December 17, 2012
By Steven Zeitchik and Ken Dilanian
Did the torture of detainees lead the U.S. to Osama bin Laden?
Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee say no. A major new film that was researched with high-level CIA access, however, shows torture as yielding a big break and setting in motion the chase that ended in the terrorist's death in Pakistan last year.
The Hollywood drama, "Zero Dark Thirty," is intensifying a sharp political debate in Washington about the value of "enhanced interrogation techniques." Although the filmmakers say they never intended to take sides in the debate and the movie is not a documentary, "Zero Dark Thirty" implies that torture can be effective. Now, the film stands poised to shape perceptions of the issue for Americans far beyond the nation's capital....
"I think people understand that Hollywood movies, even meticulously researched ones, take a certain amount of liberties with the facts," said Rick Worland, a professor of film and media arts at Southern Methodist University. "Still, it leaves an impression and becomes part of our collective memory, and that makes it important to get these things right."