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White House Leaks Classified Information to Hollywood

The Obama administration leaked classified information to filmmakers on the raid by U.S. Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 5/24/2012, 7:32 PM

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Reuters

The Obama administration reportedly leaked classified information to filmmakers on the raid by U.S. Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden.

According to documents released by the Judicial Watch media watchdog, the White House released the sensitive information for a film which was first scheduled to be released October 12, just in time to boost the president’s image shortly before the November elections.

Sony Pictures has since pushed the release back to December.

White House officials encouraged the filmmakers to incorporate Obama administration talking points in the film, including the “gutsy decision” to raid the Osama compound.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told NBC News on Tuesday that the Defense Department and other agencies regularly engage with the entertainment industry to inform book and movie projects.

"Many individuals in the industry expressed interest in developing projects on what can only be described as one of the top intelligence and military successes of a generation," Little said. "Our engagement on these projects was driven by a desire to inform the public, not by timing."

However, John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, and Denis McDonough, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, met with screenwriter Mark Boal, The Daily Caller reported.

“They were forward leaning and interested in sharing their point of view,” Boal said.

A June 2011 email from Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers to the Pentagon’s PR chief, Douglas Wilson, states that the filmmakers “are basically using the [White House]-approved talking points we used the night of the operation.”

President Obama often prides himself on making the decision to hunt down the terrorist mastermind, calling it one of the “gutsiest decisions of any president in recent history.

However, a memo written by former CIA Director Leon Panetta recently revealed that President Obama was not, in fact, in charge of operation strategy in the hunt for the terrorist mastermind, but rather it was Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Operations Command, who was responsible for making the “gutsy call.”