U.S. Sen. and former presidential candidate John McCain watched the movie Zero Dark Thirty and says it left him sick, because it’s misleading and just plan wrong.
The film suggests the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques led the U.S. to Osama bin Laden. The 76-year-old veteran adamantly disputes this.
He says waterboarding al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
Yet the movie, a copy of which McCain received Monday, indicates that’s what happened. Filmmakers fell for it hook, line and sinker, McCain said.
Last year, McCain asked then-CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he said the bin Laden hunt did not begin with fresh intel from Mohammed.
In fact, the name of bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another country. McCain (R-AZ) told the Senate:
“Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on [Mohammed] not provide key leads on bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (and who plans to push for a new assault weapons ban in 2013), backed up McCain.
She said that waterboarding of Mohammed did not produce the tip that led to bin Laden.
McCain spent five and a half years enduring brutal treatment by North Vietnamese captors during the Vietnam War, and has denounced torture.
McCain has said he opposes waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning, and any form of torture tactics in order to garner intelligence.
He said they could be turned around and used against capture Americans and that their use damages the nation’s character and reputation.
“I do not believe they are necessary to our success in our war against terrorists, as the advocates of these techniques claim they are,” he said.