Zero Dark Thirty

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A lot of my friends have died trying to do this. I believe I was spared so I could finish the job.

Zero Dark Thirty is a 2012 film that chronicles the United States CIA's 10 year manhunt for, and subsequent killing of, Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan by Navy SEALs from the elite United States Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU).

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal.
The greatest manhunt in history.Taglines
Quite frankly, I didn't even want to use you guys…


We did find this compound, which is unique. We got a sixteen foot wall around the entire perimeter, the windows are blacked out. It's a fortress.
I'm the motherfucker who found this place, sir.
They're using you guys as canaries, on the theory that if bin Laden isn't there, you can sneak away and no one will be the wiser. But, bin Laden is there, and you're going to kill him for me.
  • I'm going to smoke everyone involved in this op and then I'm going to kill Osama bin Laden.
  • Move heaven and earth and bring me this fucking Sayeed Family's phone number.
  • You can't run a global network of interconnected cells from a cave.
  • Quite frankly, I didn't even want to use you guys, with your dip and your Velcro and all your gear bullshit.


  • Can I be honest with you? I am bad fucking news. I'm not your friend. I'm not gonna help you. I'm gonna break you. Any questions?
    • To Abu Faraj al-Libbi
  • You know, I think I've seen too many guys naked. It's got to be over a fucking hundred at this point. I need to go and do something normal for a while.
  • How about a V10 Lamborghini. How's that for friendship?
  • It's cool, that you're strong and I respect it, I do. But in the end, everybody breaks, bro. It's biology.
  • You don't mind if my female colleague checks out your junk?
  • Where's the last time you saw bin Laden?


  • I want to make something absolutely clear. If you thought there was some secret cell somewhere working al-Qaeda, I want you to know that you are wrong! This is it. There's no working group coming to the rescue. There's nobody else hidden away on some other floor. This is just us. And we are FAILING. We're spending billions of dollars. People are dying. We're still no closer to defeating our enemy. They attacked us on land in '98, by sea in 2000, and from the air in 2001. They murdered three thousand of our citizens in cold blood, they've slaughtered our forward deployed. And what the fuck have we done about it? What have we done? We have twenty leadership names and we've only eliminated four of them. I want targets! Do your fucking jobs! Bring me people to kill!


Dan: Right now, this is about you coming to terms with your situation. It's you and me, bro. I want you to understand that I know you, that I've been studying you for a very long time. I could have had you killed in Karachi. But I let you live so you can I could talk.
Ammar: You beat me when my hands are tied. I won't talk to you.
Dan: Life isn't always fair, my friend. Did you really think that when we got you, I'd be a nice fucking guy?
Ammar: You're a mid-level guy. You're a garbage man in a corporation. Why should I respect you?
Dan: And you're a money man. A paperboy! A disgrace to humanity! You and your uncle murdered three thousand innocent people. I have your name on a five-thousand dollar transfer via Western Union to a 9/11 hijacker; and you got popped with 150 kilograms of high explosives in your house! And then you DARE question me?!

Jessica: A farmer on the Afghan border near Tora Bora reports a diamond shaped pattern in the hills, tall male in the center of the diamond, flanked by four guards. It's consistent with UBL's movements.
Jeremy: That's supposed to be his Royal Guard?
Maya: That's pre-9/11 behavior.
Jessica: [irritated] We don't have any reason to believe he's changed security tactics.
Maya: We invaded Afghanistan. That's a reason.

