Chairman King Statement on Expansion of Pentagon Investigation of Osama bin Laden Raid Film, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, issued the following statement upon receiving notification that the Department of Defense Inspector General has expanded its initial investigation of the military’s collaboration with Hollywood filmmakers on a Sony Pictures movie, now titled “Zero Dark Thirty,” on the mission in which U.S. Special Operations Forces killed Osama bin Laden.
According to a Sept. 24 Department of Defense memo, the Inspector General’s expanded review will “address concerns on the protection of classified or sensitive information and on oversight of sensitive inter-agency operations.” As part of the expanded investigation, the Inspector General will now review policies and procedures concerning interactions between the military and the media, as well as processes for releasing sensitive or classified information to the media.
This expands the already ongoing Inspector General investigation into the Osama bin Laden movie spurred by Chairman King’s August 9, 2011 request for a probe into leaks of classified information about the bin Laden raid.
Chairman King said: “I commend the Department of Defense Inspector General for taking so seriously the concerns I raised beginning last year about the Obama Administration’s extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with these Hollywood filmmakers working on this election-year film. I eagerly await the findings of the first phase of this investigation into potential exposure of Special Operations Forces personnel to filmmakers Kathyrn Bigelow and Mark Boal. I am hopeful that this ‘Phase II’ investigation will address the broader issue of ongoing leaks of classified information by the White House which began only hours after our special operators successfully executed this covert mission.”
The September DoD memo is available HERE.
Previously, White House spokesman Jay Carney had dismissed Chairman 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.”
The Pentagon’s expanded investigation again underscores the validity of Chairman King’s original concerns about the Obama Administration’s potential exposure of military personnel working in sensitive positions.
Chairman King has been a leading critic of the Obama Administration’s collaboration on the film, which was originally set to be released in October, just a month before the presidential election.
King’s August 2011 letter first requesting the CIA and DoD investigations is available HERE.
The November 2011 letter from the CIA to King is available HERE. The CIA 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.” The CIA investigation is still ongoing.
The December 2011 letter from DoD to King is available HERE. 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.”
In May 2012, following the court-ordered release of hundreds of pages of CIA and DoD email messages, Chairman King sent letters to Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers and Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell voicing concerns about the potential release of classified information. The signed letters sent to Vickers and Morell are available HERE.
In July 2012, Chairman King expressed concern that a “4 to 5 inch stack” of CIA documents related to the Agency’s collaboration with the filmmakers had not been released as required by a court order.