McCain rejects film's take on bin Laden lead

The movie Zero Dark Thirty suggests that the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques led the US to Osama bin Laden, but Republican senator John McCain says that's wrong.

Senator McCain, who spent five-an-a-half years enduring brutal treatment by his North Vietnamese captors during the Vietnam War, has insisted that the waterboarding of al-Qaeda's No. 3 leader, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, did not provide information that led to bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

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Zero Dark Thirty - Trailer

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his death at the hands of the Navy SEAL Team 6.

Senator McCain said on Tuesday that he was provided a copy of the movie and watched it on Monday.

Last year, Senator 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," Senator McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, backed up Senator McCain's assessment that waterboarding of Mohammed did not produce the tip that led to bin Laden.

Senator 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.