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White House denies leaking classified info for bin Laden raid film

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Moviemakers producing a film about the U.S. special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden are getting help from the Pentagon, but the Obama administration dismissed concerns on Wednesday that classified information has been divulged.

The film, focusing on one of President Barack Obama’s key successes in office, is due to be released in October 2012, less than a month before the election in which the Democrat is seeking a second term.

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Republican Peter King, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, called on Tuesday for an investigation into contacts between the administration and the filmmakers. King questioned whether special operations methods had been compromised.

“The claims are ridiculous,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a White House briefing.

“We do not discuss classified information. And I would hope that as we face the continued threat from terrorism, the House Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than a movie,” Carney added.

U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department is cooperating with filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal as they work on a motion picture about the raid that killed bin Laden.

The two, who collaborated on the Oscar-winning Iraq war movie “The Hurt Locker,” had been developing the bin Laden film even before the al Qaeda leader was killed in May in a raid on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

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In a statement, the pair said their movie covered a period of three different U.S. administrations that searched for bin Laden, including those of Presidents Clinton and Bush.

“This was an American triumph, both heroic and non-partisan, and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise,” Bigelow and Boal said in their joint statement.

The Pentagon has a two-person entertainment media office that assists makers of films, television shows, computer games and other entertainment media targeting mass audiences.

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“Mostly when we’re contacted by filmmakers they’re looking for access to our equipment, our personnel and our installations. Technical advice is kind of a byproduct of that relationship,” said Phil Strub, who heads the office.

Reacting to a New York Times column saying the film was timed to give Obama a “home-stretch boost” in his re-election bid, King called for an investigation into the assertion that Bigelow had been given “top-level access to the most classified mission in history.”

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On the Bigelow film, Lapan said the Defense Department is “providing assistance with script research, which is something we commonly do for established filmmakers.” Lapan said the Pentagon attempts to help filmmakers and authors but “we do not discuss classified information.”

Carney said information provided to the filmmakers “has been focused on the president’s role.”

“There is no difference in the information that we’ve given to anybody who’s working on this topic from what we gave to those of you in this room who worked on it in the days and weeks after the raid itself,” Carney told reporters.

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(Editing by Will Dunham and Eric Walsh)

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LISTEN: Mourners sing ‘Amazing Grace’ outside the Supreme Court to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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Heartwarming videos were shared on social media on Friday night showing the spontaneous gathering at the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The large crowd, with many people wearing masks, sang the hymn "Amazing Grace."

Here are some of the videos of the scene:

A moving moments as dozens join in to sing “Amazing Grace” on the steps of the Supreme Court. pic.twitter.com/NGZyZi4YR4

— Mike Balsamo (@MikeBalsamo1) September 19, 2020

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2020 Election

Here’s how Mitch McConnell could lose his leverage to replace Ginsburg after November

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According to a report in AZCentral, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to rush through a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could encounter an unexpected roadblock if he tries to hold a confirmation vote after the election.

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WATCH: Trump reveals how he can manipulate Democrats to help him put Ted Cruz on the Supreme Court

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President Donald Trump spoke about his plans for the Supreme Court during a Friday night campaign rally in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Trump took the stage before news was announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died and appeared to not know of the Supreme Court vacancy.

Trump explained to his audience why he had put Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on his shortlist for a Supreme Court nomination.

“I said, you know, I have to have someone that we’re going sure we get approved and the only one I could think of is Ted, because he’s going to get 50 Republican votes and he’s going to get 50 Democrat votes — they’ll do anything to get him out of the Senate," Trump said.

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