PBS America Picks Up Frontline’s CIA Torture Documentary

CIA Director John Brennan (FT)

PBS America has picked up the UK rights to Secrets, Politics & Torture –¬†Frontline’s hour-long documentary on the CIA controversial program of using “enhanced interrogation techniques” on¬†high value targets in the War on Terror, as well as the ensuing investigation and report from the US Senate Select Committee On Intelligence.

From filmmaker Michael Kirk, Secrets, Politics & Torture is ostensibly about the CIA program, which has been deemed as torture and violating the Geneva convention by several international organisations. The hour-long piece begins with a brief look at the Senate report and the fight to make it public, before seguing into the history of the program, which was devised in the wake of 9/11 in an attempt to prevent any further attacks. In an attempt to be as balanced a piece as possible Secrets, Politics & Torture presents both the Senate’s interpretation and the CIA’s own view of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

The list of contributors that are interviewed on camera is as long as it is notable. From John McLaughlin, a 30 year veteran of the CIA who served as Deputy Director from 2000-2004 and Acting-Director in the Summer of 2004; to Richard Clarke, a counter-terrorism expert who served on the National Security Council under both President Clinton and President Bush; John Rizzo, the CIA’s top lawyer in the early 2000s and one of the many government lawyers who signed off on the legality of the program; Senator Diane Feinstein; who Chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; and Ali Soufan, an FBI Special Agent who witnessed the program first hand.

All in all, Secrets, Politics & Torture is continuing the best traditions of Frontline’s award winning series of documentaries on current affairs, presenting a well balanced look at this highly controversial program. That in and of itself will prove divisive, as at this stage the lion’s share of people will have made their mind up on the CIA’s method’s during the Bush years and this well crafted piece will likely do little to sway opinion, especially as a number of former CIA officials have labelled it a “hatchet job”. Even so, it’s well worth a watch, if only to get a sense of the full scope of what the agency did in its fervent attempts to prevent another attack and why current CIA Director John Brennan (pictured_ fought so hard to keep the details classified.

Secrets, Politics & Torture will premiere on PBS America on Friday August 14th at 9pm. Check out the trailer below: