June 6, 2013 -- After a draft report of a Defense Department internal investigation showed former CIA chief Leon Panetta incidentally revealed secret information in front of a "Zero Dark Thirty" filmmaker, Rep. Peter King today sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense demanding the final version of the report be released "immediately."
"I demand the immediate release to Congress and the American people of the results of the DOD IG's [Inspector General's] review of illegal disclosures of classified information to Hollywood filmmakers," King (R-New York) said in a letter to Secretary Chuck Hagel and in an identical letter to the Defense Department's Principle Deputy Inspector General Lynn Halbrooks. "These security breaches compromised special operations capabilities which protect our Homeland, and endangered our servicemembers and their families."
King called for the IG report in August 2011 following media reports that Hollywood director Katherine Bigelow and writer Mark Boal had been given unprecedented access to American intelligence and special operations personnel and information for their research on the decade-plus-long hunt for Osama bin Laden -- the final product of which would be the "based on first-hand accounts of actual events" film "Zero Dark Thirty."
An undated draft version of the IG's report, obtained and published by the Project on Government Oversight earlier this week, details communications, mostly by email, between the filmmakers, the Defense Department, the CIA and the White House.
It also discusses the June 24, 2011 award ceremony at CIA headquarters to recognize those who contributed to the bin Laden operation. At the ceremony, then-CIA Director Panetta identified the unit that took on the mission and revealed the name of the commander on the ground, even though Boal, a civilian, was in the large audience, the report said. Special operations personnel from the Defense Department, who were also in the audience, "were all 'universally… surprised and shocked' that a Hollywood executive attended this CIA Headquarters awards ceremony," the report says.
It had been reported months before that the Navy's SEAL Team Six was responsible for the mission, even down to the specific squadron, but the commander's name has not been disclosed publicly.
The draft report does not accuse Panetta of any wrongdoing and notes he had not been interviewed at the time of the draft's creation. A source close to Panetta told ABC News the CIA chief was not aware there was anyone in the room that had not been cleared for the secret information. The source also stressed the draft report was just that, a draft, and did not necessarily represent the IG's final conclusions.
Another portion of the draft report focuses on Boal's interactions with Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers and Vickers' work to put Boal and Bigelow together with U.S. Special Operations Command. It was during one of the meetings between Vickers, Bigelow and Boal that Vickers reportedly revealed the name of a special operations planner for the bin Laden mission, an allegation previously reported by ABC News. Top officials at the Special Operations Command had offered to allow the filmmakers to meet the planner, but explicitly asked his name not be shared. The meeting with the planner never took place, the IG's draft report says.
The report references the relatively small role played by the White House beyond "green lighting" the Defense Department to proceed with their discussions with the filmmakers and saying in June 2011 that the White House "does want to engage with Mark [Boal] but it probably won't be for a few more weeks." The White House did not discuss with the Defense Department, for instance, the advisability of providing filmmakers access to special operations personnel, it says.
It also says that no precautions had been taken "to prevent the compromise of [Defense Department] special operations TTPs [tactics, techniques and procedures]," but none had been exposed at the events covered in the report.
When Vickers' alleged disclosure came to light last December, allegations also arose that the Inspector General's office was delaying the release of the report in deference to Panetta's then-upcoming retirement. A senior Defense official said at the time that was incorrect.
"It's wrong for anyone to suggest the investigation has been held up for political reasons or to avoid embarrassment," the official said then. "The investigation simply hasn't concluded. These things often take time."
Almost six months later, the report still has not been officially released and a spokesperson for the IG's office told ABC News they do not have a projected date of completion.
"We are working diligently to complete the project as soon as possible," the spokesperson said, declining to comment on allegations of political pressure. In his letter to Hagel, King reminded the military chief that "any pressure placed upon DOD IG personnel, to prevent or prohibit them from carrying out or completing their investigation, would violate the Inspector General Act of 1978."
After "Zero Dark Thirty" was released in January, Panetta said it was "great," but he would have preferred to have been played by Al Pacino, rather than James Gandolfini.