Judicial Watch • Judicial Watch Obtains DOD and CIA Records Detailing Meetings with bin Laden Raid Filmmakers

Judicial Watch Obtains DOD and CIA Records Detailing Meetings with bin Laden Raid Filmmakers

Judicial Watch Obtains DOD and CIA Records Detailing Meetings with bin Laden Raid Filmmakers

MAY 22, 2012

DOD Officials Disclosed to Filmmakers Identity of SEAL Team Six Operator and Commander; Ask Film Director to Withhold Operator’s Name, ‘because he shouldn’t be talking out of school.’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regarding meetings and communications between government agencies and Kathryn Bigelow, Academy Award-winning director of The Hurt Locker, and screenwriter Mark Boal.  According to the records, the Obama Defense Department granted Bigelow and Boal access to a “planner, Operator and Commander of SEAL Team Six,” which was responsible for the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden, to assist Bigelow prepare her upcoming feature film.

If you would like to receive weekly emails updating you about all of our efforts to fight corruption, please sign up here.
* Email
* State:

The records, obtained pursuant to court order in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on January 21, 2012, include 153 pages of records from the DOD and 113 pages of records from the CIA (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:12-cv-00049)).  The documents were delivered to Judicial Watch late last Friday (May 18). The following are the highlights from the records, which include internal Defense Department email correspondence as well as a transcript from a key July 14, 2011, meeting between DOD officials, Bigelow and Boal:

  • A transcript of a July 14, 2011, meeting between DOD officials, including Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, Bigelow and Boal indicates that Boal met directly with White House officials on at least two occasions regarding the film: “I took your guidance and spoke to the WH and had a good meeting with Brennan and McDonough and I plan to follow up with them; and they were forward leaning and interested in sharing their point of view; command and control; so that was great, thank you,” Boal said according to the transcript. Vickers asks if the meeting was a follow-up, to which Boal responds, “Yes correct; this was a follow-up.”  The documents seemingly reference John O. Brennan, Chief Counterterrorism Advisor to President Obama and Denis McDonough, who serves as President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor.
  • The July 14, 2011, meeting transcript also reveals that the DOD provided the filmmakers with the identity of a “planner, SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander.”  (The name is blacked out in the document.)  In proposing the arrangement, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers said: “The only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant because . . . he shouldn’t be talking out of school.” Vickers went on to say during the meeting at the Pentagon: “This at least, this gives him one step removed and he knows what he can and can’t say, but this way at least he can be as open as he can with you and it ought to meet your needs.” Boal later responds, “You delivered.”
  • A July 13, 2011, internal CIA email indicates that Bigelow and Boal were granted access to “the Vault,” which is described the CIA building where some of the tactical planning for the bin Laden raid took place:  “I was given your name as the POC in [redacted] who could determine the feasibility of having a potential walk-through of…the Vault in the [redacted] building that was used for some of the tactical planning in the Bin Laden Raid [sic]. In consultation with the Office of Public Affairs and as part of the larger chronicling of the Bin Laden raid, OPA will be hosting some visitors sanctioned by ODCIA this Friday afternoon.”  (The name of the sender is blacked out.)  “Of course this is doable,” an official responds.
  • DOD Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson told colleagues in a June 13, 2011, email to limit media access and that he would follow up with the White House: “I think this looks very good as a way forward, and agree particularly that we need to be careful here so we don’t open the media floodgates on this. I’m going to check with WH to update them on status, and will report back.” A day later, he wrote Department of Defense communications staffers, saying: “Ok to set up the second session with Vickers. I am getting additional guidance from WH.”
  • Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers told Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson and two other DOD communications staffers in a June 13, 2011, email that “[DOD] would like to shape the story to prevent any gross inaccuracies, but do not want to make it look like the commanders think it’s okay to talk to the media.” The email went on to say: “For the intelligence case, they are basically using the WH-approved talking points we used the night of the operation.” The talking points called the raid “a ‘Gutsy Decision’ by the POTUS,” adding that “WH involvement was critical.”
  • A June 9, 2011, email from Commander Bob Mehal, Public Affairs Officer for Defense Press Operations, to Vickers and other DOD staff summarizes a meeting with Boal and notes the release date for the film: “Release date set for 4th Qtr 2012…”
  • A July 13, 2011, email to Commander Bob Mehal, Public Affairs Officer for Defense Press Operations, indicates that Sarah Zukowski, an associate for The Glover Park Group, arranged the July 14, 2011 visit by Bigelow and Boal to the DOD and the CIA. The Glover Park Group is described by Politico as a Democratic-leaning advocacy firm.”
  • A June 27, 2011, email to an official at the Office of the Secretary of Defense suggests that the request from Bigelow and Boal to meet with Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers came via the White House press office. A June 22, 2011, email to Commander Bob Mehal, Public Affairs Officer for Defense Press Operations notes, “The White House does want to engage with Mark but it probably won’t be for a few more weeks. We should provide them a read-out of the session you do with Vickers.”  The name of the White House official who forwarded the request is blacked out.

