Is Zero Dark Thirty now a work of fiction?
Amid claims from Seymour Hersh that the mission to kill Osama bin Laden wasn't quite what it seemed, questions are being raised over Kathryn Bigelow's film
The US government lied over Osama Bin Laden’s killing, and the events of the Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty are a myth, according to a report by a leading journalist published this week.
Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre and cover-up during the Vietnam War, has published a damning piece in the London Review of Books that indicates a significant level of lying from the American government.
Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was based on the actions of a female agent, played by Jessica Chastain, who remains undercover, and whose work was apparently key to locating bin Laden. However, according to Hersh’s piece The Killing of Osama bin Laden, events happened rather differently.
The film suggested that CIA intelligence and water-boarding helped to produce the information that led to finding the Al Qaeda head. The CIA supposedly focused many years of effort on a group of couriers, who were thought to be working from bin Laden’s compound. In reality, a Pakistani former intelligence officer told US officials in exchange for part of a $25 million reward.
According to Hersh, The SEALS did not raid Pakistan in order to reach bin Laden’s location; they were allowed in by the Pakistani military. And far from being in hiding, Hersh claims, bin Laden was held prisoner by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.
In 2012, the website Judicial Watch published a series of emails between officials in the Obama administration and the producers of Zero Dark Thirty, showing that the film-makers were given access to classified documents as part of their research.
The White House has issued a stern denial of Hersh's piece, calling his report "baseless".