[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Prompts Feinstein, McCain, Levin to Question CIA | 01-04-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
61°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 24
2003 - Ruth Newhall, longtime co-owner/editor of The Signal, dies in Berkeley [story]


ZeroDarkThirty2012PosterSenate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Senate Armed Service Committee Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) have sent two letters to Acting CIA Director Michael Morell seeking information provided to the filmmakers of the film Zero Dark Thirty and clarification of comments made to CIA employees related to the use of coercive interrogation techniques on CIA detainees.

In the first letter, dated December 19, 2012, Feinstein, McCain and Levin stated their concern that “given the CIA’s cooperation with the filmmakers [of the film Zero Dark Thirty] and the narrative’s consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by CIA” and requested “all information and documents provided to the filmmakers by CIA officials.” The film credits CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques as providing lead information on the courier that led to the UBL compound.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s recently-adopted Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program concluded that the CIA did not first learn about the existence of the bin Laden courier from CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques and that the CIA detainee who provided the most accurate information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.

The senators sent a second letter to the CIA on December 31, 2012, following a message the Acting Director sent to CIA employees on December 21. In his message, Acting Director Morell stated that “Some [intelligence related to bin Laden’s location] came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well.” The senators’ letter asks Acting Director Morell to provide information obtained from CIA detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques and whether such information was provided prior to, during, or after the detainee was subjected to such techniques.

Full text of both letters follows:

December 19, 2012

Mr. Michael Morell
Acting Director
Central Intelligence Agency

Dear Acting Director Morell,

We are writing to request information and documents related to the CIA’s cooperation with the makers of the film, Zero Dark Thirty. We are concerned by the film’s clear implication that information obtained during or after the use of the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques played a critical role in locating Usama Bin Laden (UBL).

As you know, the film depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees. The film then credits CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques as providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the UBL compound. While this information is incorrect, it is consistent with public statements made by former Director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, and former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

The CIA cannot be held accountable for how the Agency and its activities are portrayed in film, but we are nonetheless concerned, given the CIA’s cooperation with the filmmakers and the narrative’s consistency with past public misstatements by former senior CIA officials, that the filmmakers could have been misled by information they were provided by the CIA.

In an unclassified letter you provided to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on May 31, 2012, you wrote that the CIA engaged with the filmmakers “to ensure an appropriate portrayal of the Agency’s mission as well as the dedication of the men and women of the CIA who played a key part in the success of that mission.” The film opens with the words “based on first-hand accounts of actual events,” and according to now publicly released CIA records, the filmmakers met extensively with CIA personnel. Specifically, one publicly released email notes that the filmmakers met with you for forty minutes, during which you provided “substance again.” Another publicly released CIA email states that “As a [sic] Agency, we’ve been pretty forward-leaning with [the filmmaker], and he’s agreed to share scripts and details about the movie with us so we’re absolutely comfortable with what he will be showing.”

Pursuant to the Committee’s recently-adopted Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program, Committee staff reviewed more than 6 million pages of CIA records. Based on that review, and with prior notification to the CIA, Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Senator Carl Levin released the following findings on April 30, 2012, regarding the UBL operation:

  • The CIA did not first learn about the existence of the UBL courier from CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. Nor did the CIA discover the courier’s identity from CIA detainees subjected to coercive techniques. No CIA detainee reported on the courier’s full name or specific whereabouts, and no detainee identified the compound in which UBL 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.
  • Information to support the UBL 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.
  • The CIA detainee who provided the most accurate information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.

In addition to the information above, former CIA Director 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.”

Given the discrepancy between the facts above and what is depicted in the film, previous misstatements by retired CIA officials, as well as what appears to be the CIA’s unprecedented cooperation with the filmmakers, we request that you provide the Committee with all information and documents provided to the filmmakers by CIA officials, former officials, or contractors, including talking points prepared for use in those meetings. Furthermore, we request copies of all relevant records discussing the cooperation between CIA officials, former officials, or contractors and the filmmakers, including records of the meetings that occurred, notes, internal emails, Sametime communications, and other documentation describing CIA interactions with the filmmakers.

