Representative Peter King
Rep. Peter King is demanding an investigation into allegations that sensitive information was given to filmmakers about the hunt for bin Laden. Image from Wikimedia commons.

The news that there may have been some collaboration between Hollywood and the White House over a possible film about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has sparked a political spat. Kathryn Bigelow, director of “The Hurt Locker,” is rumored to have received inside information on the Navy SEAL raid.

Senior House Republican calls for investigation

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York and chairman of the homeland security committee in the House of Representatives, is calling for an investigation into possible collaboration between the White House and a Hollywood filmmaker, according to the BBC. King recently sent a letter to the inspectors general of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency asking for them to look into possible leaks of sensitive information. Maureen Dowd recently wrote in her column in the New York Times that Sony would release a film in 2012 about the SEAL Team Six raid in Abbottobad that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. The film would be made by Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the team behind Oscar-winning film “The Hurt Locker.”

Filmmaker denies she was given sensitive info

Dowd said in her column that Bigelow and Boal were being given “top-level access” to information about the operation in order to make the movie that the press has dubbed “Kill Bin Laden.” Bigelow, according to The Guardian, says neither she nor Mark Boal was given any kind of classified or otherwise sensitive information. Boal had been working on a script about the hunt for bin Laden before the May 2 raid that killed him. Boal has rewritten the script to include the event. White House spokesperson Jay Carney has denied accusations that the filmmakers were given sensitive information. According to MSNBC, Carney said “We do not discuss classified information,” and that he “would hope that … the House Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than a movie.”

Some cooperation far from unusual

It is not unusual for the White House or the Defense Department to provide some sort of information to filmmakers who request assistance in making a film accurately. According to MSNBC, a Defense Department spokesperson said that the film was still in “the script development phase” and they were “providing assistance with script research … something we commonly do for established filmmakers.” Carney said the government was giving information relating to the events in the White House only. Maureen Dowd’s column, which set off the brouhaha, said the “top-level access” was being given by an administration that has been locking up more people for leaking classified information than the one that preceded it.

Sources

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14485341

MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44103727/ns/politics-capitol_hill/#.TkP8NmWP-_0

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/aug/11/kathryn-bigelow-bin-laden-film

Maureen Dowd Column in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/Dowd–The-Downgrade-Blues.html?ref=maureendowd

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