Update: White House Says it Gave Sony No Special Access

Rep. seeks inquiry into White House relationship to SPE Osama flick
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UPDATED 3:28 p.m.

Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has sent a letter to DOD and the CIA calling for an investigation into the report in a New York Times column Aug. 6 that administration officials may have provided Director Kathy Bigelow "high-level access" to details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The White House has countered the suggestion that the administration provided any special access or information is "simply
false," and that King's Committee has better things to do than worry about
a movie.

King says that the Obama Administration's first duty in declassifying material is "to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government.

Concerned that the film is coming out just before the November 2012 election and "belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history," King wants some answers.

"I request an investigation and classified briefing regarding this matter from the Defense Department's and CIA's Inspectors General, including but not limited to the following," said King:

  • "What consultations, if any, occurred between members of the Executive Office of the President, and Department of Defense and/or CIA officials, regarding the advisability of providing Hollywood executives with access to covert military operators and clandestine CIA officers to discuss the UBL raid?
  • Will a copy of this film be submitted to the military and CIA for pre-publication review, to determine if special operations tactics, techniques and procedures, or Agency intelligence sources and methods, would be revealed by its release?
  • How was the attendance of filmmakers at a meeting with special operators and Agency officers at CIA Headquarters balanced against those officers' duties to maintain their covers?  How will cover concerns be addressed going forward?"

To read the entire letter, click here.

A Sony Pictures Television representative was not available for comment. The National Security Council press office, which is handling responses, did not have a comment at press time.

In his daily press conference, White House Press
Secretary Jay Carney said that the suggestion that the administration shared classified
info with SPE for the film is "simply false."

"The claims are ridiculous," said Carney.
"When people, including you in this room, are working on articles, books,
documentaries or movies that involve the President, ask to speak to
administration officials we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the
facts are correct. That is hardly a novel approach to the media. We do not
discuss classified information. And 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."

He said the information the White House provided about the
mission has focused on the role of the President, and that it has provided no
information to anyone working on the topic from the info it gave reporters in
the days immediately after the raid. "The most specific information we
have given from this White House about the actual raid, I read to you from this
podium, so it was just simply false."

In a statement, the creative team behind the film, Bigelow and Mark Boal, said the movie is not a political statement.

"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," they said in a statement from SPE to B&C/Multi. "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."

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