elections. 

Asked if “Olympus” is a conservative film, a counter-terrorism expert and veteran of presidential details for former President George H. W. Bush, Ricky Jones, who consulted on the movie confessed, “I have no idea.” But he told the Culture and Media Institute “We hope that everyone who walks away feels very patriotic.” 

The R-rated thriller illustrated a “what-if” scenario, where North Korean terrorists attacked the White House (Secret Service Code: “Olympus”) and kidnapped the president. A disgraced former presidential guard, Mike Banning, became trapped in the White House and communicated with national security operatives to save the president while relying on his past experience. 

Could the attack happen in real life? “Not the attack we did,” according to Jones. He suggested an imminent threat to the White House; however: “With the budget cuts that they’re taking in the military, with the budget cuts in intelligence, with us pushing Israel away, which is our greatest ally on intelligence from that continent, with the home-grown terrorists … with the people coming in here as students that are terrorists … the White House could be attacked at any time.” 

But even under threats, “… America, by the grace of God, and the heart of the American public, bounces back. And, it’s a very patriotic thing. That America can ban together to fight terrorism,” said Jones. 

The greatest challenge for the film, according the Jones, was “to keep it as a movie,” and show the “realism of what attacks do.” 

Jones concluded that the movie promotes American pride, saying, “So I think this movie and again it’s just a movie, but I think everybody should … walk away with, ‘Yeah, I’m proud to be an American.’”

Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder
Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture at the Media Research Center