When the CIA "assisted" with the film Zero Dark Thirty, the film ended up being a ridiculous propaganda piece which sort to justify the CIA's kidnap and torture program. The film was also full of half truths. For example, the film claimed that torture was how the location of Osama bin Laden was discovered. But it turned out that the CIA knew the whereabouts of Osama (or least who they claimed was Osama) several years before his assassination.
—Ronald David Jackson
|13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi|
When the Central Intelligence Agency met with party-boy, explosion-obsessed Hollywood filmmaker Michael Bay this year, the agency said it was on a matter of national security.
In January, Paramount Pictures is releasing Bay’s new film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, an action flick dramatizing the story of six security-team members who defended the U.S. compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, at the time of the 2012 attack.
Bay is, of course, famous for helming rowdy, big-budget fare such as Bad Boys II and The Rock, and movies starring beautiful women and loud killer-robots. (For his Transformers franchise, Bay worked closely with the Pentagon to secure access to warships, helicopters, F-22 stealth fighters, and many more military assets.)
The Benghazi attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, has become one of the more bitterly divisive and partisan issues of the Obama era, spawning multiple congressional investigations and various un-killable talking points for conservative media.
Bay has promised that there is no political agenda whatsoever driving 13 Hours. “I show both sides of the story,” he said at a French film festival. “I met with the CIA on this movie and I show the whole situation.”
In interviews with The Daily Beast, CIA spokespeople admitted that its representatives met with the 50-year-old director—but they claim that it wasn’t to spin the movie in their favor or grant Bay the kind of access afforded to, for instance, Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow for 2012 Oscar-bait Zero Dark Thirty. (That movie—which dramatized the U.S. hunt for Osama bin Laden—was made with the help of the CIA and its press office, and is front-loaded with falsehoods that push the debunked narrative that torture somehow, in some way, helped track down bin Laden. Boal and Bigelow fêted CIA officers with gifts such as tequila and pearls as they were offered unprecedented access to information on the mission.)
The agency has a long history of attempting to gain influence in Hollywood and independent American media, and in 1996 opened its very own Entertainment Liaison Office, which advises high-profile filmmakers and projects. So if you’re watching a flashy Hollywood thriller starring, say, a young, exceptionally handsome Colin Farrell as a well-groomed CIA badass, you can safely assume that the agency consulted on it in the service of image control.