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The Reality Behind 'The Report' Is More Terrifying Than Any Film Could Show


Nov. 18 2019, Updated 10:26 a.m. ET

When a nation is rocked by a tragedy, fear can have its own irreparable damages. That's how psychologists Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen became the orchestrators of the most terrifying CIA counterterrorism program America could have imagined in the wake of 9/11. It was so dangerous and so damning that the CIA deleted hundreds of hours of videos of the psychologists' interrogations. Those deleted tapes are what led to a 7000 page report that is the basis of Amazon's upcoming movie, The Report.

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Although The Report stays true to the source material, the true story behind the movie will always be more terrifying than anything that could be put on film.

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The true story of Amazon's The Report starts with a man who was assigned to uncover the CIA's lies. 

In 2009, Daniel J. Jones was a staffer under Senator Diane Feinstein. When The New York Times broke the news that the CIA had deleted 92 interrogation videos, Daniel was assigned as the lead investigator. 

It was already known that the CIA was using tactics like waterboarding and there had already been much debate as to whether those actions were ethical. But what Daniel uncovered was just how dangerous those tactics were for none of the reward the CIA had claimed that they were getting. 

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Dr. Mitchell was given a Qaeda manual and he contacted Dr. Jessen to turn the techniques in the manual into an American interrogation program proposal. The program was greenlit by the CIA at the time it was led by George Tenet, who would later resign. The two led the interrogations of the 119 people who were detained due to supposed ties to the 9/11 attacks. The program lasted from 2002 to 2008

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The CIA led the American people to believe that the program was doing important work, uncovering details that they would not be able to uncover otherwise. What Daniel discovered was that belief was a lie and the CIA knew it, which was why they destroyed the tapes. Not a single one of Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen's interrogations yielded any usable evidence. 

The tactics made the prisoners delirious and desperate. Everything they said was a lie, already known, or, most often, complete nonsense as they could no longer form coherent thoughts. 

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The team had done irreparable damage to the prisoners and, should the detainees have actually had ties to the attacks, anything that was said during the interrogation was inadmissible in a court of law to begin with. So, quite literally, all of the damage that was done had been for nothing. Daniel's team's report was released in 2014 and has frequently been nicknamed the "Torture Report" which is where the new film gets its name.

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How will the movie portray the report?

The Report has Annette Benning playing the role of Diane Feinstein while Adam Driver is portraying Daniel. According to Daniel, the film took care to accurately show the work that his team did. The movie will stay true to the source material, even going so far as to show the many different torture techniques the CIA used. So as important as this story is, it's not for the faint of heart.

The Report is in theaters Nov. 15.

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