Congressman Feuds With Administration Over Movie

By: AP
By: AP

A movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, expected in theaters just weeks before the 2012 presidential election, is already generating a partisan political feud.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says he's worried that the Obama administration will only be too happy to give sensitive details about the Navy SEAL mission to the Oscar-winning moviemakers behind the project.

White House spokesman Jay Carney suggests that King should have better things to do than complain about a movie.

King on Wednesday sought an investigation by the CIA and Pentagon inspectors general, wanting them to review the administration's cooperation with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, both Academy Award winners for the 2009 film "The Hurt Locker." The bin Laden movie will be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

King said too much information already has leaked out about the Navy SEALs raid in May that killed bin Laden in Pakistan, and he noted that Pentagon officials have cautioned against further discussion of the mission.

Among other things, King asked the inspectors general to determine what consultations occurred in the administration about providing Hollywood with access to covert military operators and clandestine CIA officers.

Carney told reporters: "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 that 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 the continued threat from terrorism, the House Committee on Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than a movie."

Carney said information provided about the raid was focused on President Barack Obama's role and it's the same information given to anybody writing about the topic.

In an interview, King said, "People in the CIA reached out to me saying they were opposed to this." But he acknowledged that others in the spy agency were willing to cooperate.

"Most SEALs want to stay in the background," he said, and not "tip off the enemy of what they do and don't do."

King said he was not trying to take credit away from the president.

"I, as much as anyone after the killing of bin Laden, gave full credit to the president," he said. "I knew this was an extremely tough decision. Top people in the administration were opposed to it. It was courageous, heroic and showed real leadership."

Bigelow and Boal say their movie will be nonpartisan.

"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 CIA," they said in a statement.

"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 nonpartisan, and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise."

Marine Col. Dave Lapan, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters the film project is only in the script development phase.

"DoD is providing assistance with script research, which is something we commonly do for established filmmakers," Lapan said. "Until there is a script to review, and a request for equipment or other DoD support, there is no formal agreement for DoD support."

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  • by CG Location: Colorado Springs on Aug 15, 2011 at 10:04 AM
    It is not the movie I care about. It is the political benefit to the President only weeks before we Americans go to vote for the next President. Seems to me if it wasn't going to be released for a boost in the ratings before the election then they can postpone the release until after the voting is done...hmmmm seems like a common sense thing to do to take this issue and make it a non-issue.
  • by 7 Location: United States on Aug 13, 2011 at 08:46 AM
    So I guess it would just be so impossible to believe that Hollywood and the political machine are bed buddies eh?
  • by Anonymous on Aug 13, 2011 at 12:18 AM
    This war isn't ending. That's why they need all the positive vibe they can create. It's like the current wave of surprise visits from soldier dads. Just a little happy diversion from the reality of it all.
  • by elmop on Aug 12, 2011 at 08:45 PM
    How about we worry about our fn economy, jobs and the downgrading of our debt and forget about the bast--- that is gone and doesn't need further attention!
  • by Gillian Location: Colorado Springs on Aug 12, 2011 at 03:17 PM
    Does anyone realize that putting out this movie with inflate tensions in the middle east and/or put our troops at risk? IF the Obama administration gave a hoot about our men or women serving their country, he should stop this movie in its track. It is so wrong!!!
  • by jay Location: victor valley calif on Aug 12, 2011 at 01:54 PM
    Supreme court banned "the Hillary Movie" to be shown in theaters that had not voted in the primaries yet0-there is a precendent set-this would be considered a high doillar Hollywood production campaign Donation just like the "Hillary movie" was decided. We all knew it was to make obama the star as Carney said, with obama its all about Me Me Me Me
  • by Chuck Location: Springs on Aug 12, 2011 at 01:26 PM
    Hollywood releases movies based on $$, Congress or the President sure won't dictate that. Money is the name of the game in Hollywood, so take a chill pill.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 12, 2011 at 12:56 PM
    Since when are movie makers so interested in facts? The whole idea about movies is to make up facts.
  • by John Location: Colorado Springs on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:49 AM
    If the Obama administration really wants to prove the timing of the release isn't about politics, then the producers should release the movie a few weeks after the November 2012 election.
  • by Kevin Location: Springs on Aug 12, 2011 at 11:45 AM
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