Thank you for your assistance on this matter.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
Chairman
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Carl Levin
Chairman
Senate Armed Services Committee
Ex-Officio Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

John McCain
Ranking Member
Senate Armed Services Committee
Ex-Officio Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

 

December 31, 2012

Mr. Michael Morell
Acting Director
Central Intelligence Agency

Dear Acting Director Morell:

In your December 21, 2012, statement to CIA employees regarding the film, Zero Dark Thirty, you state that “the film creates the strong impression that enhanced interrogation techniques” were “the key to finding Bin Ladin” and that this impression “is false.” However, you went on to refer to multiple streams of intelligence that led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was hiding in Abbottabad and stated that “Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. And, importantly, whether enhanced interrogation techniques were the only timely and effective way to obtain information from those detainees, as the film suggests, is a matter of debate that cannot and never will be definitively resolved.”

In our previous letter of December 18, 2012, we made several points based on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program that are potentially inconsistent with your press release. Principal among those points was that “The CIA detainee who provided the most accurate information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.”

Accordingly, we would ask that you provide the following to the Committee:

  1. In regards to the Bin Laden operation, what information was acquired from CIA detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques? When was this information provided: prior to, during, or after the detainee was subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques? If after, how long after? Please note whether such information corroborated information previously known to the CIA.
  2. Please provide specific examples of information that was obtained in a “timely and effective” way from CIA detainees subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques? When was this information provided: prior to, during, or after the detainee was subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques? If after, how long after? Please note whether such information corroborated information previously known to the CIA.

Thank you for your assistance on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein
Chairman
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Carl Levin
Chairman
Senate Armed Services Committee
Ex-Officio Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

John McCain
Ranking Member
Senate Armed Services Committee
Ex-Officio Member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