Judicial Watch launched its investigation of Bigelow’s meetings with the Obama administration following press reports suggesting that the Obama administration may have leaked classified information to the director as source material for Bigelow’s film.

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.”

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 bin Laden post-mortem photos and video. The Obama administration continues to withhold these records citing national security concerns.

“These documents, which took nine months and a federal lawsuit to disgorge from the Obama administration, show that politically-connected film makers were giving extraordinary and secret access to bin Laden raid information, including the identity of a Seal Team Six leader,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is both ironic and hypocritical that the Obama administration stonewalled Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden death photos, citing national security concerns, yet seemed willing to share intimate details regarding the raid to help Hollywood filmmakers release a movie ‘perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost’ to the Obama campaign.”

To view the entire production click here.

Sign Up for Updates!

  • prtyfdup

    I thought we all knew Obama in all his narcassistic glory, spoke with the producers and approved the release of the information. But of course those below him will have to take the fall. When I hear the reasons people voted for this man I am stunned. Because none of the reasons include being a good leader and caring for ALL Americans. He is a shame to our country.

  • Steven Jesse Lewis

    The whole operation was staged and now we will have a film about a month before the elections to sway public opinion. Of course if Romney wins the Republican nomination, Obama will win hands down, but it will be made close.

  • Michael Rhodes

    If this doesn’t scream “CORRUPTION” then we American’s have gotten dumber since the Nixon- Watergate crime spree. Absolutely Grounds for Impeachment, but it won’t happen. I even have a feeling Obama will be re_”elected” (wink) no matter how American’s vote. We should have never went to the Electronic ballots because that to can.. & has been compromised. I could care less about this stupid movie, as I won’t be spending my money to see it. The fact that they had Hollywood inside the planning stages of killing Bin Laden tells me this was all timed to get him re-elected. It also tells me that the truth won’t be told in the movie, because Corrupt people are writing the story. We all know our history has been written by the winners of every conflict, & this one won’t be any different.

  • Pam Badger

    I am betting Vaughn’s parents are enraged I know I am

  • tnmccoy63

    S, the Obama Administration doesn’t think we Americans can handle a few pictures of a dead terrorist, but it’s okay to release those and more to the Hollywood elite. I wonder how many Obama underling palms were greased?

  • traseta

    I’m a former WH Military Office Staffer and retired Army Officer. This crap makes me want to puke. It seems that most of this White House hack staff will sell out national secrets and methods to gain votes or some advantage for this corrupt and pathetic Obamunist Regime. It’s truly pathetic and if anyone has the balls to actually conduct a serious investigation and they violated the law, they should be hung. But, hey! If the Clown-in-Chief authorized the staff to spill the information then there’s no violation…right? How many rocks did they have to turn over to get the morons that inhabit this administration? It seems that they’ve successfully installed incompetence at all levels and all agencies.

  • Dugway Sudonim

    The Constitution of the United States, Art. III, defines treason against the United States to consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This offence is punished with death. By the same article of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

    Our enemies will learn so much from this that one can only see it as “aid.”

    Let’s begin the trials.

  • Brandon Burke

    “It is both ironic and hypocritical that the Obama administration stonewalled Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden death photos, citing national security concerns, yet seemed willing to share intimate details regarding the raid to help Hollywood filmmakers release a movie ‘perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost’ to the Obama campaign.”
    Hey Judicial Watch, you already got the photos released. You filed suit to get them. Now you don;t want anyone to see them?

