The Department of Defense and CIA are looking into the possible release of classified information to filmmakers on the killing of Osama bin Laden, according to a top Republican lawmaker.
Last August, Rep. Pete King, the chairman of the House committee on Homeland Security, called for an investigation into reports that the Obama administration granted Sony Pictures high-level access for a film on the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.
In a letter from DoD’s Inspector General’s office dated Dec. 23 and released by the committee today, King is told “after an initial review of information, the Office of the Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence and Special Program Assessments has announced a project…to investigate the concerns raised” by his August 9 inquiry.
The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs also wrote King Nov. 8 that the CIA is “developing a written policy to create a single point of reference that will govern future interactions with the entertainment industry.”
“I am pleased that the Inspectors General at DoD and the CIA agree with me that potential leaks to filmmakers are something worth investigating and taking action to address,” King, R-New York, wrote in a statement today. ”The leaks that followed the successful bin Laden mission led to the arrests of Pakistanis and put in danger the mission’s heroes and their families. Privately, individuals in the intelligence and special operations communities expressed support for my request for a probe. I look forward to an update on the investigation and actions taken thus far.”
King wrote Aug. 9 that he was concerned “regarding ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations” and he warned that close cooperation on the Hollywood action-thriller could lead to further leaks that could undermine the success of future operations.
“Further participation by JSOC 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,” King, R-New York, wrote in a letter addressed to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley. “The success of these organizations is vital to our continued homeland security.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told ABC News’ Jake Tapper last summer that King’s allegations were “ridiculous” and “simply false” and he suggested the Homeland Security committee had more pressing concerns to investigate.
“We do not discuss classified information,” Carney said. ”I would hope that as we face the continued threat from terrorism, the House Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than a movie.”
The film is to be directed by American film director Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Oscar for directing “The Hurt Locker” – which won seven total Oscars in 2010, including best picture. Mark Boal, who worked with Bigelow on the blockbuster, has also signed on to produce the Bin Laden movie, which is in pre-production and will star Rooney Mara, Tom Hardy and Idris Elba.
The project is currently untitled but is expected to be released October 2012, just a month before the election.