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Feature Film Depicts E-Town College Grad Who Authored Torture Report

Adam Driver portrays Elizabethtown College graduate Daniel J. Jones in the new movie "The Report."
Daniel J. Jones

Daniel J. Jones, who graduated from Elizabethtown College in 1997 with a degree in political science, is featured in the new movie “The Report,” which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan. 22.

Adam Driver portrays Jones in the film directed by Scott Z. Burns.

The synopsis submitted to the film festival describes the movie this way: “Senate staffer Daniel Jones is assigned the daunting task of leading an investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. After analyzing extensive evidence, he learns about their ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’— proven to be brutal, immoral, and ineffective—that the CIA adopted after 9/11. When Jones and the Senate Intelligence Committee attempt to release the results from his investigation, however, the CIA and White House go to great lengths to prevent the truth from getting out.”

Jones devoted thousands of hours to the investigation alongside Alissa Starzak, a former CIA lawyer, who then left the committee in 2011, a year before the report’s completion. The report was initially launched to determine whether lawmakers were fully briefed on the CIA’s controversial interrogation tactics. The report states that “the CIA misrepresented the success of the program to the president of the United States, the Congress and the United States people.”

The report details actions by CIA officials, including torturing prisoners, providing misleading or false information about classified CIA programs to the media, impeding government oversight and internal criticism, and mismanaging of the program. Forms of torture included waterboarding, hypothermia, prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, and “rectal rehydration.” It also revealed the existence of previously unknown detainees, that more detainees were subjected to harsher treatment than was previously disclosed, and that more forms of torture were used than previously disclosed. At least half of the 39 victims of CIA torture tactics have displayed long-term psychological damage.

The report concluded that torturing prisoners did not yield unique actionable intelligence or gain cooperation from detainees and that the program damaged the United States’ international standing.

Sen. John McCain, RAriz., noted that the report “is a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose — to secure action- able intelligence to prevent further attacks on the US and our allies — but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world.”

The investigation lasted more than six years and found that the CIA’s torture was far more brutal than the agency had told the Bush administration or Congress.

Following the completion of the report in 2014, it was revealed that the CIA had been surveilling the work of the committee. The Obama Department of Justice did not prosecute the officials involved in the CIA torture program after the report’s release.

Due to public outcry to release the full findings of the report before the inauguration of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, the Obama administration agreed to preserve the findings of the report in his presidential library; however, the entire 6,700 page report will be restricted from public view for 12 years; it is to be released in 2028. A heavily redacted 500 -page summary of the report is public.

The completion of the report and Jones’ departure from the Intelligence Committee was heralded by former Intelligence Committee vice chair Dianne Feinstein in a tribute submitted to the Congressional Record. Jones has been interviewed on the record regarding his work on the investigation and the subsequent controversy of the CIA and DOJ’s inadequate response to the report.

In addition to his degree from Elizabethtown College, Jones has degrees from Johns Hopkins University, and the Kennedy Schoolof Government at Harvard University. After college, he worked as a middle school teacher with Teach for America, an AmeriCorps national service program.Jones spent four years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation working

on international terrorism investigations. After the FBI, Jones joined the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence under the leadership of Senator Jay Rockefeller. Jones subsequently worked for Feinstein when she became chairman of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

He is now the President of the Penn Quarter Group, a research investigative advisory firm in Washington, D.C.

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