In this film, which is largely shot and depicted not as a dramatization, but as a documentary, it is shown that a key informant - the one who ultimately reveals the importance and the identity of the courier who led U.S. Forces to Bin Laden's hideaway - only divulges that information as a result of being tortured and a threat of torture.
But that didn't happen. Via Deadline Hollywood.
this afternoon acting director of the CIA Michael Morell issued a statement to employees of the agency that was posted on its website. “Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatization, not a realistic portrayal of the facts”, the statement says. “CIA interacted with the filmmakers through our Office of Public Affairs but, as is true with any entertainment project with which we interact, we do not control the final product.”The sad thing is that despite what the CIA Director says - the impression that under certain circumstances torture is "justified, necessary and valuable" is re-enforced. Acting Director Morell can say what he wants, but the fact is those that want to believe this LIE now have this movie to hang their hat on.
Morell says the movie’s attribution of the huge operation to a few individuals “may make for more compelling entertainment, but it does not reflect the facts.” And he says the film’s implication that “enhanced interrogation techniques” played a significant role in finding Bin Laden “is false.”
People like Joe Scarborough.
Scarborough: (the film) presents a narrative that's going to make a lot of people in the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, the Administration uncomfortable and that is the truth that Barack Obama learned the first briefing that he got after he won the eletion. And that is that the CIA program, whether you find it repugnant or not, action that was effective with KSM and others, were getting actionable intelligence that led to couriers that led eventually - years later - to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.Oh my crap, were back this that bullshit again?
Acting Director Morell isn't the first to say that torture had nothing to do with finding Bin Laden - General Michael Hayden has said the exact same thing.
Hayden at 4:20:
We went back to [KSM] and he and another detainee were so demonstrative - atypically - demonstrative in rejecting knowledge of this individual that, that in itself turned into lead information. If he had not been largely cooperating with us, this would not have been anomalous behavior.In other words KSM and others - after they had been tortured and were allegedly "compliant"- LIED to them about the courier, claimiing they didn't know him and he was unimportant. Hayden claims that their denial was so odd, so unexpected, that because they said nothing - they knew they had something.
Ok, so how did they find Bin Laden if the guys they tortured didn't say anything about the key person that could - and did - lead us to him?
They did it the hard way... they put people in the field. Via the New York Times.
The C.I.A actually obtained the courier’s name by placing “more agents in the field” in 2005 the National Security Agency began “intercepting telephone calls and e-mail messages between the [courier's] family and anyone inside Pakistan. From there they got his full name.”The CIA didn't get the name through interrogations, the NSA got the name with electronic surveillance. That's why it took Years to finally figure it all out - Nobody gave up the key information willingly.
Let's also recall they didn't know for sure, they didn't have confirmation that Bin Laden was actually in the courier's home - until they got there and found him.
This point is made crystal clear by FBI Interrogator Ali Soufan.
Soufan: Everything I've heard about the supposed successes of the 'enhanced interrogation' program I can tell you - I was there.Soufan goes on to point out that they he was the one who gained the information that led from Abu Zubaydah to both KSM and Jose Padilla and this happened months before harsh techniques were used. He was getting good and actionable intelligence - what he wasn't getting was "How was Saddam Linked to 9-11" and it was IMO the desperate need to get that information - which didn't exist - that harsh techniques were used at the Black Sites and ultimately on Ibn Sheik al Libi who falsely claimed after he'd been buried alive that Saddam had "trained the 9-11 hijackers."
Except he didn't.
Even Donald Rumsfeld has said that Waterboarding Was Not a Factor in finding Bin Laden.
“The United States Department of Defense did not do waterboarding for interrogation purposes to anyone. It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.”Of course Rumsfeld can say DOD didn't use harsh techniques because technically it was CIA Contractors not persons directly on the CIA payroll or Department of Defenses (although he clearly ignores Abu Ghraib - clinging still to the bogus claim that that particularly bit of sadism wasn't really part of their intelligence operation, besides the fact that everything done to those prisoners was at the direction of Army Intelligence) but his basic point - that Waterboarding didn't reveal the location of Bin Laden is exactly what Hayden said. It didn't.
And the thing is the stars of Zero Dark Thirty agree with that too.
Jessica Chastain/Maya: I find it absolutely absurd. I think the torture is very honest, and also the information that Maya gains does not come under duress - it comes over humus and tubuli. Nothing positive came out of the torture scenes. No success came from (those) interrogations.Ok, but that's not how Frank Bruni at NYT sees it.
But the torture sequence immediately follows a bone-chilling, audio-only prologue of the voices of terrified Americans trapped in the towering inferno of the World Trade Center. It’s set up as payback.So what's the truth here? Are they just telling it "like it was" without any particular agenda or political perspective or do they, as Scarborough suggests, give a big fat sloppy wet kiss of "thanks" to the Contracted CIA interrogators who used waterboarding, sleep deprivation and hypothermia in an attempt to get information on Saddam - rather than Bin Laden - that actually didn't exist?
And by the movie’s account, it produces information vital to the pursuit of the world’s most wanted man. No waterboarding, no Bin Laden: that’s what “Zero Dark Thirty” appears to suggest.
Note: I began writing this because of today's Up with Chris Hayes which goes deeply into this subject and includes Glenn Greenwald as well as Frank Bruni in the discussion - I'll be adding video to that when it becomes available.
11:48 AM PT: Chris' First Segment on Zero Dark Thirty
Hayes: I was horrified by the film. I think it is objectively pro-torture. I had a strong moral revulsion to the film
12:00 PM PT: Segment 2 From "Up" which includes commentary from James Clemente one of the FBI Interrogators from Gitmo.
Clemente: The film unfortunately at least gives the impression, and it's a distorted impression it's a strong impression that were it not for the torture that rapport based techniques would not have worked. But in fact all the torture did was delay [the ability to get information.]
12:20 PM PT: Segment 3