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Senate to Probe 'Zero Dark Thirty' Filmmakers Access to Sensitive Information

Thursday, 03 Jan 2013 03:48 PM

The Senate Intelligence Committee has initiated a review of contacts between the CIA and the makers of “Zero Dark Thirty,” an intense dramatization of the search for and eventual killing of Osama bin Laden.

The probe will specifically look at whether access to secret information was inappropriate and if the portrayal of torture as a successful means of interrogation was based on reality or the film’s writers simply wrote it that way, according to Reuters.

Documents released to the media last year show that “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal had access to top CIA and Pentagon official information, all with approval from Leon Panetta. During the time of the briefings, Panetta was director of the CIA before taking over as secretary of defense.

Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., co-signed a letter to the CEO of Sony Pictures condemning the use of extreme torture in the movie that leads to key intelligence in the search for bin Laden.

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"[The film is] grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information,” the senators wrote, continuing that the film "clearly implies that the CIA's coercive interrogation techniques were effective."

The senators added that, based on their own examination of the records regarding the search for and killing of the former al-Qaeda leader, the film is not accurate in its portrayal.

"We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden,” Bigelow and Boal said in a statement. "The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes."

The intelligence committee as of yet has not directly contacted either the director or writer about the film for its investigation.

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