Three US senators have written a letter to Sony Pictures’ boss Michael Lynton regarding the torture scene in Zero Dark Thirty, which hit select theaters Wednesday.
In the letter, obtained by Deadline, John McCain, Dianne Feinstein, and Carl Levin called the film “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.”
The senators continued, “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 Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative.”
The letter then detailed the ways in which the film was incorrect, saying that the CIA didn’t learn about the bin Laden courier from “detainees subject to coercive interrogation techniques.” The CIA learned the information “through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.”
Sony referred to a statement by screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow released last week. The statement read in part:
“We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden. 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.”
Bigelow, Boal, and actress Jessica Chastain have all come to the film’s defense in the days and weeks leading up to its release. Bigelow said she wished the waterboarding torture that took place “was not part of our history, but it was.” Boal said he hoped that people would be able to watch the film without any preconceptions that it is “pro-torture.”
The letter ended with a plea that Sony correct “the impression that the CIA’s use of coercive interrogation techniques led to the operation against Usama Bin Laden.” Considering the film has already been released, it is too late for Lynton, Bigelow, and all involved with the project to make any changes, and they all seem to be staunchly standing behind the depiction of the torture scenes.
Do you think Sony, et al, are obligated to correct how they depicted the gathering of intelligence leading to Osama bin Laden’s death?