Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathrlyn Bigelow fêted CIA officers with gifts like tequila and pearls, while gaining unprecidented access to the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, according to a CIA ethics report obtained by Vice News. The filmmakers spoke to officers away from CIA headquarters, and the inspiration behind the film’s main character even said she “developed a friendship” with them.
The relationship was reciprocated by the CIA. Boal was invited to a classified Bin Laden awards ceremony a month after the raid, where he heard then-Director Leon Panetta talk about mission details. The CIA also vetted Boal’s script: He was “told that a scene that showed ‘agency officers partying and shooting guns’ was inaccurate because ‘agency officers would not do that,’” Vice reports.
Bigelow won an Academy Award for Best Director for Zero Dark Thirty, and the CIA used the movie to claim torture was necessary and effective in finding Bin Laden. A Senate report found that torture did not help find Bin Laden.