On "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012) and "The Report" (2019)
New Books Network 2021
Moments after the planes hit, dozens of CIA and FBI officials had their worst fears confirmed. They each knew separate pieces of the story, but enduring and vicious turf wars over counter-terrorism prevented any meaningful cooperation. Part I of this week's episode looks at Hulu's 2017 miniseries, The Looming Tower to see how Hollywood answered the question: How did we fail to see what was coming when we have the largest and richest military and intelligence agencies in the world? Part II of The Reckoning confronts the choices we made in a cloud of fear and shame after that failure. Dick Cheney casually let it be known that there would be no “tying the hands of our intelligence community” and famously urged the country to welcome a turn to the “dark side” in an unprecedented war on terror. We discuss Kathryn Bigelow’s 2012 Zero Dark Thirty and Scott Burns’s 2019 The Report, and their very different attitudes towards those policies.