Judicial Watch investigates Hollywood meeting with White House on UBL


JON SCOTT: Now we’re joined by Tom Fitton, the president of judicial watch, the organization that obtained these documents through the freedom of information act. Is this what you were looking for, or as Wendell suggested, were you only filing the FOIA request for the photos?

TOM FITTON: Well, the FOIA request for the photos is a separate piece of litigation. So we were fighting tooth and nail for that, being told by the administration we can’t get access to it because it would violate national security to release the photos because it might offend the terrorists, but meantime they’re leaking this national security sensitive information, it looks like, to these Hollywood film-makers. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times who exposed this–no conservative—she said she had access to classified information and it was an effort, seen as a stretch, a boost in the homestretch to the campaign in October of 2012. That’s when the movie was supposed to be released. Then we find out from these documents that took nine months and a federal lawsuit to get out of this administration, that they disclosed identity of a seal 6 team operator planner commander to these two individuals. My understanding is those are the most private, most carefully held information in the government, the identities of those individuals. I don’t understand why the administration thinks it is appropriate to release that type of information but basic information about the raid they refuse to disclose.

SCOTT: The raid took place on the first of May–in the middle of May, then Defense Sec. Gates said at a news conference he said, my concern there were too many people in too many places talking too much about this operation. Then this meeting takes place with Kathryn Bigelow, the director of “The Hurt Locker,” that’s the movie that was not always positive portrayal of U.S. forces in Iraq, won Academy Award for that one. This  meeting took place in July. The administration is concerned about all the leaks taking place in mid-May and having this meeting in July? How does that make sense?

FITTON: It doesn’t make sense. The email traffic suggests they don’t want meetings disclosed to American people and rest of the media. The White House talking points today this is the typical way they handle media and book requests, making a movie or a book or doing any reporting would die for the type of access that Kathryn Bigelow had. She had access to the individuals working with the Glover Park Group, a Democratic-leaning firm. She is political supporter of the president. She made a donation in the December of 2011, FEC records show. This was all very politicized. And you know, it’s one thing to say that you can’t release information because it impacts national security, but you’ve got to be consistent across the board on it and obviously it is obvious these decisions are political and they released national security-sensitive information, if it is deemed to help the administration or frankly the Obama campaign.

SCOTT: One of the things, one of the talking, one of the, I guess, counterpoints from the administration about this is that this planner is not actually a Navy SEAL, it is a Navy SEAL planner. Is that a distinction?

FITTON: That is a distinction without a difference. It seems to me the individuals directly involved in planning and commanding the raid, it was listed as a seal team 6 leader and commander and planner, those names ought to be kept private. Interesting they won’t tell us —

SCOTT: Those names were blacked out of your documents but they have clearly been given to the filmmakers?

FITTON: That’s right. So that suggests that is the disclosure to the film-makers was improper. Either they’re improperly withholding names from us or they improperly gave the name to them.

SCOTT: Tom Fitton from judicial watch, the organization that obtained these documents. Tom, thanks very much.

FITTON: You’re welcome, Jon.