Posted: Dec 19, 2012 7:59 PM by Pam Benson - CNN
(CNN) -- Three U.S. senators say the new film about the Osama bin Laden raid is "grossly inaccurate and misleading" in how it depicts CIA interrogations as torture and have called on the studio distributing "Zero Dark Thirty" to publicly state the movie is not based on fact.
In a bipartisan letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday, Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin and Republican Sen. John McCain said they were deeply disappointed in the film.
"Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the films fictional narrative," the senators wrote.
The beginning of the movie depicts harrowing scenes of a suspected terrorist being interrogated at a secret CIA prison overseas using controversial harsh interrogation techniques including waterboarding, which simulates drowning. The suggestion in the film is those coercive techniques aided in identifying the courier who eventually led to bin Laden's hideout.
The senators' letter cites the recently completed nearly four-year review by the Senate Intelligence Committee of the CIA's interrogation and detention program, which includes details on the bin Laden operation. Although the report is classified, the letter to Sony includes a reference to a previous statement by Feinstein and Levin based on that review.
"The CIA did not learn about the existence of the (Osama bin Laden) courier from detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. ... Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program."
The senators are concerned that people seeing the movie will think it represents fact and that torture will be accepted as an effective way of gathering intelligence. "The film therefore has the potential to shape American public opinion in a disturbing and misleading manner," the letter states.
The senators said "Zero Dark Thirty "was "perpetuating the myth that torture is effective" and maintained Sony has a "social and moral obligation to get the facts right."
Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Zero Dark Thirty" opened in theaters on Wednesday.