King: Investigate Possible Administration Leaks to Hollywood About Bin Laden Kill
(CNSNews.com) – House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) is calling for the inspectors general of the Defense Department and the CIA to investigate whether the Obama administration leaked classified material to Hollywood for a film about the Navy SEALs mission that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden. The White House has dismissed reports that it leaked sensitive information as “ridiculous.”
In a letter to the inspectors general, King quoted from liberal New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s Aug. 6 commentary.
Dowd wrote: “Just as Obamaland was hoping, the movie is scheduled to open on Oct. 12, 2012--perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher. … The moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration.”
King’s letter calls upon the inspectors general to conduct a probe about what type of information was released to Sony Pictures and filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, who made the Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker,” noting that “a Hollywood filmmaker also attended a CIA ceremony in honor of the team that carried out the raid.”
“The administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government,” King states in the letter. “In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.”
“I request an investigation and classified briefing regarding this matter from the Defense Department’s and CIA’s Inspectors General,” said King.
Rep. King further states, “Leaks of classified information regarding the bin Laden raid have already resulted, according to a June 15, 2011 article in the Washington Post, in the arrests of Pakistanis who were believed by local authorities to have assisted the CIA with the May 1st raid.”
“Further participation by JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] and the Agency in making a film about the raid is bound to increase such leaks, and undermine these organizations’ hard-won reputations as ‘quiet professionals’ − reputations important for their continued operational success,” reads the letter. “And, the success of these organizations is vital to our continued homeland security.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dismissed both the King letter and the New York Times column on Wednesday, telling reporters that Sony and the filmmakers had no more access than the regular media have received.
“The claims are ridiculous,” Carney said in response to a question from ABC’s Jake Tapper. “When people, including you, are working on articles, books, documentaries, movies involving the president ask to speak to administration officials we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the facts are correct. We do not discuss classified information.”
“I would hope as we face a continued threat from terrorism, the Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss,” said Caarney. “The information that this White House provided about that mission and the focus on the president’s role is no different than the information we’ve given to anybody that has worked in this room in the days and weeks after the raid itself. The most specific information we’ve given from this White House about the actual raid, I read to you from this podium. So it’s just simply false.”
King’s letter to the DOD and CIA inspectors general asked that their investigation include, but not be limited to answering the following questions:
1. What consultations, if any, occurred between members of the Executive Office of the President, and Department of Defense and/or CIA officials, regarding the advisability of providing Hollywood executives with access to covert military operators and clandestine CIA officers to discuss the UBL raid?
2. Will a copy of this film be submitted to the military and CIA for pre-publication review, to determine if special operations tactics, techniques and procedures, or Agency intelligence sources and methods, would be revealed by its release?
3. How was the attendance of filmmakers at a meeting with special operators and Agency officers at CIA Headquarters balanced against those officers’ duties to maintain their covers? How will cover concerns be addressed going forward?
4. What steps did the Administration take to ensure that no special operations tactics, techniques, and procedures were compromised during those meetings?
5. To the extent possible to determine, how many human intelligence sources and how many Agency intelligence methods have been compromised due to leaks about the May 1st raid? What effects have these compromises had on the CIA’s collection capabilities? Will Agency participation in a film about the bin Laden raid add to or exacerbate the effects of these compromises?