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CIA: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ not a realistic portrayal of hunt for Osama bin Laden

The CIA says scenes of torture in the new film 'Zero Dark Thirty' are not an accurate portrayal of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. This follows similar criticism from three senior US senators who say the film is 'grossly inaccurate and misleading'.

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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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In an unusual letter to CIA employees, the agency’s acting director Michael Morrell says the controversial Hollywood film “Zero Dark Thirty” takes “significant artistic license” with the years-long hunt that led to Navy SEALs killing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and is “not a realistic portrayal of the facts.”

It’s not the first official complaint about the movie.

Earlier in the week, three senior US senators – Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, fellow Democrat Carl Levin, and Republican John McCain – sent a letter to Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in which they expressed their “deep disappointment” with the film for its “grossly inaccurate and misleading … suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Osama bin Laden.”

“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,” the senators wrote. “We have reviewed CIA records and know that this is incorrect.”

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