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Zero Dark Thirty Waterboarding Under Fire
Zero Dark Thirty has come under fire for suggesting the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques helped the US track down Osama bin Laden.
The film, which was made by Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow and stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent, charts the hunt for bin Laden and the raid on his compound by US Navy Seals.
It shows Al Qaeda's No 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, being subjected to waterboarding, a controversial interrogation technique that creates a near-drowning experience.
John McCain, a senior Republican Senator and former US Navy pilot who spent five years in captivity during the Vietnam War, was given a copy of the movie.
He insisted Mohammed was not the one who provided the information that led the Seals to bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan.
Last year, Mr McCain asked then-CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he said the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed.
In fact, the name of bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, came from a detainee who was being held in another country.
"Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information," Mr McCain told the Senate.
Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, backed up Mr McCain's assessment that the waterboarding of Mohammed did not produce the crucial tip-off.
Mr McCain, who was tortured during his own captivity in North Vietnam, opposes waterboarding and any form of torture tactics.
He said they could be used against Americans, and their use damages the nation's character and reputation.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon's top intelligence official, who could become the next CIA director, is under investigation for giving information about the raid to Bigelow and Zero Dark Thirty writer Mark Boal.
Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defence for intelligence, is being investigated by the Pentagon's inspector general.
But a spokesman said he only provided unclassified information to the makers of the movie, and the meeting had been arranged by the Pentagon's office of public affairs.
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