Though the White House warned that leaking info concerning the fatal raid on Osama bin Laden could pose security risks, it seemingly changed its tune when Hollywood came calling with plans to transform the raid into a movie. According to records obtained by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Obama administration granted Hollywood filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow (director of The Hurt Locker) and screenwriter Mark Boal extraordinary access to officials involved in the bin Laden operation, and let them tour classified CIA facilities, including the mock-up of bin Laden's hideout. Conservatives suspect that the White House was hoping the filmmakers would depict President Obama as bold and decisive in their bin Laden movie, Zero Dark Thirty, in time to boost his re-election effort. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) called the administration's decision to leak information "absolutely shocking." Was the White House reckless?
The administration leaked secrets to glorify Obama: Everyone knows Obama wants to "maximize the political advantage to be had from the killing of bin Laden," says Paul Mirengoff at Power Line. But you'd think he'd draw the line at letting people — with the help of Democratic lobbyists — purchase "access to national security officials so they can 'talk out of school.'" Apparently no secrets are safe if leaking them can help in the "glorifying of Obama" in an election year.
"Obama administration ignores its own warnings, opens up to Hollywood on bin Laden raid"
Relax. Bush did the same thing: "This White House is certainly not the first to leak sensitive information with the intention of shaping the media narrative (see Iraq War, the)," says Adam Serwer at Mother Jones. You can't blame Obama for wanting to influence how this story is told, since the killing of bin Laden will be a huge part of his legacy. Still, let's hope the final movie includes the whole truth, including any "inconvenient information" the administration wants downplayed.
"Bin Laden filmmakers got 'unprecedented access' to national security officials"
The Hollywood-White House collaboration fizzled months ago: This isn't the first time someone has complained of a "too-cozy relationship" between the White House and Bigelow, says Andre Tartar at Vulture. The New York Times' Maureen Dowd wrote in August that Team Obama was hoping the bin Laden movie would portray him as "gutsy" for voters. But the movie isn't coming out in October, as first reported, but in December, "well after Election Day." And Bigelow and Boal never did meet with the "mysterious Navy SEAL planner" whose name they were given, so Judicial Watch's document request was all "a lot of trouble for nothing."
"Officials offered Kathryn Bigelow inside access for bin Laden film"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- 10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2014
Subscribe to the Week