John McCain Slams Zero Dark Thirty Torture Scenes

Senator says unlike film depicts, waterboarding did not help U.S. to get insight on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts prior to capture

By Rebecca Macatee Dec 19, 2012 3:25 PMTags
John McCainAP Photo/Ron Edmonds

John McCain is a survivor of real life wartime torture, so it's understandable he has strong opinions about how it's portrayed on the silver screen.

Zero Dark Thirty suggests that the CIA's extreme interrogation techniques helped the United States to capture and kill Osama bin Laden. But McCain, who was held captive during the Vietnam War, is upset by the film's portrayal of torture as an effective tactic.

Per the Huffington Post, the Republican Senator from Arizona felt sick Monday after watching an advanced copy of Kathryn Bigelow's movie. "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," he said.

McCain opposes waterboarding and insists that unlike the movie suggests, that played no part in getting the information from Mohammed that led U.S. forces to bin Laden. "I do not believe [torture techniques] are necessary to our success in our war against terrorists, as the advocates of these techniques claim they are," he said.

Bigelow, however, has denied that Zero Dark Thirty apologizes for torture."The point was to immerse the audience in this landscape, not to pretend to debate policy," she told The Wrap. "Was it difficult to shoot? Yes. Do I wish [torture] was not part of that history? Yes, but it was."

Mark Boal, the film's screenwriter-producer, added, "Everything we did has been misinterpreted, and continues to be."

Zero Dark Thirty opens nationwide Jan. 11, 2013.