22 December 2012

How Accurate is 'Zero Dark Thirty'?

We all know of the "Hollywood effect" where movies don't quite reflect reality, but the CIA is challenging the 'accuracy' of Zero Dark Thirty, especially the parts about interrogations.

The CIA joined on Friday the chorus of those challenging the accuracy of a new movie on the Osama bin Laden raid that suggests that harsh interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists helped the agency find the man considered behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

In an unusual move, the acting director of the CIA , Michael Morell, issued a statement to employees on Friday that emphasized that "Zero Dark Thirty" is not a historically accurate film.

Of particular concern are the harrowing scenes at the beginning of the movie that depict a suspected terrorist being interrogated at a secret CIA prison overseas with waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. The suggestion in the movie is that those coercive techniques aided in identifying the courier who eventually led to the compound in Pakistan where bin Laden was living.

Morell acknowledged that the interrogations played a role but said that they were not as important as the movie implied. "That impression is false," Morell said. There were multiple streams of intelligence, according to Morell. "Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well."

Morell also criticized the film for implying that just a few individuals were responsible for the successful operation when in fact hundreds were involved. He also took exception to the "liberties" the filmmakers took in depicting CIA officers, especially ones who had died. "We cannot allow a Hollywood film to cloud our memory of them," he said.

By: Brant

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