The Truth Matters
As we – the country – learn about political cover-ups and dirty deals in all branches of our government, THE REPORT is a reminder that the CIA, FBI and other government agencies have always been run by individuals who think they know best, but don’t.
THE REPORT is based on actual events. It follows Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) who is asked by his boss Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead an investigation of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, created after 9/11. The purpose of the Program was to gather information from the detainees about Al Qaeda to thwart off future attacks. Senator Feinstein had read a NY Times article about improper treatment of the prisoners and wanted to learn more.
The film goes behind-the-scenes with Daniel J. Jones and his discoveries: 1) The outside contractor hired by the CIA to implement the interrogations had no experience in interrogation, or proof that horrific torture techniques would get the detainees to tell the truth; 2) The CIA, FBI and other government agencies okayed the use of extremely painful physical and emotional abuse under the guise of keeping America safe; 3) Those in charge at the CIA knew that the torture techniques didn’t work – the detainees either didn’t have information or lied to stop being tortured; And worse – the CIA already had all the information they tried to get from the detainees from other sources even before the torture was implemented; 4) Some of the detainees tortured had not committed a crime and hadn’t received a trial; 4) The CIA destroyed evidence, subverted the law, and hid this brutal secret from the American public … Until, against many efforts by those in political power, THE REPORT was made public and Senator Feinstein brought it to the Senate and Congress. As a result, a ban on the use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques became law.
The torture techniques were brutal. One man died as a result. One man was waterboarded 183 times. In addition to being waterboarded, detainees were stripped naked, chained to the floor or ceiling in excruciatingly painful positions, sleep-deprived, given rectal hydration until water came out of all orifices, were subjected to non-stop blaring music and noise, and stuffed into small crates (only a contortionist can fit into) for hours, if not days. This kind of brutality demonstrated how people in power have the potential to lose all sense of humanity when they justify their alarm, and take irresponsible action whether the threat of an individual or group is genuine or perceived.
THE REPORT provided a solid lesson we must pay attention to for many reasons. Investigations and cover-ups are too common in our government to ignore. We want to trust our top officials to maintain the USA role as leaders in civil behavior, yet we know how easy it is to disconnect from people we fear. And that history will inevitably repeat itself.
THE REPORT is written and directed by Scott Z. Burns. Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, and Jon Hamm. Also, Sarah Goldberg, Michael C. Hall, Douglas Hodge, Fajer Kaisi, Ted Levine, Jennifer Morrison, Tim Blake Nelson, Linda Powell, Matthew Rhys, T. Ryder Smith, Corey Stoll, and Maura Tierney.