Republican senator John McCain says the Oscar-contending film Zero Dark Thirty left him sick because it portrayed torture as vital to the mission to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

McCain, who spent five-and-a-half years enduring brutal treatment by his North Vietnamese captors during the Vietnam War, has insisted that the waterboarding of al-Qaeda's third in command, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not provide information that led to the bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Yet the movie, which McCain saw earlier this week, indicates that's how the United States found the al-Qaida leader.

Director Kathryn Bigelow and her fellow filmmakers fell for the torture allegations "hook, line and sinker," McCain said.


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

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

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.