Following its world premiere at Sundance in January, director Scott Z. Burns‘s film The Report hit theaters in mid-November before finally arriving on its streaming home at Amazon Prime. The movie, which stars actor Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, the Senate staffer assigned to investigate the CIA’s interrogation methods for acquiring intelligence from alleged terrorist suspects, is viewed by many as a rebuke of Katherine Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and the agency’s practices at large.
This is probably why President Trump‘s latest secretary of state, former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, doesn’t think much of the film. In a tweet posted Friday afternoon, the Trump official acknowledged he had watched The Report and dubbed it a work of “fiction.” He also noted that “the bad guys are not our intelligence warriors, but “the terrorists” — just in case said belief wasn’t already implied.
I watched “The Report.” Fiction. To be clear: the bad guys are not our intelligence warriors. The bad guys are the terrorists. To my former colleagues and all of the patriots at @CIA who have kept us safe since 9/11: America supports you, defends you and has your back. So do I.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 27, 2019
In a statement to Deadline responding to Pompeo’s apparent viewing, Burns said he was “grateful” for the secretary’s comments while offering his own measured words of disagreement:
“I hope he will go back and read the [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] report as well. I am interested in knowing what part he finds to be fiction and I ask him to join me in calling for the release of the Panetta Review which the CIA conducted into the [enhanced interrogation technique] program so that this dispute can be resolved. I agree with him that terrorists are bad guys — as are the people who conducted barbaric and ineffective acts of torture in the name of Mr. Pompeo’s misguided notion of ‘Patriotism’ and then misled Congress and the American people.”
Other government officials, including another former CIA director and several senators, have previously responded to the claims made by The Report‘s dramatizations.