Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’

Zero Dark Thirty: Did torture lead us to Osama bin Laden?

December 21, 2012

zero-dark-thirty-2012-img02See Zero Dark Thirty. It’s a terrific yarn about the search for Osama bin Laden and about the remarkable raid that killed him. Jessica Chastain is perfect as the real-life CIA agent assigned to the case as a rookie. She starts, sensibly enough, with little confidence, but steadily grows into a single-minded pain-in-the-ass who won’t let anybody, up to the director, get in the way of her search. When the CIA director is finally told that the Agency is “60 per cent confident” of bin Laden’s hiding place, Chastain shouts from the back row, “It’s 100 per cent certain.”

The movie starts with a CIA agent torturing a detainee, with Chastain looking on nervously. There is a strong implication that torture produced information that had an important role in finding UBL, as bin Laden is known in the film.

Now there is a firestorm swirling around the movie, with senators knowledgeable in intelligence arguing that torture played no part in finding UBL, and the neocons and the right arguing that of course it did.

So did it?

The film’s director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal issued this statement:

“This was a 10-year intelligence operation brought to the screen in a two-and-a-half-hour film. We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden. The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible (more…)

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow matches Fox News’ distortions about Obama with her distortion about George W. Bush

November 9, 2010

 

Tonight’s Rachel Maddow show ran a clip from Matt Lauer’s interview with George W. Bush, telecast tonight to coincide with the roll-out of Bush’s book. Maddow had an early “teaser” to hook viewers into staying around until the Bush interview ran, near the end of the show. The teaser urged viewers to stay to see Bush’s “whopper.”


Sure enough, here came a whopper. Lauer asked, “Did you ever ask yourself, ‘What more could I have done to prevent this [9/11] from happening?’ “ Bush responded, “We just didn’t have any solid intelligence that gave us some warning on this.”

Maddow followed this clip with video of Condoleezza Rice admitting to the 9/11 Commission that the President’s Daily Briefing for August 6, 2001, was entitled, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.” Maddow punctuated the segment this way: “George W. Bush is trying to sell the same kind of spin he tried to sell when he was President.” That is, in her words, “a whopper.” For extra emphasis she repeated the clip of Bush saying no intelligence and Rice reading the title of the PDB.


But the whopper was Maddow’s, not Bush’s. For she had carefully truncated Bush’s answer. Here’s his full, undoctored answer to Lauer’s question: (more…)

Flash: Ranking Republican Peter King praises Obama administration’s handling of bombing attempts

November 1, 2010

 

Hooray for Congressman Peter King (R-NY) for his praise of the Obama administration’s handling of the attempted bombings of FedEx and UPS cargo planes last week. In contrast to recent shameful attempts by many Republicans, most prominently Rudy Giuliani, to politicize the ongoing battle with Al Qaeda, King passed up the chance to make hay on election eve over the issue.

Appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, King, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, had this to say about the Administration’s actions:

“In the past…I’ve had differences with John Brennan [Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism], but let me make it clear: on this particular matter the Administration is handling it perfectly. They received actionable intelligence, they shared it with our allies, they did what had to be done, the FBI, the TSA—the TSA especially, under John Pistole. They did what they had to do. Everything was done right, they continue to do it right, I give them full credit.”

No equivocation, no hint that Republicans could have done it better, no nudge to vote Republican tomorrow. Just praise for federal workers doing their important jobs right. Reinhold Niebuhr would have applauded King’s contribution to “the temper and integrity of the political fight.

 


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