  • Brandon Burke

    Um, maybe y’all should read this: http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/05/24/489857/conservatives-attack-kathryn-bigelow-for-doing-research-on-osama-bin-laden-movie-zero-dark-thirty/

  • Joel Goodman


  • klr

    It seems to me that this activity would (could) jeopardize the country’s national security and therefore, ought to be investigated. Mr. Issa, where are you?

  • Tea Speir

    What part of “treason” does Obama not understand? This action puts this country and our military directly in the line of fire – which is treasonous. Obama needs to be charged as such, prosecuted and stripped of office. There is no excuse in this action.

  • zfettes

    “Release date set for 4th Qtr 2012…”

    Real Shocker there, im sure it will conveniently be released in… hmmm October? The only thing the WH house demanded from the film maker was to make sure the movie is released before the election.

  • Vinny Papagiorgio

    Hollywood has been producing propaganda and psyop films for the gov since the beginning.

    Hollywood is out of ideas so now they turn to the gov for a bailout of material for films.

  • jxgoodwin

    I emailed a prayerful request to our President that on his watch he would never reveal info, pics or video of the Bin Laden raid, so as not to harden the resolve of Al Queda to harm Americans or the protectors of freedom with which we so peacefully rest each night. I renew that prayer that that information be sealed for a lifetime from political donors and any others for any purpose. This info serves no purpose in the public domain, let the dead bury the dead and damn to anyone who reveals it, for it maybe themselves, a loved one of the seal team or our leaders who pays the price for a campaign contribution. It is irresonsible and unsavory, why not just upload the JFK and MLK sex tapes from the Hoover archives while your at it for some extra bucks!

  • monsterblonde83

    So lets get this straight………Hollywood with a reputation for such stellar productions touting the Military……….Platoon, Hurt Locker, The Green Zone and Full Metal Jacket all of which portray our soldiers as murderous thugs are given classified information to make a “Positive” movie about the dispatching of BinLaden? And we are supposed to think this isn’t treason?

  • fetolen

    Obama would do anything to be President a second term, including needlessly sacrificing the lives of patriots.

  • David Sparkman

    Of course you know who will star as Obama (himself). One last moment of glory for the undeserving. The real “gutsy” decision maker was Hillery. She and the Generals forced him to do it. Look at the body language in the “official” picture of the White House war room. Hillery is beaming, the General is proud, Obama is hunched down in the corner in his golfing cloths (of course) with a borrowed suit coat looking miserable. Was it that it is against the Koran to kill a fellow Muslim, or that he had a great golf game going that was interrupted? We will never know unless Hillery talks.

  • Jon Weiss

    Nicolas Edwards,
    “How is this any different than all the other access that has been granted to military assets for the making of war movies.”

    It is different because in most military themed movies, the Hollywood dimwits get access to a single military advisor and some California National Gurad Hardware loaned to them by the state. They are not generally granted access to all Federal Agencies and National Security Assets, they have not historically been granted access to secret data about ongoing military operations and secure facilities that the average citizen can never gain entry,

    Obama is acting like a kid who has found his older brother’s girlie magazine collection and is playing the hero by sharing it with his neighborhood buddies.

    Obama, has compromised national security by his irresponsible actions.

  • Sam Felton

    Democrats will not go to a war mongering movie with guns and death. Good republicans will not attend either. So I predict a 4 day run with a Disney movie beating it at the box office. Also NO other new movie will be released during this time frame mark my words.
    Go to Hellll Hollywood!

  • Jon Weiss

    Obama looking to publicize himself and Hollywierd looking to make a fast buck at the expense of the U.S. Military, this video is another one I will be sure NOT to go see. If Bin Laden is dead, I say good riddance to bad rubbish, no need to relive the event.

    As for the actions of the Obama administration, this is merely one more example of pandering to money. I call the White House quite often, to ask a quastion on national policy, or new laws passed, and I get told “We don’t answer questions from the public.” But the hollywierd elitists get acces to national security secrets as long as they keep the campaign donations coming.

    In this alleged “government of, by, and for the people” if seems that it is more a case of “government of, by, and for, the well connected.”

  • Harry Shapiro

    This is so very wrong. These secrets are our secrets that are under the protection The White House. The ownership lies with the people and not any sitting president. They are not to be used as personal currency. It is a betrayal of trust. You were hired to do a job and part of the job description is to protect the people of the U.S. By not doing so you risk the security of our nation. By weakening our covert abilities you endanger not only the brave men and women of these special forces but put in harm’s way your employer, we the people. Shame on any elected man or woman with such dangerous hubris.

