'Zero Dark Thirty' Prompts CIA to Dispel Hollywood Aura

Friday, 28 Dec 2012 03:21 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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Following the release of "Zero Dark Thirty," a chronicle of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden and his death at the hands of Navy SEALs, the CIA apparently feels it's time to further distance itself from Hollywood.
The oft-dramatized government agency put out a press release on Thursday intended to dispel a number of CIA myths. “The CIA's mission is exciting in its own right, but different from the caricature Hollywood portrays,” it said.
Though the statement didn't mention "Zero Dark Thirty" by name, it made oblique references to other real and imaginary spy-and-thriller franchises, including James Bond.
"When you think about the CIA, does a famous British super spy come to mind?"
And "Homeland" (we think) shows up in the CIA scold.
"Do you imagine CIA officers chasing terrorists through the American heartland, as seen on popular TV shows?"
"While the CIA may have cool spy tools," the release continued, "the CIA is a lot different than Hollywood portrays it to be. CIA.gov wants to share some of the facts with you."
The post on the official website went on to list and debunk a number of common misconceptions among those who form their impressions about the government based on content from entertainment outlets, namely that everyone at the CIA is a spy, that the CIA spies on U.S. citizens, that the CIA is above the law, that the CIA arrests people who break the law, and that the CIA makes foreign policy.
The myth-busting came after acting CIA director Michael J. Morell took "Zero Dark Thirty" to task — this time by name — for exaggerating the use of torture in CIA operations.
"The film takes significant artistic license, while portraying itself as being historically accurate," Morell wrote."What I want you to know is that 'Zero Dark Thirty' is a dramatization, not a realistic portrayal, of the facts."
Though the CIA rarely comments on films, it made exception in this case because of how closely directors worked with the agency.
"CIA interacted with the filmmakers through our Office of Public Affairs but, as is true with any entertainment project with which we interact, we do not control the final product," Morell said.

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