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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

White House said to give inside access for bin Laden film

The Obama administration arranged for two Hollywood filmmakers to get special access to government officials involved in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden, according to a conservative legal group that posted internal government documents on its website Tuesday.

Judicial Watch posted what it said were 153 pages of Pentagon documents and 113 pages of CIA documents about the film project. The group said it had obtained the documents through a lawsuit it filed under the Freedom of Information Act, which can be used to force government agencies to release some undisclosed information.

Among the disclosures were that the filmmakers had access to top White House officials, were given the identity of a SEAL team member involved in the raid and taken to the top-secret "vault" where the raid was planned.

The group said the documents lay out contacts between White House, CIA and Pentagon officials and Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the director and screenwriter of "The Hurt Locker," a 2008 film about the Iraq war that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The film project, titled "Zero Dark Thirty" about the May 2011 raid on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, became a focus of controversy last year when a New York Times columnist reported that its producers planned to release it weeks before the Nov. 6 election in which US President Barack Obama is seeking re-election. That has been pushed back to December.

Neither the CIA nor the Pentagon disputed the authenticity of the documents. A spokesman for the National Security Council said the White House would have no comment on the documents beyond those issued last August by presidential press secretary Jay Carney, who said the White House had not given the filmmakers classified information.

The CIA and Pentagon said there was nothing unusual about their dealings with the filmmakers.

"The CIA has been open about our engagement with writers, documentary filmmakers, movie and TV producers, and others in the entertainment industry," said Jennifer Youngblood, an agency spokeswoman.

She added: "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."

Pentagon spokesman George Little said, "The Department of Defense, as well as other agencies and departments, regularly engage with the entertainment industry to inform projects ranging from books to documentaries to feature films.

"Many individuals in the industry expressed interest in developing projects on what can only be described as one of the top intelligence and military successes of a generation," Little added. "Our engagement on these projects was driven by a desire to inform, not by timing."

 

 

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Tags:  white house  bin laden  filmmakers  hollywood  osama  kill  pentagon  obama  us  pakistan  





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