The Bourne Supremacy background: Bourne assassinated Russian politician Vladimir Neski at Berlin long time ago but he couldn't remember full detail and recently been framed for killing 2 CIA people at Berlin.

When Nicky is sent by Pamela Landy to meet Bourne and Bourne is trying to understand why CIA is still after him, they have this conversation:

Bourne: When was I here in Berlin?

Nicky: What are you talking about?

Bourne: For Treadstone. You know my file. I did a job here.

Nicky: When? No, you never worked in Berlin before.

Bourne: My first job. In Berlin. I did a job here. You know my file.

Nicky: No. You've never worked Berlin before.

Bourne: My first job!

Nicky: No, your first assignment was Geneva.

Bourne: You fucking people!

Nicky: I swear! I swear!

Bourne: I know I was here, Nicky!

Nicky: It's not in your file! It's not in your file!

Bourne: I know I was here!

Nicky: No, I swear. Oh, please!

I don't see a reason for Nicky to lie with Bourne and it seems she is telling the truth (to her knowledge). Considering that Bourne and Nicky were close, it's also unlikely Nicky doesn't know Bourne's full experience. So, why is Bourne's mission at Berlin not known to Nicky?

  • I don't remember this scene at all, but based on the dialogue and the premise of the movie I'm assuming that all information about Bourne's mission in Berlin was erased or at least hidden by someone with more authority than Nicky.
    – Raj
    Jul 10, 2020 at 12:18

2 Answers 2


The mission to kill Neski was not an officially sanctioned mission.

Conklin was working with Abbott to "borrow" CIA money and funnel it to the Russian oligarch Gretkov who was using it to invest in the newly privatised Russian oil industry. Neski was opposed to the privatisation and Gretkov wanted him removed. Conklin directed Bourne to handle this mission, making it appear to be an official CIA, but never filed any report that Nikki would have had access to.


Bourne was the first of the Treadstone project.

To test the transformation, they assign a job to Bourne in Berlin, to assassinate the politician for political gains.

Bourne falls and disappears. The politician blames the CIA/Americans for the assassination attempt.

The only option Americans have is to eliminate the only evidence, which could link them to the assassination. Its Bourne, hence all the ruckus.

After the initial failure, they tweak the program for better results and hence no lapses in jobs from subsequent candidates.

As the initial test assignment was to evaluate the Treadstone and also to illegally kill someone, it doesn't get documented and hence Nikki doesn't know. They cannot document it as it was an illegal assassination operation, which the Americans deny when Bourne fails. Hence, it cannot be documented anywhere. But they cannot let him live as he could prove the Americans were lying.

  • Third paragraph is wrong. This is what happens in the first film. The assassination attempt on Neski was successful and led to the programme going forward.
    – Darren
    Jul 11, 2020 at 8:34
  • @Darren, Bourne has his logical thinking intact to some extent, however, after the initial hiccups, they make some changes to the program, which the doctor himself says at the end. If bourne was a success, they wouldn't make changes to the program. This confirms that the Bourne's first assignment was a test, and has some serious political fallout as a result, hence doesnt get documented.
    – user77901
    Jul 12, 2020 at 5:36
  • I don’t know what you think I meant but I was referring to “Bourne falls [fails?] and disappears...” Thismis not correct in relation to the Neski mission.
    – Darren
    Jul 12, 2020 at 6:45
  • 1
    To confirm what @Darren says, the mission where Bourne fails and disappears (as shown in The Bourne Identity) was the African dictator Wombosi on his yacht - nothing to do with Berlin, which must have been some time earlier, where Bourne succeeded in killing Neski and his wife. Also, the script of The Bourne Ultimatum is online, but I can’t see where the doctor said that the program was changed - would you have a quote? . (did you mean Blackbriar?)
    – racraman
    Jul 12, 2020 at 9:36
  • When Bourne enters the yacht, the Politician was with his kid and Bourne thinks for a moment and gives an opportunity to the politician to shoot bourne. Bourne jumps into the sea and escapes. Bourne was never supposed to do any mistakes, but bourne had thinking capability intact, hence there was a lapse. Let me rewatch the bourne identity and confirm again. But think, i remember the doctor saying some changes were made to the program later on to ensure the project is much smoother.
    – user77901
    Jul 13, 2020 at 15:59

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