Let’s not even get into whether there is any sane situation in which government officials should have the big, hairy testicles to ask a producer of artistic product to adjust the artistic product to reflect their political belief. (Disgusting. And anti-American. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)
But let’s go to the facts… which have been abused through this whole mess. Quotes from the Senators’ letter in italics.
Pursuant to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recently-adopted Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program, Committee staff reviewed more than 6 million pages of records from the Intelligence Community. Based on that review, Senators Feinstein and Levin released the following information on April 30, 2012, regarding the Usama Bin Laden operation:
The CIA did not first learn about the existence of the Usama Bin Laden courier from CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. Nor did the CIA discover the courier’s identity from detainees subjected to coercive techniques. No detainee reported on the courier’s full name or specific whereabouts, and no detainee identified the compound in which Usama Bin Laden was hidden. Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.
The movie Zero Dark Thirty NEVER, by any interpretation, says that the CIA learned of the courier’s true name or location through means related to the CIA detention and interrogation program.
Honestly, the question of whether Maya did or didn’t have any notion about the existence of a courier before the lunch with the accused terrorist in the film, I would need to revisit with the film (which is due to be delivered tomorrow.)
Information to support this operation was obtained from a wide variety of intelligence sources and methods. CIA officers and their colleagues throughout the Intelligence Community sifted through massive amounts of information, identified possible leads, tracked them down, and made considered judgments based on all of the available intelligence.
As is shown in the movie, Zero Dark Thirty.
The CIA detainee who provided the most significant information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.
I can’t argue with that, as I don’t have that information.
“In addition to the information above, former CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote Senator McCain in May 2011, stating: “…no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.”
And again… nothing in Zero Dark Thirty is contrary to this statement.
AND NOW… a few more selected embarrassments from this note…
“[T]he fundamental problem is that people who see Zero Dark Thirty will believe that the events it portrays are facts.”
You mean like reality TV?
“The use of torture should be banished from serious public discourse…”
Do we do that in the United States now?
“[T]he film graphically depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees and then credits these detainees with providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the Usama Bin Laden.”
Actually, only one person is tortured in the film. Only ONE detainee. And “critical lead information,” if you wish to believe that describes it, is a passing comment about bin Laden’s courier which is without a useable name.
If, as the Senators—who do not seem to have seen the film—claim, the first inspiration for this angle in the search for bin Laden came from someone who had not been tortured, then that fact—and only that fact —is factually inaccurate. But without further information about that turn of events, there is no way for an objective person to assume that this assertion is true just based on the testimony that’s been offered.
This one fact is the only true bone of contention—aside from a philosophical one—in this entire discussion.
And if you feel that is the beginning and the end of the all things important, so be it. Very few people I have spoken to who have seen the film understand what all this fuss is about. And given the extremely narrow definition of the significance this one fact, I don’t think that actual filmgoers who have not been pre-politicized ever will.