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As the criticism over the misleading torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty has intensified, the filmmakers and their defenders among the nation’s film critics have fallen back on increasingly strained rationalizations for why the film unfolds in a manner that is at odds with the public record.
Specifically, a lengthy Senate investigation and the CIA itself have determined that the agency alias of Osama bin Laden’s courier was not identified via one of the agency’s so-called enhanced interrogations. Yet that is exactly what the film portrays in this clip, originally posted by blogger Matt Cornell (H/T Greg Mitchell).
The detainee in the film isn’t being tortured at the moment he gives up the courier’s alias, the clue that led the CIA to OBL’s secret compound. He already had been tortured, and he starts spilling names only after his interrogator threatens to hang him up by his arms again. Some defenders of the film, such as Mark Bowden, have said it is faithful to the facts, arguing that the torture of Mohammed al-Qahtani had “focused” the CIA’s attention on the courier.
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