Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal‘s Zero Dark Thirty, which opened Wednesday, has generated a lot of comment about the realism (or lack of it) in the movie’s depiction of events leading up to the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden. And 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.” 

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Bigelow and Boal have taken pains to point out the film is fictional and they took a lot of creative license in telling the story. 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.” In conclusion, Morell notes that “Commentators will have much to say about this film in the weeks ahead. Through it all, I want you to remember that Zero Dark Thirty is not a documentary. What you should also remember is that the Bin Ladin operation was a landmark achievement by our country, by our military, by our Intelligence Community, and by our Agency.”

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