"That's hardly a novel approach to the media. We do not discuss classified information. The information that the White House provided about the bin Laden raid was focused on the President's role in that decision making process. The same information was given to the White House press corps," he said in an email to Yahoo News.
But House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King blasted the revelations on Wednesday, saying in a statement that the documents revealed "the damning story of extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration" with Hollywood.
King singled out the disclosure that the filmmakers visited "a classified facility so secret that the name cannot even be seen by the public."
The episode appears to have begun with an 11:27 p.m. email from Boal to Geoff Morrell, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates's spokesman on June 5, 2011. In it, Boal asked to be able to talk to Vickers, and notes: "Naturally, I understand the sensitivities, and more than anything, am simply hoping for an opportunity to briefly tell him about the project's scope."
Three minutes later, Morrell pushed the email into the chain of comment, with the note "what do you all think? These guys are the Oscar winning team behind the Hurt Locker."
In another email, on June 9, Pentagon spokesman Robert Mehal fleshed out some of the details of the film project. "They were just about to begin filming a moving focusing on the Battle of Tora Bora (2001) when 1 May changed everything," Mehal wrote.
Mehal also noted that Boal was mindful of national security worries, and "indicated that he was proud of not giving anything away in Hurt Locker."
On June 13, Vickers wrote that senior officials were thinking over whether to cooperate with the filmmakers. "They would like to shape the story to prevent any gross inaccuracies, but do not want to make it look like the commanders think it's okay to talk to the media," he wrote. One option was to "offer up" a SEAL "who played a key role and knows the operators and story well."
The CIA cooperated with Boal and Bigelow at then-director Leon Panetta's direction, but were "not, obviously, giving away anything they shouldn't, but answering questions such as 'How did you feel at that point?'" according to another message.
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