Senate to investigate CIA contacts with Zero Dark Thirty creators
Angered by the portrayal of interrogation techniques in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, the Senate Intelligence Committee has launched an investigation to determine if the CIA gave filmmakers inappropriate access to information about the bin Laden raid.
The movie, which chronicles the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, has come under intense criticism from Washington. The CIA denounced the film, calling the interrogation scenes “a dramatization, not a realistic portrayal of facts.” Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) also complained about the film’s “grossly inaccurate and misleading” torture scenes.Critics claim that the film falsely depicts the CIA’s use of torture methods as an effective technique in capturing terrorist leaders. But Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal claim that the movie accurately portrays the events based on information they received from the CIA, putting the agency in an uncomfortable position.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by Feinstein, is now launching an investigation to determine whether or not the film’s director and screenwriter were granted “inappropriate” access to classified information by the CIA.The committee is also trying to determine if the CIA was responsible for the film’s depiction of torture as a key method in the capture of bin Laden, which it claims is false information.
The government has so far been cautious about its discussion of interrogation methods in its war against terror, claiming that torture methods were reduced in 2004 and banned after President Obama took office. The CIA was not always opposed to torturous interrogation techniques, but now claims to be disturbed by the film’s portrayal of such methods and denies their implementation.“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,” the senators wrote last month in a letter to Sony CEO Michael Lynton.
If the senators discover that CIA officials leaked classified information to the filmmakers, they are likely to face significant consequences. John Kiriakou, an ex-CIA officer who was involved in the capture of bin Laden, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison earlier this year for revealing the identity of one of the agency’s covert operatives to a reporter. He was originally facing up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.If Feinstein’s committee finds the source of the suspected information leak for the film, CIA officials could be facing consequences that are perhaps much more dire than those faced by Kiriakou.‘Zero Dark Thirty’ has already been released in Los Angeles in New York, but will play at theaters nationwide starting Jan. 11, allowing US residents to come to their own conclusions about the truth of the narrative.