Heard the one about the smoking gun that wasn’t?
For over a year, the right wing has been bleating about how the Obama administration “leaked” national security information, and specifically, that they leaked that information to Hollywood filmmakers to produce a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden that would premiere before the election and enhance the President’s image. Conservative “watchdog” Judicial Watch sued for the administration e-mails that would prove this gross violation of national security.
The movie in question is Zero Dark Thirty, being written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award-winning team behind The Hurt Locker. Judicial Watch has released the e-mails between Boal, Bigelow, the CIA and the Defense Department. It was originally slated to be released in October, but the release has been delayed until December.
The big “national security secret” that was handed over to Boal and Bigelow? The layout of the bin Laden compound in Abbotabad. The Pakistani government tore it down before any outsiders could get in and map it out, so for any information about the buildings behind the wall, Boal and Bigelow asked the administration for a little information.
That’s it. That’s the entirety of the big national security secrets shared with the filmmakers. The rest of the e-mails are more embarrassing than revealing of any breaches of security. It seems The Hurt Locker was a very well-liked film among employees of the Defense Department and the CIA and they were sort of star struck over communicating with Boal and Bigelow. There were several bin Laden projects being floated in Hollywood, but the Boal/Bigelow project stood out to the administration. As explained in a June 7, 2011, e-mail from CIA spokesperson Marie Harf, “I know we don’t ‘pick favorites’ but it makes sense to get behind the winning horse. Mark and Kathryn’s movie is going to be the first and the biggest. It’s got the most money behind it and two Oscar winners on board. It’s just not a close call.”
One e-mail, from Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Benjamin Rhodes, said that there would be “visibility into the UBL (Usama bin Laden) projects.” Big smoking gun, isn’t it? After over eighty years of co-operation between Hollywood and various agencies of the government for authenticity, that sounds so treasonous, doesn’t it?
For this earthshaking exposure of misconduct in the Obama administration, Judicial Watch breathlessly prefaced the release of the e-mails with this statement: “According to the records, the Obama administration granted Boal and Bigelow unusual access to agency information in preparation for their film, which was reportedly scheduled for an October, 2012 release, just before the presidential eleciton.”
House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Peter King (Republican of New York) called for an investigation into the allegations about the “leaks” to Boal and Bigelow. The Republican National Committee went so far as to include a reference to the “leaks” in their party platform this week, “We give the current president credit for maintaining his predecessor’s quiet determination and planning to bring to justice the man behind the 9/11 attacks on America, but he has tolerated publicizing the details of the operation to kill the leader of Al Qaeda.”
This would all be very amusing if it stood a snowball’s chance of ever seeing the light of day in the right wing. They will simply ignore the content of those e-mails and keep accusing the administration of leaking national security secrets to Hollywood for the President’s glory. The Republican Party and its media do not let facts get in the way of a good narrative.