The bad guys in the story are the CIA and their operatives; no one else. It centers around the corrupt CIA Director played masterfully by Tommy Lee Jones. And he has a hit man who works for him personally and exclusively, played by Vincent Cassel. And, he is one mean SOB. He kills people as casually as most people swat flies. He reminds me of the character from No Country For Old Men. The two of them together remind me of LBJ and his hit man, Malcolm Wallace. But, through it all, they consider themselves "patriots", and they use the word repeatedly.
The story centers around a new CIA black-ops program called Iron Hand which includes "full spectrum surveillance-watching everyone all the time". The CIA Chief has blackmailed the founder and CEO of this big social media company to spy on his users and turn over all the information to the agency. It's a proxy for Facebook, I suppose, but the actor who plays the CEO is East Indian, and he's the spitting image of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. And they gave him a great line of dialogue. He is arguing with the CIA director and telling him over and over, "I'm through! I'm out!" and then he says:
"Privacy is freedom! You should think about defending it once in a while."
Wow. What a great line. As someone who has written two screenplays, I am impressed.
Obviously, this is all based on the NSA and Snowden, and they mention Snowden several times, saying that it was 10X worse than Snowden.
Now, here's the JFK connection, and I'll tell you beforehand that this involves a little bit of a spoiler, but not too bad. Believe me, I hate it when people ruin movies for me by telling me too much. But, I don't think it's going to hurt for you to know this going in.
So, when the Sundar surrogate refuses to cooperate, the CIA Chief decides that he needs to be put down. So, he arranges for himself and his hit man to be in Las Vegas for the corporate convention of Deep Dream, which is the name of the company. And their plan is to shoot him right as he's speaking to his shareholders in a big spectacle. The hit man is going to be high up in the rafters and will shoot him mid-sentence. The scene looked a lot like the original Manchurian Candidate where Laurence Harvey, the deranged, mind-controlled hit man is up in the rafters at the political party convention waiting to shoot the nominated Presidential candidate.
So, here's the JFK connection: as they are driving to the big Vegas hotel where this is going to happen, Tommy Lee Jones' assistant tells him that everything is set to pin the murder on a fictional Iraqi national, a Jihadist, for whom they have set up phony bank accounts, phony credit cards, phony emails, phony address, phony associations, phony life story, phony everything. And he adds that he will surely be seen as a "lone wolf".
A lone wolf? You realize that in the JFK world, the preferred term is lone nut. So, why didn't they use it? It might have been accidental, but then again, maybe they figured they better not hit the nail on the head.
Of course, it's a little different because with JFK, the patsy was a real person, Lee Harvey Oswald. But, on the other hand, even though he was a real person, he wasn't really Lee Harvey Oswald. That's right; Oswald had a phony identity. The man accused of killing JFK went by the name Lee Harvey Oswald, but he wasn't really him. The real Lee Harvey Oswald was another young man. They (the CIA) merged their identities. That's all I am going to say about it except to urge you to read Harvey and Lee by John Armstrong, where the story of the Two Oswalds is told in full.