  • Joe Kidd

    Veterans for a Strong America is a non-partisan organization dedicated to keeping America strong. Their recent video slamming Obama for his über spiking of the Bin Laden football finishes with this simple truth: “Our Service Members sacrifice to protect our country.”

    Unfortunately, our current cowardly Commander-in-Chief doesn’t see it that way. And this article provides more proof that Obama thinks our troops are to be used to benefit HIS political campaign.

  • Nicolas Edwards

    How is this any different than all the other access that has been granted to military assets for the making of war movies. You guys/girls want to blame Obama but the truth is that the military likes this kind of thing because it is good propaganda/advertising for them. They have done it for years and they will continue to do it as it suits their interest. It really is a non issue.

  • Joey Juarez

    Wow, Obama was so forthcoming with all this detailed information…yet it was like pulling teeth to finally obtain a “hard copy,” if you will, of his birth certificate…and all for another chance to say “look at me, look at me, look at me!!”…Obummer wants SO MUCH to be on the big-screen before his term is up…would you pay money to see this movie? Spoiler Alert!: Osama bin Laden dies at the end…

  • Tellum Sumpthing

    When Qbama was elected he said there was going to be transparency with his administration. Haha Nothing like transparency in everything to do with the military and nothing else. He is a sellout.

  • m.ptaylor

    Sure sounds like spiking the football to me!

  • Geoff Caldwell

    Real heroes don’t seek publicity, the fact that Obama needed it so badly to feed his ego that he quite probably violated law to get it shows just how desperate the left is to hold onto power.

  • Terry Knows Moore

    Who cares………….no one cares about what or why…..its done, period. The ECONOMEY is all we care about, period.

  • Gregg Mcphedrain

    I dare say – when I am reading ONE PERSON HAS BEEN ARRESTED – I’LL CARE!!!!!

  • Gunny G Alz

    The Hurt Locker was this generation’s Rambo and was so lousy and anti-military, I took it out of the DVD after about 45 minutes. Pure crap. I will boycott whatever they produce with this info.

  • Gunny G Alz

    Absolutely criminal.

    As a security clearance holder for over 30 years, this is as illegal as it gets. Neither Bigelow nor Boal have a clearance OR a Need-to-Know. They obviously outed “sources and methods” which is illegal in and of itself.

    IMPEACH AND IMPRISON THE LOT OF THEM! Bigelow and Boal as accomplices.

  • Dave Williams

    Obama wants so badly to be the hero of his own action film he’s willing to sacrifice national security to make it happen. I’m not sure whether to be angry, sick or sad. Is there *anything* this man won’t do to keep himself in power? The world wonders..

  • dockyortho

    couldn’t have anything to do with the poor doctor in pakistan being outed, could it?


    obama would never sell out an ally for personal gain.

  • Oliver Batsell

    if you want to own “patrioticcitizen.com” it can be yours


  • profshadow

    Borderline treason, to my way of thinking.

    Definitely can put our troops into harm’s way that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

  • Jonathan J. Springer

    As an Active Duty Army officer … I just want to say thanks to the DoD. You’re really looking after the troopers, aren’t you?

    BTW, that was total sarcasm.

    CPT S

  • jltules

    Is it at all possible for this President to keep anything secret? I have never seen a President more willing to tell all of our secrets.

  • daniel.glenn83

    I believe this President and others who have leaked this information and/or given this information should be tried for TREASON, period. This President has washed his hands to many times on issues that he’s been caught in, then blames someone else. More than this DEBACLE, this President has went above his lane (according to the COnstitution) a good example is going to the U.S. Supreme Court and talking about his HealthCare Package. Janet Kagan, helped this Administration work out the details on this issue. She should have, had DUTY, to, ecuse herself from sitting on the Judicial Panel. Hopefully, this President gets rejected and another takes his place. Then, the American PEOPLE will find out what this President has done. He (the President) should’ve kept these Seal Team Members’ name secret. It places them in more harm! Matter-of-fact, whoever approved these Moviemakers a grand tour of the PENTAGON should be fired and tried. How many more secrets has this Administration given away? What secrets, on-a-need-to-know, basis has been given to who knows WHO? The Justice Department isn’t going to do it, a special investigations Lawyer needs to do this!

Sign Up for Updates!