Ex-CIA boss praises Zero Dark Thirty, character 'Maya'

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

The Oscar nominated movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, "Zero Dark Thirty," is being praised by recently retired top spies involved with the hunt for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

And not only do the former CIA execs herald the critically-acclaimed but politically-assailed movie for showing that waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" worked, ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden revealed that the top bin Laden hunter in the movie appropriately symbolizes a "band of sisters" responsible for finding the terrorist.

Asked at a recent American Enterprise Institute seminar January 29 if character "Maya" played by Jessica Chastain was accurate, Hayden said that she represented the group of women involved in the hunt.

"First of all about Maya, I think all of us can claim we know a Maya. And - but clearly the character in the movie is a composite. My wife will kill me for this, but we were talking to her sister the other day and she said something about the movie being politically correct by making the woman the hero. And my wife responded, uh-uh," he said.

"This is an incredible band of sisters that really spearheaded the (bin Laden) cell. So this is not, you know, just - you know it's a better story if you, you know, have an attractive woman as the lead character. Most of the people who briefed me on Osama bin Laden were women officers of the CIA. But Maya is a composite."

Hayden also said that he was happy the movie was made because it showed the difficulty in intelligence work and didn't make the case that interrogation didn't work.

"I'm glad it was made," he said. "On balance, I'm very happy that the story was

made." He added: "I think it does a masterful job at suggesting that in the real world, there are no right angles and there are no easy answers to very difficult situations. And that to me was a great service."