Congressman calls for probe of Bigelow's Bin Laden movie
Director Kathryn Bigelow hasn't yet called "action" on her movie about the capture of Osama bin Laden, but the project is already stirring up controversy. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to the CIA and the Department of Defense on Tuesday asking for an investigation into whether the White House has granted Bigelow and Sony Pictures access to confidential information for the project.
"I’m very concerned that any sensitive information could be disclosed in a movie," King said in a phone interview. "The procedures and operations that we used in this raid are very likely what we'll use in other raids. There’s no way a director would know what could be tipping off the enemy."
King also seems to be concerned about the possible political ramifications of the film, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters in October 2012.
"The fact that the movie is going to be released three weeks before election day, the people at the CIA told me they had no idea that this was the plan," he added. "They were never told it was gonna come out so close to election day."
King said he had spoken to members of the CIA who confirmed that the agency is working with the filmmakers. "There’s a division in the agency," King said. "Some wanted to cooperate, some didn’t."
In a press briefing Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged the filmmakers have been in touch with the administration but called King's claims that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal had gotten access to confidential information "ridiculous."
"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," Carney said. "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."
Bigelow and Boal, who both won Oscars for their 2009 Iraq war movie "The Hurt Locker," also responded to King in a statement issued through Sony Pictures.
“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. 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.”
Bigelow's movie, once known as "Kill Bin Laden," is currently untitled.
-- Rebecca Keegan
Photo: Kathryn Bigelow. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times