’48 Hours Presents’ the Broadcast Network Premiere of ‘The Spymasters — CIA in the Crosshairs’

May 19, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Press release from CBS, May 17, 2016:

What are the rules in the war on terror for America’s spymasters? Will the next president bring back waterboarding as an “enhanced interrogation technique?”

The broadcast network premiere of 48 HOURS PRESENTS: “The Spymasters – CIA in the Crosshairs” raises those questions and more as it takes viewers inside the inner workings of the CIA through the eyes of all 12 living directors of the agency. The directors talk openly about tough calls they’ve had to make, the controversies they have faced and what it takes to be a master spy.

“I found that I was making decisions on life and death as a director,” former CIA Director Leon Panetta says in “The Spymasters – CIA in the Crosshairs,” to be broadcast Saturday, May 21 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.”And those decisions are never easy, and, frankly, shouldn’t be easy.”

In emotional, no-holds, barred interviews, the directors and their top operatives open up about the role of the agency, the impact being inside has had on their lives, their failures and successes, and their own internal battles and heart-wrenching moments over what’s right and wrong in protecting America’s citizens.

Their introspective and revealing interviews come at a time when issues of national security are at the forefront of the ongoing race for the White House. Indeed, Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he would “bring back waterboarding” and “I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse.”

“If some future president is going to decide to waterboard, he better bring his own bucket because he’s going to have to do it himself,” says former director Michael Hayden. “The agency is not going to do this again.”

Narrated by “HOMELAND’s” Mandy Patinkin, “The Spymasters” focuses on the CIA during one of the most controversial periods in its history, marked by the use of enhanced interrogation, secret prisons, drone warfare and even alleged assassination. The documentary raises key questions such as how far should America go to prevent another terrorist attack? What is fair game in an unfair fight? And has the agency focused too much on lethal paramilitary action at the expense of gathering intelligence.

“The Spymasters” also gets inside the events leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

“I don’t think you can go through that kind of experience, of having to make life and death decisions. Having to every day, read intelligence about all of the evil that’s out there in the world and those who want to strike at us, and not have it affect you,” Panetta says.

The directors also look to the future and what the CIA, and the country, face in terms of fighting terrorism.

“You can’t kill your way out of this,” says George Tenet. “That’s a mistake. It’s much more complicated.”

The directors featured are President George H. W. Bush, Stansfield Turner, William Webster, Robert Gates, James Woolsey, John Deutch, George Tenet, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta, David Petraeus and John Brennan. In addition, the documentary features interviews with Michael Morell, two-time acting director and CBS News Senior Security contributor; John McLaughlin, acting director; Chiefs of the Counter Terrorism Center, Cofer Black and Jose Rodriguez; and Gina Bennett, CIA Senior Counter Terrorism Analyst.

“The Spymasters” was originally presented on SHOWTIME(R) in the fall where it received overwhelming critical acclaim. This broadcast is updated to include recent events.

48 HOURS PRESENTS: “The Spymasters – CIA in the Crosshairs” is written by Chris Whipple (“The Presidents’ Gatekeepers”) and directed by Gédéon Naudet and Jules Naudet (the Emmy(R), Peabody and DuPont award-winning “9/11”). Al Briganti is the co-executive editor. Mead Stone is the creative director and senior producer-editor. Jamie Stolz is the senior broadcast producer. Jason Schmidt and Gary Winter are the producer-editors. Susan Zirinsky, Gédéon Naudet, Jules Naudet, Chris Whipple and David Hume Kennerly are the executive producers.

Executive producer Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer of the award-winning crime and justice series 48 HOURS. In addition to her work at 48 HOURS, Zirinsky serves as the senior executive producer for breaking news specials, such as those done in the aftermath of the Aurora, Colo. theater shootings, the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the Boston Marathon bombings. Among her many prime-time credits is the award-winning broadcast “9/11,” the 2013 short-run series “Brooklyn DA” and the 2015 special “David Letterman: A Life on Television.” Zirinsky’s work has earned virtually every major journalism honor including multiple Emmy Awards, a George Foster Peabody award, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence, the Christopher Award, The Writers Guild of America award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award. And in 2013, she was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards.

Writer and executive producer Chris Whipple is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, writer, journalist and speaker. A multiple Peabody and Emmy Award-winning producer at 60 MINUTES and ABC News “PrimeTime,” he is the Chief Executive Officer of CCWHIP Productions. Whipple’s previous film, “The Presidents’ Gatekeepers,” a documentary on the modern White House chiefs of staff, aired to critical acclaim on the Discovery Channel in 2013. Whipple is writing a book about how the chiefs of staff determine the fate of every presidency. He was educated at Deerfield Academy and received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in history from Yale College. He lives in New York City with his wife, Cary, and son, Sam.

Jules and Gedeon Naudet, brothers and acclaimed filmmakers, are the film’s co-directors and executive producers. The Naudet brothers shot, produced and directed the iconic CBS documentary “9/11,” which has been compared, for its historical significance, to the Zapruder film of JFK’s assassination.”9/11″ won every honor in television, including Emmy, Peabody and duPont awards. Jules and Gedeon produced and directed the CBS documentary special “In God’s Name,” an extraordinary, intimate look at the lives of the world’s 12 great religious leaders. Most recently, the Naudets produced and directed the Discovery Channel’s four-hour series “The Presidents’ Gatekeepers,” a riveting account of five decades of presidential history seen through the eyes of all twenty living White House chiefs of staff.

Executive producer David Hume Kennerly won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for his photos of the Vietnam War and then served as President Gerald R. Ford’s personal photographer. He was named, “One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography” by American Photo Magazine. In 2015, Kennerly gave the commencement address at Lake Erie College and was awarded an honorary PhD. This year he also received the Lucie Award honoring the greatest achievement in photography in photojournalism. Kennerly was a contributing editor for Newsweek and a contributing photographer for Time and Life magazines. Kennerly has published several books of his work: “Shooter,” “Photo Op,” “Seinoff: The Final Days of Seinfeld,” “Photo du Jour,” “Extraordinary Circumstances: The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford,” and most recently, “David Hume Kennerly On the iPhone.” In 2009, he was a producer and principal photographer of “Barack Obama: The Official Inaugural Book.” Kennerly received a Primetime Emmy Best Picture nomination as executive producer of NBC’s “The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story.” He was executive producer and co-writer of “Shooter,” for NBC starring Helen Hunt, a movie that won the Emmy for Best Cinematography. He was producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries, “The Presidents’ Gatekeepers.”


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