Leon Panetta calls Zero Dark Thirty a 'good movie'

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 11:21 hrs

Former CIA director, Leon Panetta, who oversaw the raid that killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, has called Zero Dark Thirty a "good movie".

Panetta, who is due to step down as US defense secretary this month, said the film should not be seen as a historical account of the secret operation that he was intimately involved with as the head of the CIA from 2009 to 2011, reports The News.

But Panetta, who was portrayed on screen by Hollywood star James Gandolfini, said that the Oscar-nominated film did convey some sense of the years of legwork it took the CIA to track down Bin Laden.

The film, starring Jessica Chastain as a relentless CIA officer, suggests that torture and abuse of some suspects helped generate information that led to the May 2011 raid that ultimately took out Bin Laden.

The portrayal has sparked criticism from some senators, rights advocates and even the acting head of the CIA, Michael Morell.

But Panetta said harsh interrogation methods, including water boarding or simulated drowning, did play a role in locating Bin Laden, though not a decisive one.

The CIA and the Pentagon cooperated heavily with the filmmakers, who were given access to officials and even offered a meeting with a Navy SEAL commando familiar with the raid. (ANI)

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