Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. is a 31-year veteran of the CIA. He is the author of “Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives,” written with former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, who also contributed to this essay.
It is an odd experience to enter a darkened room and, for more than 21/2 hours, watch someone tell a story that you experienced intimately in your own life. But that is what happened recently as I sat in a movie theater near Times Square and watched “Zero Dark Thirty,” the new Hollywood blockbuster about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
When I was head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center from 2002 to 2004 and then director of the National Clandestine Service until late 2007, the campaign against al-Qaeda was my life and obsession.
I must say, I agree with both the film critics who love “Zero Dark Thirty” as entertainment and the administration officials and prominent senators who hate the movie for the message it sends — although my reasons are entirely opposite theirs.