More on Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty....
As John Brennan goes to the Senate today, seeking confirmation as the new CIA Director....
Begin with a short WSJ video discussing the film. Bigelow's remarkable honesty in telling the story, save for exaggerating the torture techniques used, marks her as a serious participant in the national conversation, unlike many of her Hollywood compatriots. Add in "ZDT" screenwriter Mark Boal assailing senators who seek an inquiry as to whether torture worked--Boal says clearly it did:
You know, it’s fine for some senators to say they think I’m wrong about some of the scenes depicted in the movie. It’s an entirely different matter for them to launch an investigation over it. As far as I know, Congress hasn’t launched a formal investigation of filmmaking since the House UnAmerican Activities Committee did so in the late 1940s. I really don’t think we need a remake of that.
SecDef Leon Panetta praised "ZDT" and said that harsh interrogation methods played a role, though not a decisive one, in the hunt. The conservative group Judicial Watch has called on senators to question Brennan about his role in helping "ZDT" filmmakers, and whether in doing so they were given classified information.
Now watch last week's AEI "ZDT" discussion (90 min.) featuring three former top intelligence officials. They tell what the movie got right (most things) and what was missed or deliberately altered. They discuss in depth the enhanced interrogation program as it was conducted during the Bush years. Finally, they discuss changes under Obama & their likely impact on intelligence gathering.
Bottom Line. The debate over "torture" has been tortured to death in the media coverage & political discourse. Zero Dark Thirty & the AEI session do a lot to restore sanity & balance to the public conversation. As for Brennan, his role in developing interrogation techniques, if any, is germane, as is any information he disclosed to the "ZDT" crew; his hypocrisy on now opposing harsh interrogation versus his support of drone policy is rich, but not reason to vote against him.
(For drone policy & Brennan's suitability, see LFTC tomorrow, Feb. 8.)
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