Keira Knightley and Matt Smith are set to star in a new biopic about Katharine Gun, the GCHQ whistleblower who exposed an illegal U.S. intelligence operation – an exposure that cost her dearly.
Titled “Official Secrets,” Gavin Hood (“Eye in the Sky,” “Tsotsi”) will helm the project which begins shooting in March ahead of a late 2018 release. Knightley takes over from Natalie Dormer who was previously linked to star back when Justin Chadwick was attached to direct.
The story begins in early 2003, then 28-year-old Gun was working as a Mandarin translator at GCHQ – the British government’s communications agency. It was there she received a confidential email from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) requesting aid from her and her colleagues in a secret and illegal operation to bug the United Nations offices of six nations: Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, and Pakistan.
The six nations were the ‘swing nations’ that could determine whether the UN approved the invasion of Iraq. Outraged by the e-mail, Gun showed it to a friend who ultimately passed it on to The Observer newspaper where it made the front page.
Gun was arrested and spent a night in police custody. Eight months later she was charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act, but the case against her was dropped after the prosecution declined to offer any evidence. It has been speculated that the prosecution didn’t put up a fight because a trial would’ve exposed documents about the war and its questionable legality to public scrutiny.
Source: The Guardian