There’s widespread Oscar buzz about the movie Zero Dark Thirty, which opens in theaters across the nation this weekend and was screened at the Newseum last evening. As a 20 year Air Force veteran, I salute Seal Team Six and their extraordinary work which is depicted in the film. As a professional interrogator who conducted more than 300 interrogations in Iraq, I hope Americans don't allow their opinions about interrogations to be determined by a movie however they choose to interpret what they see on the big screen. Torture is simply not reliable, moral, legal or productive.
Zero opens with the torture of Ammar (who is apparently a conglomeration of four detainees). Ammar gives up some intelligence information after torture has failed, during a civilized lunch. It appears the filmmakers intention was to show that torture didn't work and that it was civility and deception, a law enforcement interrogation tactic, which eventually worked. But supporters of torture may see it another way -- that complicity was the result of torture. The true story of the torture of the four detainees is that it failed miserably.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says that the facts do not support the assertion that torture led to bin Laden. She should know.