Senator denies inquiry was an investigation of film itself
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that she sees “no need to request further information” from the CIA on the assistance it gave to the makers of “Zero Dark Thirty,” and denied that the Senate Intelligence Committee inquiry was an investigation of the film itself.
Screenwriter Mark Boal has been particularly critical of the Senate inquiry, saying that it raises questions of free speech and whether it will put a “chill” on future projects if movies are put under the microscope on how their creators gathered facts. He also said that he may be subpoenaed to testify.
Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), have been critical of the movie’s portrayal of torture as inaccurate. But Feinstein said that the committee “has not made any contact with the filmmakers, did not request documents from any individual associated with the film, and have not conducted any investigation into the film whatsover.”
“We have simply asked questions of the intelligence community pertinent to our oversight responsibities,” she said.
The movie has been a box office success, but lost out to “Argo” in the Oscar race for best picture, and Quentin Tarantino won the original screenplay award for “Django Unchained” over Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty.” The director of the movie, Kathryn Bigelow, was shut out of a nomination.
Feinstein, McCain and Levin had also sent a letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton calling “Zero Dark Thirty” “grossly inaccurate and misleading,” and called for changes in the movie, which had just been released. They maintained that the movie made it seem as if torture yielded information that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, while the filmmakers defended their depiction as much more nuanced, noting that a variety of sources helped in the hunt over many years.
In a statement issued by her office on Tuesday, Feinstein said that “in December, Senators Levin, McCain and I wrote to Acting CIA Director Michael Morell seeking information provided to the filmmakers of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ by the CIA. The CIA responded with information about its interaction with the filmmakers. I see no need to request further information. In a separate letter, Senators Levin, McCain and I requested the basis for CIA’s view that enhanced interrogation techniques provided some intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. The CIA’s response to that letter is forthcoming.”