Maya: [to Ammar, referencing the 2004 Khboar massacre] After we kept you awake for 96 hours, you gave us names of some of your brothers and saved the lives of a lot of innocent people.
Dan: Which is the smart thing to do, you're starting to think for yourself. Eat up! You earned it!
Dan: So you flew via Amman to Kabul to hang out with your uncle? Mukhtar.
Amar: How did you know that?
Dan: I told you man, I know you. Alright, you got me - flight manifests. It must've been pretty fucked up for you guys after 9/11. What did you do after the invasion and before you went back to Pesh?
Ammar: After 9/11 we had to choose: fight, to protect our turf - or run.
Dan: You chose to fight.
Ammar: I wanted to kill Americans. We tried to get into Tora Bora, but the bombing was too high. We couldn't cross.
Maya: Sorry, who is the "we" in that sentence?
Ammar: Me and some guys who were hanging around at that time.
Dan: [casually, but annoyed] I can go eat with some other dude and hang you back up to the ceiling.
Ammar: Hamza Rabia, Khabab al-Masri, and Abu Ahmed.
Maya: Who's Abu Ahmed? I've heard of the other guys.
Ammar: He was a computer guy with us at the time. After Tora Bora, I went back to Pesh - as you know - and he went North, I think, to Kunar.
Maya: What's his family name?
Ammar: Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti
Maya: Abu Ahmed means 'father of Ahmed," it's a kunya. Ammar, I know the difference between a war name and an Arabic name.
Dan: She got you there, dude.
Ammar: I swear to you both: I don't know his family name. I would have never asked him something like that. It's not how my uncle worked. My uncle told me he worked for bin Laden. I did see him, once, about a year ago, in Karachi. He read us all a letter from the Sheikh.
Maya: A letter?
Dan: What did it say?
Ammar: It said: "Continue the jihad. The work will go on for a hundred years."

Maya: Twenty detainees recognize that photo of Abu Ahmed. They say he's part of the inner circle of guys who were hanging out in Afghanistan pre-9/11. A lot of them say that after 9/11, he went to work for KSM. When KSM got captured, he went to work for Abu Faraj, primarily as a courier from Faraj to bin Laden.
Joseph Bradley: Well, that's good. You still don't...
Maya: [cutting him off] Yeah, we don't know if Abu is on the outside of the network — part of a series of cutouts and dead drops — or if he has a direct connection to bin Laden. Does bin Laden invite him into the living room and hand him a letter directly? Or is Abu just the last guy in a long line of couriers, so that's why everybody knows him?
Joseph Bradley: That's not all you don't know. You don't have his true name, and you don't have a clue where he is.
Maya: We know that he's important. The fact that everybody's heard of Abu Ahmed but nobody will tell me where he is suggests that.
Joseph Bradley: Maybe. Detainees could withhold his location for any number of reasons. Perhaps they don't know; perhaps this Abu is just a cover story and he's really a fucking unicorn. The withholding doesn't reveal what you want it to, does it?
Maya: No.
Joseph Bradley: And if you did find him, you don't know that he'd be with bin Laden.
Dan: We don't know what we don't know.
Joseph Bradley: What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
Dan: It's a tautology.

Maya: [to Hassan Ghul] I want you to understand that I know you. I have been following you for a long time. I chased you in Lahore. I had you picked up instead of killing you because you're not a violent man and you don't deserve to die.
Hassan Ghul: Thank you.
Maya: But you do have deep ties to al-Qaeda that I want to ask you about before you get sent to your next location, which might be Israel. However, depending on how candid you are today, I may be able to keep you in Pakistan.
Hassan Ghul: What do you want to know?
Maya: I'm going to ask you a series of questions based on your knowledge of al-Qaeda and your position as key financier for the organization.
Hassan Ghul: I have dealt with the Mukhabarat, I have no wish to be tortured again. Ask me a question, I can answer it.
Maya: What can you tell me about Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.
Hassan Ghul: He works for Zawahiri. He's in charge of military tactics.
Maya: In what context have you heard the name Abu Ahmed?
Hassan Ghul: He works for Faraj and bin Laden. He is his most trusted courier.
Maya: What makes you say that?
Hassan Ghul: He brought me many messages from the Sheikh.
Maya: Where did you last see him, and where is he now?
Hassan Ghul: You will never find him.
Maya: Why is that?
Hassan Ghul: Even I couldn't find him. He always contacted me out of the blue. He is one of the disappeared ones.

