WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Several top U.S. senators chided Sony Pictures on Wednesday, saying new film “Zero Dark Thirty” is “grossly inaccurate and misleading” for suggesting torture helped the United States capture Osama bin Laden.
The senators, including Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, said intelligence records released in April clearly show that information obtained through torture did not help the CIA find bin Laden. They urged Sony to inform viewers of this fact.
“The film ... has the potential to shape American public opinion in a disturbing and misleading manner,” the senators wrote in a letter to Sony.
“Zero Dark Thirty,” which opened in theaters on Wednesday, includes a scene showing a suspect being waterboarded, and appears to credit torture as helping the CIA to locate and kill bin Laden. The movie reignited debate over whether the U.S. government engaged in torture.
“The use of torture in the fight against terrorism did severe damage to America’s values and standing that cannot be justified or expunged,” the senators wrote in the letter. “It remains a stain on our national conscience.”
Feinstein is the chairman of the committee that last week approved a report detailing the CIA’s detention and interrogation program under former President George W. Bush.
Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was tortured when he was held prisoner during the Vietnam War, and Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is head of the Senate Armed Service Committee, also signed the letter.