Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal Consulted White House Officials For Bin Laden Movie

2012-10 REP Zero Dary Thirty Kathryn Bigelow Mark Boal H
Rajnish Katyal/Hindustan Times/Newscom

Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, on set in Chandigarh, India, have released information only on a need-to-know basis.

A watchdog organization uncovered 153 pages of records revealing meetings between the filmmakers and White House officials.

Both Washington and Hollywood are abuzz Wednesday after an organization uncovered information revealing that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal met with officials from different agencies to prepare for her upcoming film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents indicating that the Department of Defense and the CIA granted access to Bigelow and Boal to a “planner, Operator and Commander of SEAL Team Six,” the team responsible for the capture and killing of bin Laden.

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As reported on the Judicial Watch website, the organization highlighted significant passages from some 153 pages of records secured via the Freedom of Information Act. According to a transcript of a July 14, 2011, meeting between DOD officials including Under Secretary for Defense Michael Vickers, Boal said, “I took your guidance and spoke to the [White House] and had a good meeting with Brennan and McDonough and I plan to follow up with them; and they were forward leaning and interested in sharing their point of view; command and control; so that was great, thank you.”

“Brennan and McDonough” appears to refer to Chief Counterterrorism Advisor to President Obama John O. Brennan, and Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.

While Judicial Watch’s report scrutinizes the collaboration between government officials only after Team Six killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011, the report argues that the Obama administration agreed to cooperate in order to fuel the President’s re-election campaign. Complaining about the White House’s efforts to stall the organization’s requests for death photos of the Al-Qaeda leader, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “These documents, which took nine months and a federal lawsuit to disgorge from the Obama administration, show that politically-connected filmmakers were giving extraordinary and secret access to bin Laden raid information, including the identity of a Seal Team Six leader.

“It is both ironic and hypocritical that the Obama administration stonewalled Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden death photos, citing national security concerns, yet seemed willing to share intimate details regarding the raid to help Hollywood filmmakers release a movie ‘perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost’ to the Obama campaign.”

Bigelow and Boal, as well as representatives for Sony Pictures, which will release the film in December, declined to comment on the records. They instead repeated a statement issued in August in which they highlighted the long-term efforts of the filmmakers to secure as much information as possible for the film.

“Our upcoming film project about the decade-long pursuit of bin Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the collective efforts of three administrations, including those of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as well as the cooperative strategies and implementation by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency,” the statement said.

“Indeed, the dangerous work of finding the world’s most wanted man was carried out by individuals in the military and intelligence communities who put their lives at risk for the greater good without regard for political affiliation. This was an American triumph, both heroic and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise.”