New word of extra White House help on OBL film

(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- It's no surprise that the Obama administration would enthusiastically welcome a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

But some White House critics say what is surprising is how far the White House was willing to go to get that movie made.

The mission to kill bin Laden is the stuff movies are made of -- but newly-obtained documents reveal the Obama administration went out of its way to give access to two well-connected filmmakers.

While asking a CIA official to speak to one of the filmmakers, a public affairs officer wrote, "I know this is a little outside what we typically do ... but we're trying to keep his visits a bit quiet."

Sources tell CBS News the White House put the movie on the fast track, aggressively looking for ways to help.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., says the administration crossed the line.

"I give the president full credit for this raid," King said. "But it seems as if the White House wasn't content to let that be enough. ... I believe they could have compromised secrets, they could have put people's lives at risk."

The documents were obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group.

The documents say director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who both won Oscars for the motion picture "The Hurt Locker," met with top national security officials, gained access to SEAL Team 6, and visited the CIA, where some of the planning took place.

But administration officials say the meeting with SEAL Team 6 never happened, and officials who did meet with the movie-makers did so to make sure they got the facts straight.

A Pentagon spokesman said, "This is something we do every single day of the week, and this is not driven by politics."

Even so, many officials, including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an interview with ("CBS This Morning" co-host) Charlie Rose on PBS, have expressed frustration over how much of the bin Laden mission has been leaked.

"The night of the bin Laden raid and the assassination and the killing," Rose began.

"The one where we pledged to each other we would never go out in public with operational (laugh) details?" Gates replied.

"And how long did that last?" Rose inquired.

"Five hours," Gates said through laughter.

Critics accuse the administration of doing everything it could to get the movie made before Election Day.

But administration officials deny that, noting that the movie is scheduled for release in December.

To see Chip Reid's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.

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