A movie about SEAL Team Six’s killing of Osama bin Laden that is the focus of a growing controversy over possible national security breaches is being distributed by a production company with very close ties to the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
"Zero Dark Thirty" will be distributed by Columbia Pictures, a production house owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which has publicly thrown its support behind President Obama.
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The Obama administration is in hot water for helping the film’s director and screenwriter gain unprecedented and potentially dangerous access to a plethora of typically off-limits sources such as White House officials, operational details of the bin Laden raid, and the top-secret room where the operation was planned.
Sony is a prominent backer of team Obama, holding a fundraiser for the president on its studio lot last month and contributing great sums of money to Democrats. The Sony fundraiser was part of a West Coast tour that netted the president's campaign more than $4 million.
Kathryn Bigelow, the film’s director, has contributed at least $200 to the Obama campaign.
The movie was scheduled for release about a month before November’s presidential election, raising questions about whether the administration traded top-secret access for bolstering Obama’s image.
Since then, the release date has been pushed back to after the election.
It is unclear whether Obama cut military leaders out of the decision-making process on Afghanistan so that they could have more time to brief the filmmakers.
Newly revealed documents made available by Judicial Watch show that the pro-Obama filmmakers were provided a startling amount of access.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.), slammed the White House for risking the country’s national security by providing such high-level access to a duo of Hollywood bigwigs.
The emails portray "a damning story of extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with top officials at the CIA, the [Department of Defense] and the White House and a top Democratic lobbying firm," Rep. King said, according to the Daily Caller.
"Is it CIA practice to meet with registered lobbyists in order to facilitate access to National Clandestine Service personnel?" King asked. "Were [CIA spies] introduced to Boal and Bigelow over the objections of the Director of the [CIA counterterrorism center], who apparently declined to meet with the filmmakers?"
Access was granted to one of the operational commanders who planned the Bin Laden raid, as well as a member of Seal Team Six, the Navy unit tasked with carrying out the mission against bin Laden.
The extent of the access was sustained and reached to the highest levels of the U.S. security infrastructure, according to Reuters:
Among the documents the group said it obtained is a transcript of a July 14, 2011, meeting with Pentagon officials in which Bigelow and Boal indicate that Boal met with White House National Security Council official Denis McDonough and chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to discuss the film project.
According to Judicial Watch, the transcript quotes Michael Vickers, the Pentagon's intelligence chief, giving the filmmakers the identity of a senior SEAL team member involved in the raid on the condition that "you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant, because … he shouldn't be talking out of school."
The White House has refused to speak to the media about the information contained in these documents.