Synopsis: Three National Security whistleblowers fight to reveal the darkest corners of America's war on terror, challenging a government that is increasingly determined to maintain secrecy.
Director(s): James Spione
  2 wins & 2 nominations.
102 min

-come on!

[ telephone rings ]

-in january of 2012,

the fbi called me at home

and said,

"can you come to the washington

field office thursday at 10:00?"

i said, "absolutely."

so, i went down to

the washington field office,

and they began

asking me questions.

well, i've spent my entire

adult life working with the fbi.

so, the fbi needs my help,

i'm happy to help.

it wasn't until i was about

an hour and 45 minutes

into this interview

that i realized,

"wait a minute.

they're investigating me."

-we need to be honest with you.

-and they said, "well,

we need to be honest with you.

we're executing

a search warrant on your house

right now as we speak,

and we're seizing

all of your electronics."

-what i experienced

as a whistle-blower

sends the most chilling

of messages

about what the government can,

and i will emphasize, will do

when one speaks truth

to and of power.

-there is information

that the public

in a functioning democracy

has a right to know.

-what does it do?

so, your whole body

rails against it?

-warrantless wire-tapping,

torture --

we only know about that

because of whistle-blowers.

[ thunder rumbles ]

-i knew i could not

remain silent.

if i remained silent,

i'd be complicit to the

subversion of the constitution.

if i remained silent

as a senior executive assigned

to the national security agency,

i would be an accessory

to a crime.


such people were forced

to choose

between their conscience

and their career,

but now the stakes

are much higher --

they risk their freedom

and their lives.

-i did not commit a crime.

i'm going to trial,

and i'm gonna

prove myself innocent.

i'm not the pushover

that these guys think i am.

i'm as tough as they are,

and i'm gonna fight.

[ "twinkle, twinkle, little

star" playing on piano ]

-no, i'm sorry.

they're all metals.

john, did you get her?



-where's max?

-he's sleeping.


-sorry to wake you up,

but it's dinner time.


-bless us, oh, lord,

and these thy gifts,

which we are about to receive

from thy bounty.

through christ our lord, amen.

-father, son, holy spirt.


-in my heart,

i believe i'm gonna win.

my wife tells me

every time i start to feel

a little depressed,

"you have the truth

on your side."

[ laughs ]

and she's right.

i haven't done anything wrong.

-his name is john kiriakou,

a cia undercover officer

for 15 years.

-did you feel comfortable

with the techniques?

-uh, frankly, no.

and i elected to, uh,

to forego the training.

-i was the first cia officer,

or former cia officer,

to confirm

the use of torture techniques

against al qaeda prisoners.

-what is it like?

-uh, you feel like

you're choking or drowning.

it was already in the news.

the washington post,

for example,

had reported that the cia

had used torture techniques,

and human rights watch

had reported it

and amnesty international

had reported it.

so, in the back of my mind,

i didn't think

i was saying anything new.

-would you call it torture?


i had never been

on television in my life.

i truly expected this to be

a 10-minute interview

that they whittle down

to 15 seconds.

instead, he asked me about

abu zubaydah and about torture.

and i think that waterboarding

is probably something

that we shouldn't be

in the business of doing.

-why do you say that now?

-because we're americans,

and we're better than that.

-that interview became

a major international story.

i ended up getting calls

from every network in america.

the cia filed

a crimes report against me,

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James Spione

James Michael Spione is an American director, producer, writer and editor of both documentary and fiction films. Early on in his career, he developed a reputation for suspenseful dramatic shorts; his later career, however, has been marked by a new focus on short and feature-length documentaries for both theatrical release and public television broadcast.His film, Incident in New Baghdad, was nominated in the Documentary Short Subject category of the 84th Academy Awards. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Silenced" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 12 Aug. 2020. <>.

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