Obama under fire for giving Hollywood access to Bin Laden SEALs

Rep. Peter King is criticizing the President's administration for sharing too much information with Kathryn Bigelow, the director of the Hurt Locker and the force behind a movie intended to depict the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year.

A House committee chairman charged Wednesday that the CIA and Defense Department jeopardized national security by cooperating too closely with filmmakers producing a movie on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King. R-N.Y., first raised questions about the bin Laden movie last summer, but said newly released documents confirm his suspicions.

The filmmakers are director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who won Academy Awards for the motion picture "The Hurt Locker."

RELATED: SEAL Team Six: 10 questions on the operation that killed Osama bin Laden

King referred to documents obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act request. He said the filmmakers received "extremely close, unprecedented and potentially dangerous collaboration" from the Obama administration.

Judicial Watch said the documents show that the Defense Department granted Bigelow and Boal access to a "planner, operator and commander of SEAL Team 6" — the unit that killed bin Laden in Pakistan.

Other documents, Judicial Watch said, show that the filmmakers met with White House officials on at least two occasions about the film. A CIA email indicates that Bigelow and Boal were granted access to "the vault," which is described as the CIA building where some of the tactical planning for the raid took place, Judicial Watch said.

Pentagon press secretary George Little disputed some of the allegations. He said that while a planner was suggested as a possible point of contact for information on the bin Laden raid, a meeting between that planner and the filmmakers never occurred.

He said the Defense Department engages on a regular basis with the entertainment industry on movie projects, and the goal is to "make them as realistic as possible. We believe this is an important service that we provide."

Little added that Pentagon officials did meet with producers of the film but said, "We have never reviewed a script of the movie."

Little also denied that the cooperation was an attempt to boost President Barack Obama's election chances, and said the movie would not be out until after the election. Sony Pictures confirmed that the projected release date of the movie is Dec. 19.

CIA spokesman Preston Golson disputed the allegation that the filmmakers were given access to a secret "vault."

"Virtually every office and conference room in our headquarters is called a 'vault' in agency lingo," he said. The 'vault' in question, that had been used for planning the raid, was empty at the time of the filmmakers' visit."

Golson added, "The CIA has been open about our engagement with writers, documentary filmmakers, movie and TV producers, and others in the entertainment industry. Our goal is an accurate portrayal of the men and women of the CIA, their vital mission and the commitment to public service that defines them. The protection of national security equities is always paramount in any engagement with the entertainment industry."

The spokesman said that when appropriate, the CIA arranges visits to the agency for unclassified meetings.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

RELATED: SEAL Team Six: 10 questions on the operation that killed Osama bin Laden

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.