White House: No classified bin Laden info shared for movie
Following complaints from a Republican congressman, the White House today insisted it's not sharing with a movie director any classified information regarding the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
Republican Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for an investigation today into reports that President Obama's administration has granted filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow inappropriate access to information on the bin Laden raid. He sent a letter to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley in response to reporting from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Bigelow has been "getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history."
"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 wrote in the letter. "In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history."
Dowd reported that Bigelow, known for her Oscar-winning film "The Hurt Locker," was planning on releasing the Sony-produced film on the bin Laden raid on Oct. 12, 2012 -- just ahead of the 2012 elections.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters today that the idea that the administration was inappropriately sharing top-level information was "ridiculous."
When people in the media are working on content that involves the president, Carney said, "we do our best to accommodate them to make sure that facts are correct."
"We do not discuss classified information," Carney continued. "And 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 information that this White House provided about that mission has been focused on the president's role and there is not difference in the information that we've given to anybody who's working on this topic from what we gave to those of you in this room who worked on it in the days and weeks after the raid itself."
Col. David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Wall Street Journal that the Defense Department was providing assistance to Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal but that no classified information would be provided to the filmmakers.
"It is the violation of the law to provide classified information" to people not cleared to receive it, Lapan said.
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