The Report Movie Poster

Trivia for The Report

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  • Although Annette Bening personally knows and is familiar with Dianne Feinstein, she chose not to meet with her regarding her portrayal.
  • The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and received a standing ovation for the real Daniel J. Jones, who was present at the showing.
  • Acquired by Amazon Studios two days after its world premiere.
  • The full title, including the redacted word on the poster, is "The Torture Report."
  • Mathew Rhys in this film is a New York Times reporter helping to blow the whistle on government secrets. Similarly, he played a whistleblower in the film "The Post" responsible for the Vietnam papers leaked to the press in the early 70s. Ironically, in "The Post" , the New York Times was barred from being able to release the information to the public.
  • Just before filming commenced, the film's original plan of a 50-day schedule was cut to a 26-day schedule, and its $18 million budget was slashed to just $8 million. Hence, director Scott Burns stated that all the actors including its lead Adam Driver were paid next to nothing on this project.
  • According to the New York Times, the interrogation video tapes were destroyed against the objections of White House, Department of Justice officials, and senior members of Congress. Officials within the Central Intelligence Agency at the time, including John Rizzo, the Agency's top lawyer, and Porter J. Goss, the CIA Director, were not notified prior to the destruction of the tapes, and had previously opposed their destruction.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the CIA torture program was approved with a 14-1 vote. The committee also voted on a bi-partisan basis both to declassify and publicly release the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the report produced by the committee investigators.
  • Then Vice President Dick Cheney's ominous statement that the United States would have to go to "The Dark Side" corresponded with early conversations within the government about skirting the law with new controversial counter-terrorism policies, including the CIA's detention and interrogation program. The Report documents how senior officials in the days after the 9/11 attacks discussed the use of interrogation techniques they referred to as "torture."
  • Some former CIA officials framed The Report as a "Democrat" document, but its executive summary was approved, declassified, and released with bi-partisan support. Further, the investigation was approved with the support of Democrats and Republicans in a 14-1 vote. Some Republicans did "pull out" of the investigation in protest of an expanded Department of Justice criminal probe into CIA torture, however key Republicans such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham continued to support the investigation.
  • The interrogation of Abu Zubaydah--the first suspect captured and placed in CIA custody--was the initial justification for the CIA torture program. The CIA falsely claimed that it had acquired unique, otherwise unavailable information by torturing Zubaydah. However, CIA records show that FBI interrogators gained the most valuable information from Abu Zubaydah using traditional rapport building interrogation techniques before the CIA began its torture program. The Senate Report describes how the CIA claimed credit for information obtained by FBI interrogators, as well as how the CIA continued to torture Zubaydah after CIA staff advised against continuing the brutal methods because they were harmful and not producing accurate intelligence.
  • Some former CIA officers claim that James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen--the contractors the CIA used to develop the interrogation program--were experts in national security and interrogations. This is incorrect. The contractors did not have any relevant subject matter, linguistic, or cultural expertise. Neither had ever conducted a real-life interrogation.
  • Supporters of the CIA torture program claim the interrogations were controlled and safe, in part because there were medical personnel involved. However, many of the interrogation sessions did not follow the CIA's own protocols, and the CIA's medical staff voiced concerns about the physical and psychological impacts the interrogations were having on detainees. For example, according to CIA records described in The Report, in one waterboarding session of Abu Zubaydah, he "became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth."
  • The CIA interrogation methods were reverse-engineered from the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program, which exposes U.S. service members to torture and abuse that they might face if captured by enemy forces. These SERE tactics were designed to emulate the kinds of torture historically used by enemy forces to produce false confessions and propaganda.
  • According to CIA records, Mitchell and Jessen were put in charge of not only creating and implementing the torture program, but also evaluating its effectiveness, creating a clear conflict of interest. The latest science on interrogation finds that rapport-based approaches to interrogation are the most effective, and that torture produces unreliable and false information.
