Sometimes the hardest thing to do, is the right thing to do. In 2014, Senator John McCain worked with his Senate colleagues – Republicans and Democrats – to make sure the American people knew the truth behind the CIA’s “torture report.” Senator McCain took to the Senate floor that day to explain why he was doing the hard – but right – thing in working to make sure the American public knew the truth. It is our right to know.

This month, the new movie “The Report,” starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening and Jon Hamm, is in theaters and on Amazon Prime. The McCain Institute is proud to work with Amazon Studios on “The Report” because truth matters. It mattered to Senator McCain, and it matters to all Americans.

The film tells about the leadership of lead investigator Daniel Jones and Senator Dianne Feinstein and how they worked tirelessly to unearth the truth about government’s torture program. They weren’t alone in their efforts, as it took many, including Senator McCain, to expose the truth. Throughout his life, Senator McCain condemned the use of torture and how it produces flawed, broken-down intelligence.

“The Report” reminds us that the conversation about the use of torture isn’t over, and our leaders need to be reminded to stand up for our American values at home and abroad. The United States is better than our adversaries and that needs to be reflected in our actions and words. As Senator McCain said in his 2014 Senate floor speech, “It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world. Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.”

The McCain Institute and its chairwoman, Cindy McCain, hosted a screening of “The Report” in Phoenix, Ariz., on October 30. We were honored to have Scott Burns and Daniel Jones discuss the film with the McCain Institute’s Ambassador Clint Williamson. In her opening remarks, Cindy McCain said, “As you know, my husband was ardently opposed to the use of torture by the United States. While many leaders defended and made excuses as to why it was necessary to use banned torture methods in the aftermath of 9/11, my husband, a victim of torture, challenged those leaders on their choices. He had the utmost respect for our CIA and intelligence officials, there was no doubt about that, but when it came to the use of torture, he knew all too well why they were wrong.”

Additionally, the Institute partnered with Amazon Studios and Human Rights First for the Washington, DC, premiere on November 5. More than 400 people attended the premiere, and we hope millions more watch the film.


About the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University

Inspired by the leadership of Senator John McCain and his family’s legacy of public service, the McCain Institute implements programs and initiatives aimed at making a difference in people’s lives across a range of critical areas: leadership development, human rights, rule of law, national security, counterterrorism and combatting human trafficking.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute is proudly part of ASU, the largest public university in America–  ranked #1 in innovation for five years running.


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