THE US Senate Intelligence Committee is reported to be looking into the contacts between the CIA and the makers of Oscar favourite Zero Dark Thirty.

Kathryn Bigelow’s film is a dramatized account of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the 2011 mission which killed him.

According to Reuters, investigators will examine whether the spy agency gave the filmmakers “inappropriate” access to secret material.

The film has been nominated for four Golden Globes. Ahead of the US elections, Bigelow’s film was accused of being a propaganda tool intended to assist President Obama’s re-election campaign.

The US release of the film was subsequently put back until after November’s election. In the latest controversy, three US senators wrote to the head of Sony Pictures Entertainment shortly before Christmas saying the film was “inaccurate” for suggesting torture helped lead to Bin Laden’s discovery.

The letter was co-signed by Senate Intelligence Committee members Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and former Presidential candidate John McCain.

The senators claimed that Zero Dark Thirty “clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier” for Bin Laden, who would unknowingly lead the agency to his compound in Pakistan.

Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal - who won Oscars in 2010 for The Hurt Locker - said last month the film depicted “a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods”.

They said: “The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.”

On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the Committee had begun an examination of records charting contacts between intelligence officials and Bigelow and Boal. Reuters said they will also probe “whether CIA personnel are responsible for the portrayal of harsh interrogation practices, and in particular the suggestion that they were effective”.

A spokesperson for Sony told The Hollywood Reporter: “As the studio distributing Zero Dark Thirty in the United States, we are proud of this important film. Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal and their creative team have made an extraordinary motion picture and we fully support bringing this remarkable story to the screen.”

The film’s title is a military term for half past midnight, the local time at which Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was raided by US Navy Seals. It opens across the US on 11 January and in the UK on 25 January and is also considered a likely Oscar contender. –BBC