  • As the CIA torture sessions became more brutal and failed to produce useful information, CIA staff in the field complained to CIA Headquarters about the brutality and legality of using the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques. CIA Headquarters instructed officers in the field to continue with the torture tactics and urged field officers not to put their concerns in writing. The director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Jose Rodriguez, wrote: "Strongly urge that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, more precisely, judgment calls as to their legality vis-a-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic (email or cable traffic). Such language is not helpful."
  • The term "enhanced interrogation" refers to the CIA's interrogation techniques. The term has no meaning under applicable law, nor are the tactics used by professional interrogators. The term was created by the CIA to describe interrogation tactics that would otherwise be considered torture or unlawful detainee abuse.
  • The Department of Justice and Central Intelligence Agency created several legal memos to provide legal justification for the CIA torture program. These memos have been widely criticized for their inaccurate legal analyses, have been withdrawn, and can no longer be relied on by government officials. Even under the CIA and DOJ's own questionable legal standards that were put forth, the interrogation program could only be lawful if it produced "unique, otherwise unavailable" intelligence that led to the capture of terrorists and the disruption of terrorist attacks. As The Report documents, the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques failed to produce this information.
  • As the Torture Report documents, instead of disciplining the CIA officer who most directly caused Gul Rahman's death, CIA leadership provided advice to the officer on how to limit information available on the death. The officer was later recommended for a performance bonus.
  • Several news outlets and Senators have stated that the "Panetta Review"--a secret CIA internal review of the CIA interrogation program--supports the findings of The Report. The Panetta Review, which conflicts with the CIA's own official response to The Report, has not been made public.
  • Government records show that the CIA used unauthorized techniques, including "rectal feeding"--inserting purified food into a detainee's anus, which medical professionals have criticized as ineffective and harmful.
  • After the news of Osama Bin Laden's death was reported, the CIA and former CIA officials falsely claimed that the intelligence that led to bin Laden came from the CIA torture program. As The Report details using the CIA's own records, the intelligence that led to Osama Bin Laden was identified through other means.
  • The Report documents 20 of the most frequent and prominent examples of purported counter-terrorism successes that the CIA has attributed to the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques, and found them to be wrong.
  • Among The Report's central findings were 1) "The CIA's management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program's duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003" and 2) "The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures".
  • Adam Driver (Daniel Jones) is a Juilliard graduate and former Marine who was with 1/1 Weapons Company at Camp Pendleton, CA.
  • The CIA Inspector General found that CIA officials improperly accessed the Senate's computer systems and filed an unfounded criminal referral against Senate staff. Then-CIA Director John Brennan later privately apologized for these actions on behalf of the CIA.
  • As one of President Obama's first official acts, he signed Executive Order 13491, which restricted all government agencies to lawful interrogation approaches used by the Military and required that the International Committee of the Red Cross be granted access to detainees held in U.S. custody. This executive order, which effectively banned the CIA program, was codified into federal law by the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment of 2015, which passed in the Senate with an overwhelming bi-partisan vote.
  • No threats or attacks have been associated with the release of the executive summary of The Torture Report.
  • In some cases, such as with the Pentagon Papers, reporters have been given or obtained classified government documents, which have then been published in newspapers. In the case of the executive summary of The Torture Report, Senators and their staff insisted on voting to declassify and publicly release the report through a proper and official process.
  • Upon release of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of The Report, many news outlets began calling it "The Torture Report"-- reflecting the brutal nature of the interrogations depicted in the report.
  • An Amazon release written (and directed) by Scott Z. Burns. He also wrote another similarly political 2019 release, The Laundromat (2019) - a Netflix release.
  • This is Scott Z. Burns' feature directorial debut.
  • Scott Z. Burns wasn't allowed to read the full CIA report because he didn't have the appropriate security clearance. (It's also 6,700 pages long.)
  • Scott Z. Burns originally planned to approach the material in a satirical Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) manner. However, the more he delved into the facts, he realized that this had to be told in the most realistic fashion.
  • After completing the screenplay, Scott Z. Burns shared it with his frequent collaborator, Steven Soderbergh, with a view as to who he would suggest should play the lead role. Adam Driver's name came up almost immediately.
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