Comments are closed.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT LINKS
LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Friday, Nov 21, 2014
Don't miss this opportunity to see the GO JAZZ Big Band, now under the direction of Brian Leff (Jazz Music Director at West Ranch High School) for our only show at West Ranch this fall.
Friday, Nov 21, 2014
Evy Warshawski announced her intention to resign as executive director of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons
Thursday, Nov 20, 2014
Tickets are still available for Cow Bop at Hart Hall on Dec. 6 ... Plus: Upcoming guests on SCVTV’s “House Blend” show are ganging up Saturday night at the It’s a Grind coffeehouse in Castaic.
Thursday, Nov 20, 2014
The College of the Canyons Studio Jazz Ensemble and Lab Band is supplying a healthy dose of seasonal cheer at this year’s Holiday Jazz Concert, where audience members will be treated to a mix of traditional holiday tunes performed in a variety of styles.
Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014
Things to do in and around the city of Santa Clarita.
Friend Activity
Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2003 - Ruth Newhall, longtime co-owner/editor of The Signal, dies in Berkeley [story]
Look at the areas of population that voted for construction of the high-speed rail system. You guessed it: Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new train won’t go through much of either highly populated area. What do they care about some farmland in the Central Valley, or Soledad from Acton all the way through Sand Canyon?
Where ‘Nobody’ Lives
1931 - Fall Roundup held at Hoot Gibson's Saugus Rodeo [story]
The next time you take a walk in our open spaces, take a look at the oak trees. Some will have one trunk, but many will have multiple trunks. There is one in the Whitney Canyon area of Newhall that has eight trunks. These trunks were all stump-sprouts after a fire.
Symbol of Strength
An agreement between Benutech Inc. and the Southland Regional Association of Realtors will enable SRAR real estate professionals to access in-depth data and sales analytics on the housing tracts or census tracts in their region.
SCV Realtors Can Access Housing Tract Data Utility
Exactly 11 years – to the day – after he first introduced legislation seeking to block a massive gravel mine in Soledad Canyon, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon introduced what will be his last bill aimed at achieving the same end.
McKeon Introduces Final Cemex Bill; Companion to Boxer’s
1843 - Rancho Castec (aka Rancho Castaic) granted to French immigrant Jose Covarrubias [story]
As chance would have it, we found ourselves on the grassy knoll on the 25th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. I was 11. It was odd to be standing at a place where time had stood still. Because of the actions of that day and in that place, for many people the world completely changed.
When Time Stood Still
The City of Santa Clarita, in partnership with Parkway Motorcars, will host its annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the City’s Newhall Community Center on Monday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday: Thanksgiving Dinner at Newhall Community Center
Despite a 14.4 percent increase in population in 2013, according to the FBI, Santa Clarita saw an overall drop in violent crimes of 19.3 percent.
FBI Stats for Santa Clarita Show Sharp Drop in Violent Crime
Hart High quarterback Brady White is one of 16 high school seniors nominated by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Selection Committee for the 2015 U.S. Army Player of the Year Award, considered high school football’s highest honor.
Hart’s Brady White Up for U.S. Army Player of Year
Don't miss this opportunity to see the GO JAZZ Big Band, now under the direction of Brian Leff (Jazz Music Director at West Ranch High School) for our only show at West Ranch this fall.
Nov. 23: GO Jazz Fall Concert at West Ranch
The woman who ran the Santa Clarita Redevelopment Agency and filled in as city clerk when the state ended redevelopment has taken a job as community development director for the city of San Gabriel.
Chaparyan Leaves City to Run San Gabriel Planning Dept.
Participants will run a three-mile cross country course through the COC Valencia campus, beginning at the college’s baseball field and continuing through the campus, winding through the hills overlooking the Santa Clarita Valley, and finally finishing inside Cougar Stadium.
Thanksgiving Day: Annual Turkey Trot at COC
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced a settlement this week with AT&T to resolve allegations that hundreds of AT&T’s California facilities unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste and material over a nine-year period.
AT&T to Pay $23.8 Mil. for Unlawful Hazardous Waste Dumping
Stephen Minarsch is enjoying a career as a Hardware Industrial Designer for tech-titan Microsoft. Now a Seattle resident, Minarsch played a critical role in the design of the new “Microsoft Band” fitness product from start to finish.
Ex-COC Student a Creative Brain Behind New Microsoft Band [Video]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: The Santa Clarita City Council will consider committing $3 million toward the construction of a new senior center at their meeting on Tuesday.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, November 21, 2014
Evy Warshawski announced her intention to resign as executive director of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons
Director of COC Performing Arts Center Stepping Down
The China Lake Astronomical Society will be at the visitor center parking lot beginning at dusk, ready to answer your questions about the unique celestial objects such as nebula, galaxies, clusters, Venus and other planets visible in the dark sky.
Saturday Night: Star Party at Red Rock State Park
Santa Clarita City Council agenda for Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014.
Next City Council Mtg.: Einstein School, New Senior Center
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to the Goodwill located on Pico Canyon Road. Friday on reports of a suspicious object in a donation drop box, officials said.
Possible Grenade Donated to Goodwill; Deputies Respond
Teens repainted a quarter mile of patchwork paint on a retaining wall along the South Fork Trail from the Wiley Canyon Bridge heading North on bike trail towards Magic Mountain Parkway in Valencia.
Community Court Teens Remove Graffiti from Wash
The Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals girls volleyball team will square off against Upland Christian for the CIF Southern Section Division 5-AA Championship in Fullerton Saturday.
SCCS Girls Volleyball to play for CIF Championship
The visiting Antelope Valley Marauders gave the COC women's volleyball all it could handle during Wednesday's 'sophomore night' match, but the Cougars prevailed nonetheless, capturing a 3-2 (27-25, 25-15, 22-25, 29-31, 15-6) win to conclude the regular season with an exclamation point.
Canyons Concludes Regular Season with 16th Straight Win