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'Zero Dark Thirty' director responds to criticism of torture scenes

'Zero Dark Thirty' director Kathryn Bigelow writes that torture was part of the real hunt for Osama bin Laden. Bigelow also writes that "depiction [of torture] is not endorsement."

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This film image released by Columbia Pictures shows a scene from "Zero Dark Thirty," directed by Kathryn Bigelow. The film has been criticized for its scenes of torture.

Sony-Columbia Pictures/AP

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Director Kathryn Bigelow defends torture scenes in her Oscar-nominated film "Zero Dark Thirty," saying torture was an undeniable part of the hunt for Osama bin Laden after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The film opens by declaring it's based on firsthand accounts of actual events.

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and other lawmakers criticized the film as misleading for suggesting torture led to the location of bin Laden. Lawmakers asked Sony Pictures to attach a disclaimer that the film is fictional.

"Experts disagree sharply on the facts and particulars of the intelligence hunt, and doubtlessly that debate will continue," Bigelow wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

The comments were Bigelow's most explicit reaction to the controversy so far.

"As for what I personally believe, which has been the subject of inquiries, accusations and speculation, I think Osama bin Laden was found due to ingenious detective work," she continued. "Torture was, however, as we all know, employed in the early years of the hunt. That doesn't mean it was the key to finding bin Laden. It means it is a part of the story we couldn't ignore."

"War, obviously, isn't pretty, and we were not interested in portraying this military action as free of moral consequences," she added.

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