Senator McCain Slams 'Zero Dark Thirty' Torture Scenes
A front-runner in the Oscar race, Zero Dark Thirty received some harsh words from an unlikely source - Senator John McCain. The Arizona legislator who was a P.O.W. and endured torture during Vietnam watched the film by Kathryn Bigelow Monday night and said it left him sick and called it, "wrong."
McCain said that the controversial technique, known as water boarding, which simulates drowning, did not yield useful information from al Qaeda's number three leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has been in U.S. custody since 2003. The film suggests that the technique resulted in useful information that lead the CIA to al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed.
"The filmmakers fell for it hook, line and sinker," the Republican senator is quoted as saying by A.P.
Last year, McCain, who spent 5 1/2 years in captivity by his North Vietnamese captors, asked then-CIA director Leon Panetta whether the hunt for Bin Laden came from information provided from Mohammed. The lead to the courier, however, came from a detainee held in a separate country.
"Not only did the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not provide us with key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed, it actually produced false and misleading information," McCain said in a speech in the U.S. Senate.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee concurred that water boarding did not lead to the tip that eventually saw U.S. special forces raid a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
McCain said that water boarding is dangerous because it damages the U.S.'s reputation and character and might be used against Americans.
"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.