Reuters is reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee “will examine records charting contacts between intelligence officials” and Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.” The idea is to examine whether the CIA and particularly deputy director Michael Morell gave the filmmakers “inappropriate” access to secret material. The committee will also probe “whether CIA personnel are responsible for the portrayal of harsh interrogation practices” and “in particular the suggestion that they were effective.”

I’m sorry but this strikes me and others as cheap political horseshit by way of an opportunistic pile-on.

There are many layers of Washington, D.C. chess-playing going on here. One presumes that Boal made the usual promises to protect his sources, and that’s where it ends. This leaves him in a position of honor, but without a lot of maneuver room. He could say this or that, but he’s constrained.

I would imagine that Boal and Bigelow looked at the facts and considered how to best tell their story, and decided that life is too short to make bad art or fake history. My understanding of this subject is that people who don’t know much about the subject have talked a lot, and the people who do know haven’t said very much. I would also imagine that to Boal and Bigelow, the subject was too important to focus primarily on avoiding a controversy or contradicting the calculated views of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, John McCain or Carl Levin, or raising the hackles of filmmakers like Alex Gibney.

My reading of Zero Dark Thirty is that CIA operatives did whatever they could (including the use of “enhanced” interrogation) to shake loose information about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, and that maybe with torture and maybe without they eventually scored. A bit of this, a bit of that. It wasn’t a game of tiddly-winks, and they weren’t after Boy Scout merit badges as much as results.