David Sirota wants to know whether the CIA or Pentagon edited Zero Dark Thirty's screenplay, noting that such a practice has been commonplace in the past:
When it comes to movies, the collaborative process is a straightforward bargain. Directors want access to Pentagon and CIA hardware and logistical assistance at cut-rate, taxpayer-subsidized prices. Those agencies, through the military and CIA film liaison offices, are typically happy to oblige, as long as directors submit their screenplays for thematic editing of a prospective film’s overall storyline and granular line-editing of the script’s dialogue. That editing, which is only vaguely disclosed in the fine print credits of films, often ends up making films more ideologically pro-military and pro-war. But according to film liaison officials, the objective of the whole review process is simply to make sure a film accurately represents military history and operation.
If a filmmaker refuses to make the script changes demanded by the Pentagon or CIA, those agencies typically bar access to government hardware and property and do not cooperate in information requests. This often makes a film physically impossible — or prohibitively expensive — to produce. On the other hand, if the Pentagon and CIA are actively cooperating on a movie, it ostensibly means the national security apparatus has reviewed the film’s screenplay and affirmatively approved its substance.
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