Did CIA mislead makers of Zero Dark Thirty movie?

Jan 4, 2013

US Senate Intelligence Committee demands more information about CIA link to awards favourite

WITH just a week to go before the Golden Globes, the US Senate has vowed to find out if the film-makers of Zero Dark Thirty - nominated for four awards – were misled by the CIA.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and scripted by Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty charts the nine-year hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and ends with the successful raid on Bin Laden's compound in May 2011.

But it has been condemned by some critics for appearing to justify interrogation techniques such as waterboarding and giving the impression that they were helpful in the hunt for Bin Laden.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the US Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday questioned whether the CIA had misled Bigelow and Boal during the making of the film. In a letter to acting CIA director Michael Morell, three senators demanded more information about the contacts between the film-makers and the CIA.

Senate Intelligence Committee members Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and former presidential candidate John McCain expressed concern over the "clear implication" in the film that extreme interrogation techniques had played a key role in locating Bin Laden.

"Given the CIA's cooperation with the film-makers and the narrative's consistency with past public mis-statements by former senior CIA officials, the film-makers could have been misled by information they were provided by the CIA," says the letter.

The three US senators also wrote to the head of Sony Pictures Entertainment shortly before Christmas saying the film was "inaccurate".

Bigelow and Boal - who won Oscars in 2010 for The Hurt Locker - said last month the film depicted "a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods".

They added: "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 dramatises."

Zero Dark Thirty has been nominated for four Golden Globes, including best motion picture, best director, best screenplay and best actress for Jessica Chastain’s portrayal of CIA agent Maya. The winners will be announced on 13 January. It has also been tipped for the Academy Awards, nominations for which will be announced on 10 January.

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