Director Says Mike Pompeo Has ‘Misguided Notion of Patriotism’ After Criticism of CIA Torture Report Film

TORONTO, ONTARIO - SEPTEMBER 07:Director Scott Z. Burns of 'The Report' attends The IMDb Studio Presented By Intuit QuickBooks at Toronto 2019 at Bisha Hotel & Residences on September 07, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)
Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had hit out against the creative team behind the Amazon Studios movie The Report, saying the movie unfairly portrays CIA analysts as villains in its recounting of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s investigation into the use of torture following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Sec. Mike Pompeo tweeted Friday that he had seen the movie, calling it a work of “fiction” that maligns the country’s intelligence community.

“I watched ‘The Report.’ Fiction,” he wrote. “To be clear: the bad guys are not our intelligence warriors. The bad guys are the terrorists. To my former colleagues and all of the patriots at @CIA who have kept us safe since 9/11: America supports you, defends you and has your back. So do I.”

The Report stars Adam Driver as Daniel Jones, who served as lead investigator of the committee. Annette Bening plays Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who chaired the committee. The movie is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Adam Driver in The Report (Topic Studios/Amazon Studios, 2019)

Pompeo’s tweet has provoked a response from the movie’s director, Scott Z. Burns, who is challenging the Secretary of State to explain what aspects of the movie are fictional.

“I am grateful to Secretary of State Pompeo for taking the time to watch The Report movie on Amazon Prime,” the filmmaker said in a statement sent to Deadline.

“I hope he will go back and read the [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] report as well.  I am interested in knowing what part he finds to be fiction and I ask him to join me in calling for the release of the Panetta Review which the CIA conducted into the [enhanced interrogation technique] program so that this dispute can be resolved. I agree with him that terrorists are bad guys— as are the people who conducted barbaric and ineffective acts of torture in the name of Mr. Pompeo’s misguided notion of ‘Patriotism’ and then misled Congress and the American people.”

Burns is referring to the review that former CIA director Leon Panetta commissioned to investigate the use of torture during the George W. Bush administration.

The Senate committee’s nearly 7,000-page report remains classified but a summary released in 2014 suggested that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” weren’t an effective tool in intelligence gathering. Some have disputed the summary, saying that it doesn’t provide a complete picture of the CIA’s activities following the 9/11 attacks.

The Report received mixed reviews upon release. Amazon Studios opened the movie in a handful of cinemas for a brief, two-week run, before making it available for streaming.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.