A Republican lawmaker accused the Obama administration Wednesday of jeopardising national security by cooperating with a Hollywood director planning a film on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, demanded an inquiry after learning of the Pentagon’s collaboration with Oscar-winning film-maker Kathryn Bigelow.
Cooperating with a film “about the raid is bound to increase such leaks, and undermine these organisations’ hard-won reputations as ‘quiet professionals’,” he wrote.
The Pentagon confirmed preliminary discussions with Bigelow and journalist-turned screenwriter Mark Boal about a film focusing on the hunt for Bin Laden.
The White House dismissed the criticism as “ridiculous”, saying it was routine for officials to speak with film-makers or authors to ensure accuracy but that no secret information was divulged. “We do not discuss classified information. 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,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
But King, a Republican lawmaker from New York, cited New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who wrote, “The movie-makers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history.”
The talks with Bigelow, who won Oscar awards and other acclaim for the 2008 Iraq bomb squad movie The Hurt Locker, were at a preliminary stage and there had been no formal request to film Blackhawk helicopters or other military hardware, Strub said.
Bigelow had already been working on a project about the al Qaeda chief’s capture or killing before Navy Seal commandos gunned bin Laden down at his Pakistani hideout on May 2.
Strub said the film-maker met Michael Vickers, undersecretary of defence for intelligence, who gave her an overview of the Bin Laden operation and the decision-making process surrounding the raid.
US film giant Columbia Pictures has won the American distribution rights for the Bin Laden film.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2011.