Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is demanding an investigation into whether the White House might have leaked classified information on the Navy SEALs raid that killed Osama bin Laden to Hollywood filmmakers.
Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have been given “top-level access to the most classified mission in history,” The New York Times reported. The pair made “The Hurt Locker,” the 2008 Oscar-winning drama about the Iraq war, and they now are said to be working on a film about the May raid in Pakistan where SEALs executed the al-Qaida leader.
The movie reportedly is scheduled for release on Oct. 12, 2012, less than a month before the general election.
King, a New York Republican wrote to the inspectors general of the Defense Department and the CIA, asking them to investigate the reported leak.
“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 said in the letter.
“In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire for transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history," he wrote.
He warned that any leaks of classified information could jeopardize future U.S. missions. He cited a June 15 report in The Washington Post that Pakistanis who had helped the CIA in the raid had been arrested.
“Further participation by JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] and the Agency [CIA] 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,” King wrote “And, the success of these organizations is vital to our continued homeland security.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the report that filmmakers had been given classified information.
“The claims are ridiculous,” he said.
“When people, including you in this room, are working on articles, books, documentaries or movies that involve the president, ask to speak to administration officials, we do our best to accommodate them to make sure that facts are correct. That is hardly a novel approach to the media,” Carney told reporters. "We do not discuss classified information.”
Carney said King’s request for an investigation is unnecessary and that the Committee on Homeland Security should have “more important topics to discuss than a movie.”
King told The New York Observer that the White House response is “wrong.”
“I must have hit a really sensitive nerve with this thing,” he told the paper. “The fact is for 90 days, that’s all they’ve been doing. There’s been sensitive classified information being leaked out since the beginning.”
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