'Zero Dark Thirty' is now officially wrong about torture

Actor Mark Strong is featured as a government official in the film. Actor Mark Strong is featured as a government official in the film. Columbia Pictures/AP

We already knew that Zero Dark Thirty messed up a couple of details about the bin Laden raid, but now, some senators would like the filmmakers to know they're straight up "incorrect." More specifically, Senators Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain wrote in a letter addressed to Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures, that "Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film's fictional narrative." They go on to say that the film encourages the minority of Americans who favor torture as an intelligence gathering technique. "This is false," the letter reads. "We know that cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners is an unreliable and highly ineffective means of gathering intelligence."

This is hardly the cut-and-dry issue the senators make it out to be, though. Ever since the initial details of what Glenn Greenwald called a White House "propaganda film," critics and pundits alike have been jousting over the scenes that depict torture. Mother Jones's Adam Serwer said as much as the senators' letter does about the film's potential for changing Americans' mind about torture. That is, if they think torture helped us find bin Laden, they'll probably think torture is a good thing. Greenwald said in a separate column that the film propagandizes the public to favorably view clear war crimes by the US government, based on pure falsehoods." (He loves the "p" word.) Critics of the critics said that torture happened, the film is fiction and, furthermore, most Americans haven't even seen the film, so who are we to say what they'll think. You can read more about these issues in our handy guide to the Zero Dark Thirty debate.

Read more at Atlantic Cities.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.