Larry: This guy you're obsessed with, what's his name again?
Maya: Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti is the nom de guerre. His true name, we think, is Ibraheem Sayeed. His family lives in Kuwait.
Larry: Wasn't it, like, eight brothers and a million cousins that we know about? Anyone could be calling home. It's not like he's saying "Hey mom, it's me, the terrorist."
Maya: Over the course of two months he's called home from six different pay phones, from two different cities, never using the same phone twice. And when his mother asked him where he was, he lied. He said that he was in a place in the country with bad cell reception - implying he was in the Tribals - but he was in Peshawar. I'm sorry, but that's not normal guy behavior. That's tradecraft.
Larry: Maybe he just doesn't like his mom? Look, if he talks about an operation, or refers to anything remotely fishy, I'll get on him, okay?
Maya: No. Not okay. Look, Abu Ahmed is too smart to tip his hand by talking about ops on the phone: he works for bin Laden. The guys that talk about ops on the phone don't get that job. A lot of my friends have died trying to do this. I believe I was spared so I could finish the job.

Steve: [in CIA conference room, where he and Maya are about to meet with the CIA Director and his Deputies] They're gonna ask: "If bin Laden is at the end of this rainbow, is the Pak military with him?
Maya: The question isn't "Are the Paks protecting bin Laden?" The question is "Would he allow himself to be protected by the Paks?" I mean, why would he trust them? He tried to kill Musharaf. [CIA Director and his Deputies walk in]
CIA Director: Go ahead.
Steve: [gesturing over a map of Pakistan] If you take a right out of Islamabad and drive about forty-five minutes north, you'll find yourself here, in Abbottabad. A middle class community, some ex-military, not particularly interesting to us. Except we did find this compound, which is unique. We got a sixteen foot wall around the entire perimeter, the windows are blacked out. It's a fortress.
CIA Director: Can't you put a camera somewhere, in the trees, to get a look into the main house?
George: It will probably be discovered.
CIA Director: We have to get a look into the house. Alright, what's this? This cluster of buildings down here?
George: The PMA — the Pakistan Military Academy. It's their West Point.
CIA Director: And how close is that to the house?
George: About a mile.
Maya: 4,221 feet. It's close to eight-tenths of a mile.
CIA Director: Who are you?
Maya: I'm the motherfucker who found this place, sir.
CIA Director: [pause] Really. [pause] I want to know more about who's inside this house by the end of the week. [CIA Director and his Deputies leave, leaving only Maya and Steve in the room]
Steve: [sarcastically] "Motherfucker?" Good.

Maya: I really need to talk to you about beefing up our surveillance operation on the caller.
Joseph: We don't have a surveillance operation on the caller. Someone just tried to blow up Times Square and you're talking about some facilitator that some detainee said seven years ago might be working with al-Qaeda?
Maya: He's the key to bin Laden.
Joseph: I don't fucking care about bin Laden. I care about the next attack. You're gonna start working on the American al-Qaeda cells. Protect the homeland.
Maya: Bin Laden is the one who keeps telling them to attack the homeland. If it wasn't for him, al-Qaeda would still be focused on overseas targets. If you really want to protect the homeland, you need to get bin Laden.
Joseph: This guy never met bin Laden. This guy's a freelancer working on the fucking Internet. Nobody's even talk to bin Laden in four years. He's out of the game. He may well even be dead. He might as well be fucking dead, but you know what you're doing. You're chasing a ghost while the whole fucking network grows all around you.
Maya: You just want me to nail some low-level Mullah-crack-a-dulla so you can check the box on your resume that says while you were in Pakistan you got a real terrorist. BUT THE TRUTH IS YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND PAKISTAN & YOU DON'T KNOW AL-QAEDA! Either give me the team I NEED to follow this lead or the other thing you're gonna have on your resume is being the first station chief to be called before a Congressional Committee FOR SUBVERTING THE EFFORTS TO CAPTURE OR KILL Bin Laden.
Joseph: [pause] You're fucking out of your mind.
Maya: I need 4 techs and safe house in Rawalpindi and 4 techs and safe house in Peshawar. Either send them out, or send me back to D.C and explain to the director why you didn't.

