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US senators slam film on bin Laden's capture

Three senior officials criticise "Zero Dark Thirty" for suggesting that US used torture in hunt for al-Qaeda leader.
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2012 03:04
The three senators say the tips that helped the US capture bin Laden were not obtained through torture [GALLO/GETTY]

Three US senators have written complaints to the head of Sony Pictures Entertainment, criticising a film based on the capture of Osama bin Laden for suggesting that torture was used to locate the late al-Qaeda leader. 

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin, and John McCain, told the president and CEO of Sony, Micael Lynton, on Wednesday that torture in the hunt for bin Laden was fiction and not based on fact.

The lawmakers say that the detainee who provided significant tips about the whereabouts of bin Laden did so without any harsh interrogation. 

"We are fans of many of your movies, and we understand the special role that movies play in our lives, but the fundamental problem is that people who see "Zero Dark Thirty" will believe that the events it portrays are facts," the three senators wrote.

McCain has insisted that the waterboarding of one of al-Qaeda's top leaders, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to the bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Last year, McCain asked then-CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he said the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed.

In fact, the name of bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country.

Feinstein, who heads the Intelligence committee, backed up McCain's assessment that waterboarding of Mohammed did not produce the tip that led to bin Laden.

Kathryn Bigelow, the film director of "Zero Dark Thirty", and the film's screenwriter Mark Boal said in a statement from Sony that they depicted "a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden".

Bigelow and Boal, who won Oscars for the film "The Hurt Locker", said the new film showed that no single method was responsible in the successful manhunt for bin Laden, and no single scene in isolation captures the total effort the
movie dramatises. 

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