The lie in “Zero Dark Thirty”

Zero Dark Thirty, the new film depicting the hunt for and killing of Osama bin Laden, depicts graphic images of torture and implies that the torture provided “actionable” intelligence.

However, three US Senators, Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain vehemently contend that this country use of (illegal) torture did not provide any aid in tracking down bin Laden. And they do so in a letter to Sony Pictures that made the film.

We understand that the film is fiction, but it opens with the words ‘based on first-hand accounts of actual events’ and there has been significant media coverage of the CIA’s cooperation with the screenwriters. As you know, the film graphically depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees and then credits these detainees with providing critical lead information on the courier that led to Osama bin Laden. Regardless of what message the filmmakers intended to convey, the movie clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier for Osama bin Laden. We have reviewed CIA records and know that this is incorrect. Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative.

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