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Acting CIA Director Michael Morell waded into the controversy over Zero Dark Thirty Friday, taking the extraordinary step of making public a letter he sent to CIA personnel concerning the Oscar-contending film’s factuality.

“What I want you to know is that Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatization, not a realistic portrayal of the facts,” Morell wrote to agency employees in a letter that was posted Friday afternoon on the CIA’s public website. “CIA interacted with the filmmakers through our Office of Public Affairs but, as is true with any entertainment project with which we interact, we do not control the final product.”

Zero Dark Thirty, he wrote, “takes significant artistic license, while portraying itself as being historically accurate.”

Morell’s unusual letter comes two days after a bipartisan trio of senior senators — Diane Feinstein, John McCain and Carl Levin — sent their own letter to Sony Pictures, which is distributing Zero Dark Thirty, demanding that the studio attach a disclaimer to the film, which some say suggests that information obtained through torture led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

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