WASHINGTON — The movie “Zero Dark Thirty” suggests the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques led the U.S. to Osama bin Laden. Sen. John McCain watched the movie Monday night and says it left him sick — because it’s wrong.
McCain, who spent 5½ years enduring brutal treatment by his North Vietnamese captors during the Vietnam War, has insisted that the waterboarding of al-Qaida’s No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to the bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
Yet the movie, a copy of which McCain said he received Monday, indicates that’s how the United States found the al-Qaida leader. The filmmakers fell for it hook, line and sinker, McCain, R-Ariz., said Tuesday.
Last year, McCain asked then-CIA Director Leon Panetta for the facts, and he said the hunt for bin Laden did not begin with fresh information from Mohammed. In fact, the name of bin Laden’s courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, came from a detainee held in another 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 on the Senate floor.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, backed up McCain’s assessment that waterboarding of Mohammed did not produce the tip that led to bin Laden.
McCain has said he opposes waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning, and any form of torture tactics. He said they could be used against 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.