General: [about stealth helicopters] I actually tried to kill this program a couple of times. They've gone through an initial round of testing, and they have excellent radar defeat - we just haven't tested them with people in them yet. You'll notice these stealth panels, similar to what we use on the B2. The rotors have been muffled with decibel killers. It's slower than a Black Hawk and lacks the offense. But it can hide.
Justin: Excuse me. Can I ask a question? What do we need this for in Libya? Gaddafi's anti-air is virtually non-existent.
George: Gentlemen, can I have your attention? My name is George, I run the Af-Pak division at CTC, and I'm primary on this for the Agency. This is a title fifty operation. Some of us have worked together before. This is a good one. Maya, do you want to brief them?
Maya: There are two narratives about the location of Osama bin Laden. The one that you're most familiar with is that UBL is hiding in a cave in the Tribal Areas, that he's surrounded by a large contingent of loyal fighters. But that narrative is pre-9/11 understanding of UBL. The second narrative is that he's living in a city. Living in a city with multiple points of egress and entry, and with access to communications so that he can keep in touch with the organization. You can't run a global network of interconnected cells from a cave. We have located an individual we believed, based on detainee reporting, is bin Laden's courier. He's living in a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. And we assess that one of the other occupants of the house is UBL.
[several SEALs look skeptical]
Justin: Excuse me. You got an intel source on the ground?
Maya: No.
Justin: No? Okay, so how do you know it's bin Laden? Cause the truth is, we've been on this op before, it was '07, and it wasn't bin Laden, and we lost a couple of guys.
Maya: Totally understand, Bin Laden uses a courier to interact with the outside world. By locating the courier, we've located bin Laden.
Patrick: That's really the intel? That's it?
Maya: Quite frankly, I didn't even want to use you guys, with your dip and your velcro and all your gear bullshit. I wanted to drop a bomb. But people didn't believe in this lead enough to drop a bomb, so they're using you guys as canaries, on the theory that if bin Laden isn't there, you can sneak away and no one will be the wiser. But bin Laden is there, and you're going to kill him for me.

[In a CIA Conference room with CIA Director, his deputies (including George, Dan, the Wolf, Steve) and Maya]
CIA Director: I'm about to go look the President in the eye, and what I'd like to know, no fucking bullshit, is where everyone stands on this thing. Now, very simply, is he there, or is he not fucking there?
Deputy Director: We all come at this through the filter of our own past experiences. I remember "Iraq WMD" very clearly, I fronted that, and I can tell you the case for that was much stronger than this case.
CIA Director: A fuckin' yes or a no.
Deputy Director: We don't deal in certainty, we deal in probability. I'd say there's a sixty percent probability he's there.
The Wolf: I concur. Sixty percent.
George: I'm at eighty percent. Their OPSEC is what convinces me.
CIA Director: You guys ever agree on anything?
Dan: Well, I agree with sixty, we're basing this mostly on detainee reporting and I spent a bunch of time in those rooms. Who knows? I'd say it's a soft sixty, sir. I'm virtually certain there's some high value target there, I'm just not sure it's bin Laden.
CIA Director: This is a cluster-fuck, isn't it?
Jeremy: I'd like to know what Maya thinks...
Deputy Director: We're all incorporating her assessment into ours...
Maya: [interrupting] A hundred percent he's there. Okay, fine, ninety-five percent because I know how certainty freaks you guys out, but it's a hundred.

Justin: So Patrick, be honest with me. You really believe this story? I mean, [to Maya] no offense, no offense, I don't. [to Patrick] But... Osama bin Laden?
Patrick: Yeah.
Justin: What part convinced you?
Patrick: [motions toward Maya] Her confidence.
Justin: That's the kind of concrete data point I'm looking for. I'll tell you buddy, if her confidence is the one thing that's keeping me from getting ass-raped in a Pakistani prison I'm gonna be honest with you, bro. [smirks] I'm cool with it.


  • The greatest manhunt in history.


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