Senators Have Some 'Zero Dark' Questions for the CIA Director Now

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The number of strongly-worded letters inspired by the scenes depicting torture in Zero Dark Thirty grows by the day. Today, a group of Senators directed their ire towards acting-CIA director Michael Morell about comments he made about torture in his own strongly worded letter. 

Previously, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Carl Levin wrote to Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, to tell him Zero Dark Thirty is "factually inaccurate." Then, Morell publicly published a memo to all CIA employees saying the movie took "artistic license," and that it shouldn't be taken too seriously. After all of that came an official CIA fact-checking and an official probe from the Senate Intelligence Committee looking into who divulged the information on torture techniques. 

Well, this evening a new letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Carl Levin appeared, though it's dated December 31, 2012. This letter asks Michael Morell about comments he made in his letter about "the enhanced interrogation techniques" used that didn't quite add up.

Morell said Zero Dark Thirty gives the impression that torture played a major part in finding Bin Laden, but that impression is "false." But he goes on to say that some of the information used to find Bin Laden, "came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well," before concluding that we'll never really settle the debate over whether torture was the best route to take or not.

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This doesn't completely match the findings of a previous Senate oversight committee that Feinstein and crew were using to base their information. The committee found the most effective information came from a source before he was subjeft to enhanced interrogation techniques. So Feinstein, Levin and McCain have some questions for Morell now. 


1) What information did you get from detainees subjected to torture and when did you get it from them? Was it "prior to, during, or after the detainee was subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques? If after, how long after?"

2) They ask Morell to provide "specific examples" on information gathered in a "timely and effective" manner because of the use of torture techniques. 

The CIA tells the Associated Press they'll cooperate with the wishes of Feinstein, Levin and McCain. "As we've said before, we take very seriously our responsibility to keep our oversight committees informed and value our relationship with Congress," a CIA spokesperson told them. 

There's one thing we do know: this is not the last strongly worded letter we will see about Zero Dark Thirty

You can read the Senators full letter to Morell here: 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.