The FBI Made A 30-Minute Beware-Of-China Film Called “Game Of Pawns”

There are some serious amateur filmmakers working for the United States’s Federal Bureau of Investigation — I can think of no other reason why Game of Pawns would exist: a nearly half-hour mini-movie that tells the story of Glenn Duffie Shriver, who was bribed by Chinese officials when he was studying in Shanghai to pass along sensitive information. Shriver made $70,000 before he was caught. He’s now in the US serving out a four-year sentence in federal prison.

I could only get through the first minute of the film — the voice-over set to generic Oriental music was all I needed. But the full story’s on the FBI’s website, so you can read the script if you’d like, which begins:

Narrator: There is an old Chinese proverb–”Life is like a game of chess, changing with each move. And to win the game you must often sacrifice your pawns.”

As Business Insider notes though, this film — which went up on YouTube yesterday and has 2,255 views as of now — is pretty unnecessary, not to mention “unintentionally hilarious, as many government-sponsored ostensibly cultural artifacts tend to be. It basically looks like an updated version of the shlocky anti-Soviet films the government used to pump out during the Cold War.”

But in its statement on the production, the FBI says it wants American students traveling overseas to watch the movie before leaving the U.S. “so they’re able to recognize when they’re being targeted and/or recruited.”

A better option would probably have been directing students directly to David Wise’s excellent write-up of Shriver’s case for The Washingtonian in 2012. 

Just your friendly neighborhood FBI reminding you, kids, to not accidentally become a spy, betray your country, and do time in the clink.

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