Jerry Dantana was ACN’s DC bureau Senior Producer and served as Jim Harper’s replacement while Jim was in New Hampshire following the Romney Campaign.
When Jim Harper volunteered to replace an injured imbedded reporter on Mitt Romney's campaign bus in New Hampshire, MacKenzie McHale calls Jerry in Washington to ask if he can travel to New York to fill in for a few months while Jim was on the road.
Upon his arrival, Jerry immediately attempts to progress his agenda by pitching a story to Will and MacKenzie on U.S. drone strikes on American citizens. Will rebuts the legality of the issue by suggesting that American citizens don't have the right to switch sides in a conflict with an expectation that they won't be treated as an enemy combatant. Despite Sloan sharing Jerry's outrage over what they consider unlawful executions, Will doesn't budge.
When News Night later features a panel to discuss the legality, ethics, strategic value, and economics of drone strikes Jerry recommends retired Air Force Colonel Cyrus West to participate in the panel and argue in favor of drone strikes. West ultimately performs poorly on the air, and offers Jerry a story about a clandestine operation named "Genoa" carried out by a team of MARSOC units to rescue two Marines who had been captured by Taliban fighters in the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan, ostensibly to be turned over to al-Qaeda for propaganda.
Jerry takes the story to MacKenzie who scoffs at the proposition that U.S. forces used sarin gas to neutralize the enemy combatants, but allows Jerry to investigate the story further on a limited timeline.
He manages to track down Marine Gunnery Sergeant Eric Sweeney who was willing to meet with Jerry and MacKenzie to tell his part of the story. He confirms the the nature of the mission, and specifically, that they indeed use sarin on enemy combatants. After several weeks of further investigation that resulted in a dead end, MacKenzie pulled the plug on the story when a series of translated Tweets from a user named "Hamni8" came down the wire describing Genoa, convincing MacKenzie and Charlie of the story's veracity.
Jerry continued to accumulate evidence proving that Genoa occurred as he had been told, particularly testimony from a retired Marine General Stanislaus Stomtonovich, and a helicopter munitions manifest given to Charlie by Shep, a friend and source inside of the Office of Naval Intelligence.
Throughout the Red Team meetings, Jerry pushed ferociously for the story to be aired, accusing members of the newsroom of being illogical, irrational, and fetishizing the military.
Over the course of several months while he focused on Genoa, he exhibited a complete disregard for the consequences whether the story was true or false. When he noted that elected officials would have to resign over their involvement in Genoa, MacKenzie informs him that the consequences would be much higher and those same politicians would likely be imprisoned for violating the Geneva Conventions.
After three Red Team meetings, Will, Mackenzie, and Charlie green lit the story when Will reveals he was aware of such a story despite being deliberately held in the dark in order to join the final Red Team, and that he has a confidential source of his own who confirmed the story was true.
When the story finally aired, Stomtonovich immediately contacted the newsroom, outraged over the alleged distortion of his testimony. Charlie, Mackenzie, and Will all dismissed the General's remarks as simply having cold feet for having come forward on such a big story.
In the following days, follow-up reporting began to see the breakdown of the story, starting with a delayed press release from The Pentagon specifically decrying the story and outright denying the truthfulness of it's entirety, concerning the news team since Pentagon press releases are typically more vague when regarding true stories. A subsequent live interview between Elliot Hirsch and Eric Sweeney unexpectedly revealed that Sweeney had sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) when his Humvee was hit by an IED, immediately discrediting his account of Genoa.
The penultimate moment that sealed Genoa and Jerry's fate occurred when MacKenzie discovered that Jerry had deliberately edited the raw footage of his interview with Stomtonovich, compromising the integrity of the entire story. When confronted, Jerry admitted to editing the footage believing that the story happened regardless of the testimony that was given to him. Mackenzie fired Jerry on the spot.
After Genoa Edit
After retracting the story about Operation Genoa, ACN's attorney Rebecca Halliday was brought in to defend the news team against a wrongful termination lawsuit brought against them by Jerry, and specifically a civil suit against Don Keefer after Don gave a negative recommendation for Jerry to a potential employer, and defaming Jerry by calling him a "sociopath".
Behind the ScenesEdit
|"First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers"||"The Genoa Tip"||"Willie Pete"||"Unintended Consequences"||"News Night with Will McAvoy"|
|"One Step Too Many"||"Red Team III"||"Election Night, Part I"||"Election Night, Part II"|