In Kathryn Bigelow’s movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jessica Chastain played Maya, a young CIA operative whose stubborn pursuit of Osama bin Laden played a major role in the al-Qaida leader’s death.
The film garnered both awards (including a Golden Globe for Chastain) and controversy—largely because of graphic scenes depicting the CIA’s use of torture on suspected terrorists. But an undisputed—and to some, surprising—revelation in the film was its disclosure of the key role a female CIA agent played in the search for bin Laden.
Now a new documentary goes further—making clear it wasn’t just one female CIA operative relentlessly searching for bin Laden, as Bigelow’s dramatization suggests, but rather a whole team of women who began sounding the alarm about the al-Qaida leader almost a decade before the 9/11 attacks made bin Laden a household name.
“Manhunt,” which premieres Wednesday on HBO, tries to tell what director Greg Barker describes as “the real story” behind the 20-year hunt for bin Laden. It includes interviews with several members of the so-called Sisterhood, as the team of female analysts assigned to track bin Laden came to be known within the CIA.
I talked to one of the former female CIA agents who chased down bin Laden and al-Qaida and who speaks about her job for the first time in “Manhunt” (via Yahoo News)
"The agency is a funny place, very insular… It’s like middle-schoolers with clearances."
— A former CIA official to the Washington Post on how the female agent that inspired Jessica Chastain’s role in “Zero Dark Thirty” has faced work drama in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Among other things, the Post reports fellow agents have been jealous of Hollywood’s interest in her role in search for Bin Laden