After the CIA posted a promo video featuring a Latina intelligence officer, Senator Ted Cruz complained that she was “a long way from Jason Bourne” – prompting a number of observers to remind the senator that Mr Bourne isn’t real.
In the recruitment video, a confident woman describing herself as a “proud first-generation Latina and officer at CIA” explains that she belongs at the intelligence agency even if she doesn’t fit the usual stereotype of an American spy.
“I used to struggle with imposter syndrome,” she says, “but at 36, I refuse to internalize misguided patriarchal ideas of what a woman can or should be.”
Mr Cruz did not approve.
“If you’re a Chinese communist, or an Iranian Mullah, or Kim Jong Un… would this scare you?” the senator tweeted. “We’ve come a long way from Jason Bourne.”
The reality-bending comparison between a real-life CIA officer and a movie character drew many questions on Twitter.
“Ted thinks the Jason Bourne movies were documentaries… yikes,” one user replied.
“This kinda screams of male toxic masculinity,” another wrote.
One observer pointed out that “scaring” people might not be the best spy tactic.
“If a secret agent scares the people they are trying to spy on, isn’t that counterproductive, Senator? (Jason Bourne is fiction, btw.)” he tweeted.
The Bourne comparison also caught the attention of left-wing pundit Keith Olbermann.
“Hey, moron: ‘Jason Bourne’ is imaginary - like your conscience,” Mr Olbermann wrote.
Fred Wellman, executive director of the Lincoln Project, weighed in as well.
“Jason Bourne is a fictional character who illegally assassinated people after being programmed to do so through torture,” Mr Wellman commented. “Also, guys who flee their state to go to Mexico during an ice storm because it’s mildly inconvenient should just take a seat on ‘toughness.’”
Mr Cruz infamously took a vacation in Cancun while Texas, which he represents, suffered through a deadly winter storm.
Others disputed that the Latina agent doesn’t “scare” anyone.
“It seems to scare you, Ted,” another user tweeted, “so we’re assuming it might scare other authoritarian types.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies