Congressional critics of bin Laden film step up pressure on CIA

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 4, 2013 6:32am IST

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three U.S. senators, including the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have stepped up their pressure on the CIA over its response to "Zero Dark Thirty," a new film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

In a letter sent to the CIA and released on Thursday, Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Intelligence Committee, Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin and Senator John McCain asked the agency for evidence that "enhanced interrogation techniques" produced information that helped U.S. authorities locate and kill the al Qaeda leader in May 2011.

The letter is the latest broadside in a renewed political fight over enhanced interrogation techniques, which some equate with torture, touched off by the nationwide premiere of "Zero Dark Thirty" on January 11.

The movie depicts a detainee being subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, which President George W. Bush's administration later abandoned, and suggests they played a role in finding bin Laden, who was behind the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Last month, in response to an earlier letter from the senators, acting CIA director Michael Morell said in a statement that some of the information that led agency analysts to conclude that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, "came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques but there were many other sources as well."

In their latest letter, sent on Monday, the lawmakers said that an Intelligence Committee review of the CIA's post-September 11 interrogation and detention program determined that an agency detainee who provided the most accurate information about a courier who led the CIA to bin Laden "provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques."

A lengthy report on the investigation, which the committee approved last month in a mostly party-line vote, remains highly classified.

Feinstein, Levin and McCain requested the CIA produce evidence to back up Morell's assertion that useful information related to the hunt for bin Laden came from detainees subjected to harsh techniques, and whether it was obtained before, during or after enhanced interrogations.

The senators' release of the letter came a day after Reuters reported that Feinstein's committee was reviewing CIA records about the agency's interactions with "Zero Dark Thirty" filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal to see if the spy agency gave them "inappropriate" access to secret material.

The committee also will investigate whether CIA personnel are responsible for the film's portrayal of harsh interrogation practices and the implication that they were effective, a person familiar with the matter said.

Asked for comment on the senators' latest request, CIA spokesman John Tomczyk said: "As we've said before, we take very seriously our responsibility to keep our oversight committees informed and value our relationship with Congress." (Editing by Warren Strobel and Bill Trott)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

SAG Awards

The cast of "Birdman" (L-R) Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton and Michael Keaton pose backstage with their award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake

'Birdman' wins top honor from actors in march toward Oscars

The show business satire "Birdman" picked up another important award in its march toward the best picture Oscar by winning the top honor from Hollywood's actors on Sunday.  Full Article 

Reuters Showcase

RK Laxman Dead

RK Laxman Dead

'Common Man' cartoonist RK Laxman dead at 93  Full Article 

Banking Revolution

Banking Revolution

India turns to corner shops, mobile phones for banking revolution.  Full Article 

Nuclear Group

Nuclear Group

China urges India to take steps to satisfy standards of NSG  Full Article 

Gold Market

Gold Market

Chinese gold demand holds up ahead of holiday, Indian buying weak  Full Article 

India-U.S. Relations

India-U.S. Relations

Column - U.S. and India should join to balance China's rise  Full Article 

Padma Bhushan

Padma Bhushan

India honours Bill Gates with civilian award  Full Article 

Fashionable Modi

Fashionable Modi

When Modi met Obama, his name was all over - his suit  Full Article 

New Greek PM

New Greek PM

Greek leftist Tsipras sworn in as PM to fight bailout terms  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Venus fireworks illuminate Australia Day  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage