Writer and Director: Scott Z. Burns
Executive Producers: Michael Di Verdi, Natalie Farrey, Vincent Landay, Tj Rinomato, and Lila Yacoub
Major Cast: Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, Jon Hamm as Denis McDonough, Jennifer Morrison as Caroline Krass, Annette Benning as Senator Dianne Feinstein, Ted Levine as John Brennan, Douglas Hodge as James Mitchell, T. Ryder Smith as Bruce Jessen, Carlos Gómez as José Rodriguez, Linda Powell as Marcy Morris, Pun Bandhu as John Yoo, John Rothman as Sheldon Whitehouse, Noah Bean as Martin Heinrich, Scott Shepherd as Mark Udall, Maura Tierney as Bernadette (based from Gina Haspel), Ian Blackman as Cofer Black, Dominic Fumusa as George Tenet, Fajer Al-Kaisi as Ali Soufan, Joseph Siravo as John Rizzo, Zuhdi Boueri as Abu Zubaydah, and Ratnesh Dubey as Khaled Sheikh Muhammaad
Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama
Running Time: 1 hour and 59 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for some scenes of inhumane treatment and torture, and language
Watch the Trailer
A Short Summary
The motto of the CIA is “Ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free.” The current director is Gina Haspel and is the only government agency authorized to do covert operations. It doesn’t have law enforcement functions, unlike the FBI which operates under the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). What does this have to do with this movie based on real events and people? Because when one person, Daniel Jones, got an itch, it ended with 6,000+ page report and a condensed 600 page summary from the Democratic majority at the time.
The Report begins with Jones, a Senate staffer, leading an investigation into the CIA’s destruction of their videotapes, at the request of his boss, Senator Dianne Feinstein. This is when he discovers the Detention and Interrogation Program created after 9/11 wasn’t as successfully portrayed by the CIA. As he digs further into the operations, he uncovers the obvious contrast between the FBI and CIA methods to obtain information from detainees. With Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell in charge of the enhanced interrogation techniques as well as seeing how effective they are, Jones realizes this a conflict of interest.
Jones further researches into the interrogation techniques and reports his findings to Feinstein including false reporting by the CIA of Zubaydah. Jones and his fellow researcher uncover more stories including Rahman who died in 2002 and the problems that arose when interrogating Mohammad in that he lied to stop the torture. As the CIA feels cornered, two lawyers and three IT specialists access without permission the Senate Intelligence Committee closed faciliy. When the investigation is done, it works its way through the proper channels. By the end of the movie, it’s a kind of slap in the face reality. The performances by Adam Driver, Annette Benning, and Ted Levine (hardly recognized him as John Brennan) are enough reason to watch it and, of course, for the story itself.
The Real People
Some Reactions from the Real People
Former AZ Senator, John McCain: “It is a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose — to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the US and our allies — but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world.”
Former CIA Director, John Brennan: “It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against [Osama] bin Laden.”
Former CIA director, Michael Hayden: “I think the conclusions they drew were analytically offensive and almost street-like in their simplistic language and conclusions.”
Former Vice President of the U.S., Dick Cheney: “What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation, and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it…I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program.”
Former Secretary of State, John Kerry: “It was right to end these practices for a simple but powerful reason: they were at odds with our values. They are not who we are, and they’re not who or what we had to become, because the most powerful country on earth doesn’t have to choose between protecting our security and promoting our values.”
Former Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales: “My initial reaction was disappointment, disappointment about the report generally because I don’t know how much of it is true. Since it was signed only by Democrats, I don’t know whether information that was in the report was placed out of context. I don’t know what omissions of fact and evidence exists. And obviously, we know key participants, key witnesses, key players in this weren’t even interviewed and for that reason, I think the report is terribly flawed.”
Former President of the U.S., Barack Obama: “These techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners.”
Some Torture Report Facts
119 detainees were held at CIA sites between 2002 and 2008. This is 20 more than previously reported by the CIA.
113 individuals were captured between 2002 and 2004.
39 detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. This included sleep deprivation, waterboarding, prolonged standing, and exposure to cold.
At least 26 detainees were found to be held without merit.
At least five detainees were subjected to rectal re-hydration.
At least three detainees were waterboarded.
At least one detainee died in custody, possibly due to hypothermia.
I rate The Report Four Fingers of GREAT at 90%.