BY LESLIE MILLER
The department is creating the job to make sure that dramatic portrayals of it are as accurate as possible, spokesman Dennis Murphy said Friday.
It's not a new concept. The Pentagon has been working with TV and film producers for years. Murphy, in a former position at the Customs Service, provided technical advice to the Oscar-winning film ''Traffic.''
The job calls for ''providing strategic counsel'' to Homeland Security officials when they are asked for help with a film and approving assistance for projects that commit the department to cooperate.
''There can be a tremendous impact on the public with the ability to communicate to people what we're doing,'' Murphy said. ''They're going to do their movie. We just don't want it to be silly.''
The FBI has been aided by many dramatic portrayals. Among them: actor Robert Stack as heroic FBI agent Eliot Ness in the television series ''The Untouchables'' and actress Jodie Foster's determined agent-in-training Clarice Starling in the film ''The Silence of the Lambs.''
In September, ABC debuted ''Threat Matrix,'' a one-hour TV show about a highly trained, specialized task force that works out of the Homeland Security Department and ''fights the many faces of terror,'' according to its promotional material. Homeland Security officials declined to comment on the show.
In the last year, the department has been inundated with requests for help on motion pictures and documentaries, spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said.
Movies and TV shows could be recruiting tools for people considering a career in Homeland Security, she said. The CIA recently began airing recruitment ads starring Jennifer Garner, who plays a CIA agent in the ABC series ''Alias.''
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is aware of the entertainment industry's effect on the department's image. While on a recent visit to Los Angeles, he met with entertainment executives who asked him how they could help the Homeland Security effort, Scolinos said. Ridge suggested they could promote the department's Ready Campaign to educate citizens on how to prepare for a terrorist attack.