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DoD widens inquiry into 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Bin Laden's compound

The Department of Defense has widened the investigation into two filmakers’ access to classified information concerning the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

According to a Sept. 24 Defense Department memo made available by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY), the Department of Defense inspector general has expanded its initial investigation of the military’s alleged collaboration with the makers of a Sony Pictures movie, Zero Dark Thirty, that delves into classified details of the raid.

The memo, sent to a list of DoD public affairs offices, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, asks for an expanded review to “address concerns on the protection of classified or sensitive information and on oversight of sensitive inter-agency operations.” 

As part of the expanded investigation, the Inspector General said it would review policies and procedures concerning interactions between the military and the media, as well as processes for releasing sensitive or classified information to the media.

King said the memo vindicates his ongoing efforts to probe the alleged leaks of classified information about the raid to filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.  King, a long-time critic of the White House’s handling of the information on raid, had requested an inquiry into the leaks in August, 2011. This past May, he stepped up criticism after legal watchdog group Judicial Watch released transcripts of meetings and communications between director Bigelow, screenwriter Boal and individuals in the military and government involved in planning the Bin Laden assault.

King commended the broader DoD inquiry. “I eagerly await the findings of the first phase of this investigation into potential exposure of Special Operations Forces personnel to filmmakers Kathyrn Bigelow and Mark Boal.  I am hopeful that this ‘Phase II’ investigation will address the broader issue of ongoing leaks of classified information by the White House which began only hours after our special operators successfully executed this covert mission,” he said in a Sept. 28 statement.