Zero Dark Thirty: The Facts and the Fiction
Zero Dark Thirty is a work of fiction that depicts graphic acts of torture. The movie’s implication that the use of torture produced critical intelligence is false. In particular, the clues that were essential to the hunt for Osama bin Laden were obtained through humane methods. Torture, in fact, produced false leads that wasted valuable time and staffing.
Torture is immoral and unworthy of our nation. It is also illegal and impractical. Soldiers know that the use of torture puts them at risk when they are captured; interrogators know that torture does not work; lawyers know that torture is illegal; and people of faith know that torture is contrary to religious teachings.
Below are the words of people who know the truth about interrogations and torture:
“[The] CIA did not first learn about the existence of the [Osama bin Laden] courier from detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. Nor did the agency discover the courier's identity from detainees subjected to coercive techniques.”
- Joint statement from: Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee 
“In the end, no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.”
- Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta (former CIA Director) 
“I'm willing to concede the point that no one gave us valuable or actionable intelligence while they were, for example, being waterboarded.”
- Former CIA Director Michael Hayden 
“It was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden.”
- Senator John McCain (R-AZ) 
“This idea we caught bin Laden because of waterboarding I think is a misstatement. This whole concept of how we caught bin Laden is a lot of work over time by different people and putting the puzzle together. I do not believe this is a time to celebrate waterboarding, I believe this is a time to celebrate hard work.”
- Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)