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Peter King Alleges Illegal White House-Hollywood Collaboration On Bin Laden Film

By Ben Armbruster on August 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm

"Peter King Alleges Illegal White House-Hollywood Collaboration On Bin Laden Film"

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Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal — the filmmakers who won an Oscar for The Hurt Locker — have been working on a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden since 2008. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote last weekend that Bigelow and Boal “are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history” from the Obama administration, “perfectly timed” Dowd says, “to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher.”

Taking cue from Dowd’s column, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has extrapolated a nefarious collusion between Hollywood and the White House on the film. Today he sent a letter to the Defense Department and the CIA demanding an investigation into whether the administration leaked classified information. The National Journal reports that “King wrote that participation by military and CIA officials in making a film about the raid is bound to increase such leaks and undermine the organizations’ hard-won reputations as ‘quiet professionals.’” The letter continues:

“The 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,” King said. “In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney — noting that all media, including journalists, reporters, writers, and yes, filmmakers, have access to administration officials — called King’s claims “ridiculous“:

“When people — including you — in this room are working on articles, books, documentaries, or movies that involve the president and ask to speak to an administration official, we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the facts are correct,” Carney said. “That is hardly a novel approach to the media. We do not discuss classified information.”

Checkpoint Washington reports that Bigelow and Boal also issued a statement on King’s antics:

Bigelow and Boal said their film “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 Central Intelligence Agency.”

“This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan,” the filmmakers said, “and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise.”

Update

ThinkProgess’s Alyssa Rosenberg notes, “This is, of course, a deeply goofy concern. The Defense Department and intelligence agencies have a reputation for being extremely available to Hollywood, and presumably know how to brief filmmakers without damaging the national interest.”

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