Friday, 25 May 2012

King blasts Obama administration over bin Laden operation movie – Homeland Security News Wire


On Wednesday, Representative Peter King (R-New York), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement scathingly critical of the Obama administration after the release of internal CIA and Department of Defense e-mail messages related to the planned Sony Pictures movie on the mission in which U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden; King says that there was an “extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration” between the film makers and top officials at the CIA, DoD, and the White Hous.


Representative Peter King raises question of film makers access to classified materials
On Wednesday, Representative Peter King (R-New York), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement and sent two letters in response to the release of internal CIA and Department of Defense e-mail messages related to the planned Sony Pictures movie on the mission in which U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden.

The documents were released yesterday by Judicial Watch, which obtained them, via court order, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. See links to the documents here.

King said:
Filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal may have set out to tell a blockbuster, election-year story about one of the most highly classified operations in American history, but through these e-mails they’ve ended up telling a damning story of extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with top officials at the CIA, DoD, and the White House and a top Democratic lobbying firm.
After reviewing these e-mails, I am even more concerned about the possible exposure of classified information to these filmmakers, who as far as I know, do not possess security clearances.  The e-mail messages indicate that the filmmakers were allowed an unprecedented visit to a classified facility so secret that its name is redacted in the released e-mail.  If this facility is so secret that the name cannot even be seen by the public, then why in the world would the Obama Administration allow filmmakers to tour it?  The e-mails also tell of these filmmakers being allowed to tour the CIA’s vaults, which is absolutely shocking to those of us who know the sensitive nature of materials kept there.
Also troubling is the fact that the Democratic lobbying firm Glover Park Group was so intimately involved in brokering these filmmakers’ access to clandestine officers and potentially special operators only weeks after the mission and when details were otherwise still very closely guarded, and one of Glover Park’s primary contacts within the Administration, CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf, left shortly thereafter to join President Obama’s reelection campaign in Chicago.
This is a very serious issue.  We simply cannot forget what then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates said a week after the raid:  ‘Frankly, a week ago Sunday, in the Situation Room, we all agreed that we would not release any operational details from the effort to take out bin Laden.  That all fell apart on Monday, the next day.

Also on Wednesday, King sent letters to Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers and Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell voicing his concerns about the potential release of classified information to the filmmakers.  See the signed letters sent to Vickers and Morell here.
In August, King requested that the Inspectors General at the DoD and the CIA investigate reports that the Obama administration granted Sony Pictures and filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal high-level access for a film on the mission.  The film was originally reported to have a planned release of October 2012, just a month before the November 2012 elections.

In December, the DoD Inspector General informed King that, following an initial review, the Inspector General for Intelligence and Special Program Assessments had launched a formal investigation into “actions taken by Defense Department personnel related to the release of information to the filmmakers.”
Previously, the CIA’s Inspector General informed King that the Agency was to develop “a written policy to create a single point of reference that will govern future interactions with the entertainment industry.”
See King’s 9 August letter requesting the investigation here. See the December 2011 letter from DoD to King here. See the November 2011 letter from the CIA to King here.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, questioned about King’s request on 10 August, dismissed King’s concerns, saying “I would hope that as we face a continued threat from terrorism, the House Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than a movie.”
King’s spokesman says that Wednesday’s disclosures demonstrate just how “valid Chairman King’s concerns were and how reckless Administration conduct was.”

Source: Homeland Security News Wire

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