Rep. Peter King voices alarm over Osama bin Laden film project
WASHINGTON — A US lawmaker Wednesday demanded the Pentagon and the CIA justify their cooperation with Hollywood filmmakers planning a movie about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and said state secrets may have been exposed.
Republican Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, cited newly released emails that he said confirmed his suspicions that defense and intelligence officials had collaborated too closely with Oscar-winning filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.
“In my view, these emails raise serious questions regarding your central role in providing classified and sensitive information to individuals without appropriate security clearances,” King wrote in a letter to Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers.
Correspondence between officials and the filmmakers showed Bigelow’s team was allowed to visit “secure vaults” in a CIA counter-terrorism center and to meet with officers from the agency’s national clandestine service, including “at least one who participated in the Abbottabad raid” that killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011, King wrote in a letter to Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell.
The Republican issued a statement saying the emails recounted “a damning story of extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with top officials at the CIA, DoD (Department of Defense), and the White House and a top Democratic lobbying firm.”
According to the documents released by the Pentagon, Vickers suggested the filmmakers meet a Navy SEAL who helped plan the bin Laden raid.
Vickers tells them “the basic idea is they’ll make a guy available who was involved from the beginning as a planner; a SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander,” according to a transcript of the meeting.
“That’s dynamite,” Boal replies.
The transcript and other documents were posted by Judicial Watch, which calls itself a “conservative” education foundation, through a request under the Freedom of Information act.
The Pentagon played down the meetings, denied any secrets were revealed and said the movie makers never met with the Navy commando.
“It’s my understanding that while the planner was suggested as a possible point of contact for information on the bin Laden raid, a meeting between that planner and the producers of the film never occured,” press secretary George Little told reporters.
The Defense Department routinely cooperates with movie directors to help ensure film projects are “as realistic as possible,” Little said.
“In this case, we did have officials meet with producers of this film in the research phase. We have never reviewed a script of the movie and this is a perfectly appropriate form of outreach to the public that does have a role in informing the rest of the American people,” he said.