'The Afghanistan Papers' are being turned into a documentary and a scripted series

Marines with Regional Command (Southwest) (RC(SW)) exit a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter aboard Kandahar Airfield (KAF), Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2014

"The Afghanistan Papers," a confidential trove of interviews with top U.S. national security officials obtained by the Washington Post that showed a years-long effort to hide the truth about the war in Afghanistan, is getting the Hollywood treatment.

Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney will executive produce the joint venture between Gibney's Jigsaw Productions, Stephen Spielberg's Amblin Television, and the Post. In a press release, the Post said the companies would work together closely to develop "both an explosive limited documentary series and limited scripted series" based on At War With the Truth, the Post's six-part secret history of the war that was published in December.

The December investigative series was written by Post reporter Craig Whitlock and based on more than 2,000 pages of interviews with people who had a direct role in the war and spoke to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction for its "Lessons Learned" project. The documents were obtained by the Post after a three-year legal battle.

The interviews included damning quotes from a number of high-ranking officials, such as Douglas Lute, the former three-star Army general who served as the Afghan war czar under Presidents Bush and Obama: "We didn't know what we were doing. What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," said Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency advisor in 2013 and 2014. "Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable for reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone."

"Our policy was to create a strong central government which was idiotic because Afghanistan does not have a history of a strong central government. The timeframe for creating a strong central government is 100 years, which we didn't have," said an unidentified former State Department official.

As part of the deal, the Post will share its files, recordings, and research materials, and reporter Craig Whitlock will work closely with the filmmakers.

The Afghanistan project "is a vital story at a critical moment," Gibney told The Hollywood Reporter. "For once we will hear an honest, intimate account from insiders of the epic tale of the forever war. Politicians regale us with victory speeches while day by day, casualties mount and the battle for hearts and minds are lost. Why? Because no one bothered to wonder why we are there."

Gibney has been a director or producer on hundreds of projects, to include Zero Days, a documentary about the Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment facilities, Going Clear, which revealed shocking revelations about the Church of Scientology.

Army recruiters hold a swearing-in ceremony for over 40 of Arkansas' Future Soldiers at the Arkansas State Capital Building. (U.S. Army/Amber Osei)

Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.

"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.

Read More
In this June 16, 2018 photo, Taliban fighters greet residents in the Surkhroad district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.

Read More
A screen grab from a YouTube video shows Marines being arrested during formation at Camp Pendleton in July, 2019. (Screen capture)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.

Read More
A soldier reunites with his daughter at Fort Bragg, N.C. after returning from the Middle East. The 82nd Airborne Division's Immediate Response Force had been deployed since New Years Eve. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Army via Associated Press)

Some Fort Bragg paratroopers who left for the Middle East on a no-notice deployment last month came home Thursday.

About 3,500 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team were sent to Kuwait beginning Jan. 1 as tensions were rising in the region. The first soldiers were in the air within 18 hours of being told to go.

Read More
A developmental, early variant of the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) autonomously conducts maneuvers on the Elizabeth River during its demonstration during Citadel Shield-Solid Curtain 2020 at Naval Station Norfolk on Feb. 12, 2020. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rebekah M. Rinckey)

Large cargo ships, small fishing boats and other watercraft sail safely past Naval Station Norfolk every day, but there's always a possibility that terrorists could use any one of them to attack the world's largest naval base.

While Navy security keeps a close eye on every vessel that passes, there's an inherent risk for the sailors aboard small patrol boats who are tasked with helping keep aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers on base safe from waterborne attacks.

So the Navy experimented Wednesday to test whether an unmanned vessel could stop a small boat threatening the base from the Elizabeth River.

Read More