Judicial Watch Sues DOD and CIA for Records Detailing Possible Leak of bin Laden Classified Information to Hollywood Director
JANUARY 24, 2012
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on January 13, 2012, against the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to obtain documents regarding meetings and communications between government agencies and Kathryn Bigelow, Academy Award-winning director of The Hurt Locker (Judicial Watch v. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (No. 12-00049)).
At issue is the possibility the Obama administration leaked classified information to Bigelow and Annapurna Pictures as source material for the making of the not-yet-released film, tentatively titled “Killing bin Laden.”
Pursuant to Judicial Watch FOIA requests filed with the DOD and the CIA on August 9, 2011, Judicial Watch seeks the following:
All records of communications between any officer, official, or employee of the Department of Justice and Kathryn Bigelow, as well as with Mark Boal, Megan Ellison, and employees of Annapurna Pictures.
The same request was made of the CIA with regard to Bigelow, Boal, Ellison, and employees of Annapurna Pictures.
The DOD acknowledged receiving the FOIA request on August 22, 2011, but advised Judicial Watch that “at this time, we are unable to make a release determination on your request within twenty (20) working days” of August 9, which would have been by September 6, 2011. The CIA acknowledged receiving the FOIA request on August 16, 2011, indicating that “the large number of FOIA requests CIA received has created unavoidable delays, making it unlikely that we can respond with the 20 working days the FOIA requires.”
As of January 13, 2012, the date of the filing of the lawsuit, the DOD and the CIA have neither provided the documents nor demonstrated that the documents are exempt from the FOIA request. Nor have the agencies indicated when the documents would be produced.
Bigelow’s film, which has the working title of “Killing bin Laden” and has been in the works since 2008, originally intended to document the decade long hunt for Osama bin Laden. However, the top-secret Navy SEAL team mission leading to the capture and killing of bin Laden provided the writers and producers of the film with new content and conclusion to the script. As reported by Reuter’s, “It has been alleged that Bigelow…in preparation for the script to their Annapurna Pictures movie about the killing of Osama Bin Laden — received classified information regarding his death.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that the information leak was designed to help the Obama 2012 presidential reelection campaign:
The White House is also counting on the Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal big-screen version of the killing of Bin Laden to counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual. The Sony film by the Oscar-winning pair who made “The Hurt Locker” will no doubt reflect the president’s cool, gutsy decision against shaky odds. Just as Obamaland was hoping, the movie is scheduled to open on Oct. 12, 2012 – perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher.
The moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration.
It was clear that the White House had outsourced the job of manning up the president’s image to Hollywood when Boal got welcomed to the upper echelons of the White House and the Pentagon and showed up recently – to the surprise of some military officers – at a C.I.A. ceremony celebrating the hero Seals [sic].
In addition to Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden film records, the organization continues to fight in court for the release of the post mortem photographs and video recordings of bin Laden. The Obama administration continues to withhold these records citing national security concerns.
“The lawsuit seeks to determine whether the Obama administration improperly released classified information on the bin Laden raid to help with President’s Obama’s reelection campaign,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “I find it both ironic and disturbing that the Obama administration, citing public relations concerns, continues to stonewall release of the bin Laden photos and video, yet seems willing to leak classified details regarding his capture and killing to Hollywood filmmakers.”