Post-Oscars, Senate Intelligence Committee Closes 'Zero Dark Thirty' Probe

It appears the Senate Intelligence Committee probe into Zero Dark Thirty is over. A Congressional aide today confirmed to Reuters that the Committee led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senators John McCain (R-Ariz) and Carl Levin (D-Mich) has dropped its inquiry into Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-nominated film. The negative campaign from Capitol Hill had plagued the pic in the months leading up to the 85th Academy Awards, where Zero Dark Thirty went home without winning any major awards Sunday night. The Senate Intelligence Committee launched its public battle against the film in December when members issued a letter to Sony Pictures head Michael Lynton that called the film “grossly inaccurate”. The committee subsequently called for an investigation into the propriety of access given by the CIA to Bigelow and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Mark Boal, whose film depicts CIA operatives employing enhanced interrogation practices on detainees. At a WGA nominees panel this month, Boal accused his politician detractors of using Zero Dark Thirty as a “publicity platform”: “You’re talking about an institution that has lower approval ratings than head lice and cockroaches in the American public”, he said, “so I think anything they can do to, in some cases, avoid the issues that they’re voted in to do, they’ll do”.

The Osama bin Laden pic was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay, while Bigelow was snubbed altogether in the Best Director category. Meanwhile, Ben Affleck’s Argo, filmed in collaboration with the U.S. State Department (which endorsed the pic on Twitter before the Oscars) took home the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Editing.

  1. So they’re basically admiting that they just wanted to hurt its box office and awards chances?

    And I love that they were mad that it was “grossly inaccurate” and then promptly investigated where they could have gotten their research/leaks. Why investigate if grossly inaccurate???

  2. Or did McCain drop it because an inquiry into the “propriety of access” afforded the filmmakers might call into question the integrity of the access? Consider the stuff that Valerie Plame was doing before her cover was blown by Republicans as a practical matter of political expediency.

    1. Valerie Plame was never “outed.”

      She was a lowly desk jockey, in which case pales in comparison to the massive Benghazi cover-up by the Obama administration.

      1. What’s even sadder was the source was revealed to be Richard Armitage, but people (like Scotter Libby) were sent to jail anyway.

        The whole thing was an embarrassment, TONS of taxpayer spent and wasted on what was “nothing.”

    2. What David said. The movie portrayal of the incident was a gross fabrication making Plame appear much more important and high up than she ever really was, and no laws were broken in her “outing.”
      The only person who went to jail over the incident did so for perjuring himself. The investigation of a non-crime actually lead to a crime… that’s how ridiculous the whole affair was.

  3. Screw these phony senate hypocrites the only reason they went after the film was for publicity and now that it lost best picture they don’t want to waste their time investigating it any longer. A disgusting waste of taxpayer money. They are disgraceful.

  4. You people wringing your hands about how awful these senators are, are probably the same people who continue to vote for Diane Feinstein over and over and over. You get exactly what you deserve. I agree the entire Congress is a bunch of asswipes and every last one of them should be ousted. Start over.

    I don’t recall who said it but it’s right: there ought to be term limits…two terms…one in Congress and one in jail. Bunch of self aggrandizing elitists on both sides of the aisle.

  5. What is even worse is people like martin sheen who encoraged voters not to vote for the movie because it somehow endorsed torture — instead of actually doing something more useful than attacking a movie.

  6. I think that Katherine Bigelow’s characterization of her film as a “first draft of history” is a fair and accurate one at this particular media moment. I also think it’s a great and fascinating picture. The disclaimer up front is important to dwell upon it seems to me. The picture is based on “first hand accounts” of “actual events.” If you read between the lines “actual events” then are wholly dependent (as were the filmmakers)upon the veracity of the “actual events”(such as they were)as they were recounted by those “first hand accounts” detailing the “actual events.”

    The filmmakers were wholly reliant upon all of this. One of the things that I was struck by is that the character of “Mya” never once decries the use of torture or enhanced interrogation. In my opinion the character’s actions imply that she implicitly endorses them throughout although it was always men’s work. She’ll turn her head maybe. Generally speaking she courses around the torture like she’s Jennifer Jones in “The Song of Bernadette.” (An interesting [and indicating] use of a veil by both Bigelow and Chastain although not in the torture scenes. Was it theirs or was it groomed as such by “first hand accounts?”) There’s more to say about it…but buy it, rent it, take it out of the library if you don’t want to financially support it…but it’s a must-see for not the usual reasons. To her credit Bigelow has been very straightforward about all of this. Additionally she has declared her belief that torture is “reprehensible.” That she can construct a film that depicts something that she personally considers as such is testament to the woman’s interest and talents in exploring complex themes as they relate to the truth as perceived by the public. One of the most interesting filmmakers to come along in a long, long time although I hated “Strange Days” when it first came out but wanna look at it again. Originally I found it unusually sadistic. This I did not. My point about Valerie Plame is, come on, to be doing what she was doing she by job description she fabricated everywhere both here and abroad. In a way the political reaction to “Zero Dark Thirty” has been comparable to the Scooter Libbey trials and tribulations. Who did what and when to whom basically.

    Benghazi – oy, what a can of worms. No I do not think it should just be put in the past as Hillary Clinton suggests even though John McCain looks like Raymond Massey in “Inherit the Wind” about it. Somebody should give him a fan from the local funeral parlor so he can tactically turn up and vamp even more about it because the court room is so hot! And the Obamas/the Clintons are the sympathetic Spencer Tracy, right? Not to me unfortunately.

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