'Zero Dark Thirty' Wins Raves from Ex-Spies

Article excerpt

In a surprising endorsement, three top former CIA officials Tuesday praised the controversial anti-terror film "Zero Dark Thirty," claiming it properly showed how brutal interrogation worked in the early war against al Qaeda, despite the Obama administration's claims.

What's more, the three, including a former CIA director and his top spy, said that without so-called enhanced interrogation, which President Obama killed in his third day in office, the nation's security is at risk.

"I fear for the safety of our national security because of that," said Jose Rodriguez, a 31-year CIA veteran who headed the National Clandestine Service from 2004 to 2008.

At an American Enterprise Institute forum to discuss the movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, former CIA Director Michael Hayden added that the administration has made capturing terrorists for interrogation such a "third rail" that it's better for soldiers and CIA operatives to kill their targets rather than face a "legally difficult and politically dangerous" climate.

The two, along with former top CIA lawyer John Rizzo, also lashed out at a secret, 6,000-page report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that endorses the administration's view that the interrogation program, noted for its waterboarding of terrorists, did not produce any intelligence.

"It's a ridiculous assertion when a report says that enhanced interrogation program had no value or produced nothing. Frankly, it's disturbing. Because in my view, it is an attempt to rewrite history. The narrative of this administration is that the enhanced interrogation program was torture and nothing came out of it, but in fact, we were able to destroy al Qaeda because of it," said Rodriguez, who added that the committee never interviewed any of the three ex-CIA officials about their program.

While they said the movie was not totally accurate, the three praised it for showing how long and difficult the hunt for bin Laden was and how intelligence gathering works.

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