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Sundance doc adds new take on hunt for bin Laden

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013

Marty Martin, a CIA case officer who led the hunt for bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks, said interrogations did not occur the way they are shown in "Zero Dark Thirty." Asked if torture produced tips that helped find bin Laden, Martin would only say that he believes "enhanced interrogation techniques" were useful.

Martin said he believes such methods have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

"This is America. We need to have this debate," Martin said. "If you want to make a decision that 5,000 people can die because you don't want to make a bad guy feel uncomfortable, that's a decision we have. But then, you bear that responsibility, and you'll look in those victims' relatives' eyes after the fact. But the fact is, that debate and that discussion needs to occur, and we live in a free society where that needs to happen."

Ex-CIA analyst Cindy Storer said that right after Sept. 11, she decided she did not want to be involved in coercive methods, yet she concedes that valuable information resulted.

"It doesn't mean I didn't use the information that came from it. It doesn't mean I don't respect the people who made the decision to do that," Storer said. "I know that's useful. So this black-and-white discussion of, it's not useful at all, it's totally useful, it's ridiculous. It is in the gray."

Filmmaker Barker said the debate needs to cut deeper than simple for-or-against opinions about torture. Whether from al-Qaeda or some other source, "we're going to be back in this situation again," Barker said.

"And there will be people in the shadows making decisions on our behalf, and what I'm hoping to do is kind of shed some light by telling a great story, but also shed some light on what those decisions, how those decisions are reached, and the human dimension of that," Barker said. "It's a complex issue, and we're best looking at it dispassionately, and all of us have a discussion about what this last decade was all about to us."