Gregory MacCallion, a PhD Candidate in the Department of International Relations, Australian National University, has thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty (WARNING: spoilers follow, below the fold):

This is just a quick thought on yesterday's Zero Dark Thirty comment. It might get some discussion going.

Having seen Zero Dark Thirty, what absolutely amazes me is that one of the most controversial scenes in the movie has not been discussed in public discourse. And its not the torture.

It is the scene when a young analyst comes up to our female protagonist, after years of searching/torturing to find OBL, with a file, and says "The Moroccans gave us this file after 9/11 and we hadn't gotten around to reading it yet." Within the file is the direct lead to OBL.

So it was not so much the torture that is the disturbing aspect (though I think it is). It is the incredibly shabby file work done. Had this file, that been down the back of someone's couch, been read in the first place, would the torture have been necessary? By implication in this film, it would appear not. Though this little fact gets glided over, both in the film and in the discussions relating to the film. So for me the question is not whether the CIA needed to torture or not, it is whether the CIA needs more/better file case workers?