Acting CIA director Michael Morell has publicly disputed the accuracy of Kathryn Bigelow's latest film, Zero Dark Thirty.
The movie, which examines the 10-year manhunt for Osama bin Laden, features scenes of torture and depicts actual CIA agents involved in the hunt for the founder of al-Qaeda.
But in a letter to agency employees posted on the CIA's website, Morell wrote that the film "takes significant artistic license, while portraying itself as being historically accurate."
He argued that torture was never used in the hunt for bin Laden, and criticised the film for implying that methods of "enhanced interrogation" were the best way to get information.
"The film creates the strong impression that the enhanced interrogation techniques that were part of our former detention and interrogation programme were the key to finding bin Laden," he wrote. "That impression is false."
The letter went on to criticise Zero Dark Thirty for condensing work done by hundreds of people to make it appear as though a few individuals were responsible for the success of the operation.
The widely-acclaimed film, which is released in the UK on January 25, has already earned four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Director for Bigelow and a Best Actress in a Drama nod for Jessica Chastain.