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Jessica Chastain in 'Zero Dark Thirty"
© AP / Jessica Chastain in 'Zero Dark Thirty'
Senate Intelligence Committee drops 'Zero Dark Thirty' probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- One day after "Zero Dark Thirty" failed to win major awards at the Oscars, a congressional aide said Monday that the Senate Intelligence Committee has closed its inquiry into the filmmakers' contacts with the Central Intelligence Agency.

The intelligence committee gathered more information from the CIA, film director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal and will not take further action, according to the aide, who requested anonymity.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produced the film, had no immediate comment. But attacks by Washington politicians may have damaged its prospects at the Academy Awards. "Zero Dark Thirty" was nominated for a Best Picture award, which it did not win. Also, in what industry watchers considered a snub, Bigelow did not receive a Best Director nomination.

Bing: 'Zero Dark Thirty' controversy

The Senate committee launched its review of the film, a dramatization of how the U.S. government located and killed Osama bin Laden, after its chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, expressed outrage over scenes that implied that "enhanced interrogations" of CIA detainees produced a breakthrough that helped lead to the al-Qaida leader.

In December, as "Zero Dark Thirty" was about to premiere nationwide, Feinstein joined fellow Democrat Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Republican Sen. John McCain in condemning "particularly graphic scenes of CIA officers torturing detainees" in the film.

A source familiar with contacts between the filmmakers and intelligence officials said the CIA did not tell the filmmakers "enhanced interrogations" led to bin Laden. Instead, the agency helped develop characters in the film, said the source.

The political fallout prompted Bigelow to write in an op-ed piece, "Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time."

The government cooperated as much, if not more, on "Argo," the film about the 1979-81 hostage crisis in Iran that won the Best Picture Oscar. Actor-director Ben Affleck and his team were allowed to film scenes in the lobby of the CIA building in Langley, Va.; the "Zero Dark Thirty" crew did no such filming.

 

19Comments
Feb 25, 2013 10:09PM
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I thought it was a great movie. I'm also not upset it didn't win the oscar because I know the academy awards are nothing more than a hollywood popularity contest and it's more about what everyone is wearing than it is the awards themselves. I believe the graphic scenes, which may not have had a direct link to finding and killing Bin Laden, did happen. I absolutely believe detainees were tortured for information and the Bush administration knew about it ... that being said, I think the magnitude of the events on September 11, 2001 probably warranted such actions which as much as I hate to say, probably saved a lot of lives since 911 ...
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Government should kept out of movie making, remember a Senator named Mcarthy  ?

Feb 26, 2013 3:32AM
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I can't say I'm unhappy about "Enhanced Interrogation" techniques when they net terrorists like Bin Laden. I do acknowledge that Hollywood is a bunch of pampered Liberals who would turn their noses up at a really good movie like ZD30 so it's no surprise the movie was snubbed.
Feb 26, 2013 3:00AM
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"

A source familiar with contacts between the filmmakers and intelligence officials said the CIA did not tell the filmmakers "enhanced interrogations" led to bin Laden. Instead, the agency helped develop characters in the film, said the source."

 

"The government cooperated as much, if not more, on "Argo," the film about the 1979-81 hostage crisis in Iran that won the Best Picture Oscar. Actor-director Ben Affleck and his team were allowed to film scenes in the lobby of the CIA building in Langley, Va.; the "Zero Dark Thirty" crew did no such filming."

 

Sorry Reauters, but helping to develop characters for a film is certainly more involved than letting another movie film in your lobby!

Feb 25, 2013 10:28PM
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Victors are the ones who write history, now we're dramatizing alleged events.  Same as writing your own history.  People have been doing this for thousands of years.  There is no objective history or actual story, there is only "our" story.
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