Obama administration officials revealed in court documents that information released to the filmmakers of Zero Dark Thirty could pose an “unnecessary security and intelligence risk,” according to a Judicial Watch press release.
The admissions, made during the course of Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking records pertaining to cooperation between Obama administration officials and director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal in preparation for the film, raises questions about the public statement to reporters by Obama White House spokesman Jay Carney regarding the controversy: “We do not discuss classified information.” The government claims that the information shared is not necessarily classified “in isolation.” …
The government asserts that it had protected the operatives’ confidentiality by asking the filmmakers not to share the names. …
Mark Herrington, associate deputy general counsel, testified that the military officers’ “identities would be threatened” if publicly disclosed but admitted that under secretary of defense Mike Vickers released one of the names to Mark Boal.
According to sworn testimony from CIA information review officer Martha Lutz, releasing of this type of information could provide an “unnecessary security and counterintelligence risk.”
Judicial Watch says there is no evidence that the filmmakers were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement or any other legal document that would prevent the release of classified information. There is also no indication that the pair underwent background checks or received security clearances.
The Obama administration gave the filmmakers unusual access to bin Laden-related activities. The Department of Defense inspector general is investigating disclosures made during the film’s production.
Zero Dark Thirty is slated for limited release in mid-December.