Soon the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” will be in theaters. If you haven’e heard about it, it’s a film about the Navy SEAL’s attack on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound.
Here’s the trailer:
The problem is, in order to make a movie about the most important accomplishment of President Obama’s administration realistic, the film-makers were given access to government files and allowed to dig deep into them:
The Obama administration gave its full backing to the official film version of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden in apparent attempt to give the President a pre-election boost.
Newly released documents and emails show that as far back as June last year the CIA thought ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ would be a ‘winning horse’ and gave classified briefings to director Kathryn Bigelow.
The film’s screenwriter Mark Boal also was allowed to make ‘deep dives’ into sensitive information to shape the script as intelligence officials developed a back-slapping and chummy relationship with him.
The revelation is likely to further anger the Navy SEALs who carried out the raid, some of whom are already furious with Obama for trying to claim too much credit for the assassination of the al-Qaeda leader.
In one email a senior CIA official boasted: ‘I can’t tell you how excited we all are about the project’ — and apparently vows to keep quiet about free tickets to the premiere.
The White House got in on the act as well, making it explicit it wanted to ‘have visibility’ so it could bask in the glory.
Clearly they wanted this movie out before the election. Propaganda in order to boost his polls.
An outcry about the release date resulted in it being rescheduled until after the election.
When Judicial Watch requested information on the access, they were denied and delayed. That’s right. Even when they were allowing their propagandists access to classified material, they were denying Judicial Watch access to non-classified material. It took a law suit to change that:
The records – which should have been produced months ago pursuant to a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on January 21, 2012 – include records from a “stack” of “overlooked” documents discovered by the CIA in July 2012. The following are highlights from the records, which include internal DOD, White House and CIA email correspondence with the filmmakers:
- According to a June 15, 2011, email from Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, to then Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Doug Wilson, then-CIA Director of Public Affairs George Little, and Deputy White House Press Secretary Jaime Smith, the Obama White House was intent on “trying to have visibility into the UBL (Usama bin Laden) projects.”
“…we are trying to have visibility into the UBL projects and this is likely the most high profile one. Would like to have whatever group is going around in here at the WH [White House] to get a sense of what they’re doing / what cooperation they’re seeking. Jamie will be POC [point of contact].”
- According to e-mail exchange on June 7, 2011, CIA spokesperson Marie E. Harf openly discussed providing preferential treatment to the Boal/Bigelow project over others related to the bin Laden killing: “I know we don’t pick favorites but it makes sense to get behind a 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…”
- In a July 20, 2011, e-mail, Mark Boal writes to thank then-CIA Director of Public Affairs George Little for “pulling for him” with the agency, noting that it made, “all the difference.” Little responds: “…I can’t tell you how excited we all are (at DOD and CIA) about the project…PS – I want you to know how good I’ve been not mentioning the premiere tickets. :)”
- On July 13, 2011, Mark Boal’s assistant, Jonathan Leven, sent CIA spokesperson Marie Harf a copy of the floor plan of the bin Laden compound and asked him to verify its accuracy: “Per your conversation with Mark, can you verify whether this floor plan is accurate?” The next day Harf responds: “Ok, I checked with our folks, and that floor plan matches with what we have. It looks legit to us.”
- On July 14, 2011, Mark Boal asks CIA spokesperson Marie Harf to provide detailed information regarding the third floor of the compound that were not present on the open-source floor plan: “Would you mind looking into getting us some of the third floor specs…as the open source plan is missing those: height of wall, etc..? We will be building a full scale replica of the house. Including the inhabitants of the animal pen!” Harf responds minutes later: “Ha! Of course I don’t mind! I’ll work on that tomorrow…
- In an internal CIA memo regarding Kathryn Bigelow’s visit to agency headquarters dated July 14, 2011, CIA spokesperson Marie Harf describes Boal’s contact with the agency as a “deep dive.” (The memo was originally classified Secret.): “Kathryn is not interested in doing the deep dives that Mark did; she simply wants to meet the people Mark has been talking to.”
But this support from the administration isn’t the only story, as Glenn Greenwald points out:
The CIA had evidently heard that Maureen Dowd was planning to write a column on the CIA’s role in pumping the film-makers with information about the Bin Laden raid in order to boost Obama’s re-election chances, and was apparently worried about how Dowd’s column would reflect on them. On 5 August 2011 (a Friday night), Harf wrote an email to Mazzetti with the subject line: “Any word??”, suggesting, obviously, that she and Mazzetti had already discussed Dowd’s impending column and she was expecting an update from the NYT reporter.
A mere two minutes after the CIA spokeswoman sent this Friday night inquiry, Mazzetti responded. He promised her that he was “going to see a version before it gets filed”, and assured her that there was likely nothing to worry about:
“My sense is there a very brief mention at bottom of column about CIA ceremony, but that [screenwriter Mark] Boal also got high level access at Pentagon.”
She then replied with this instruction to Mazzetti: “keep me posted”, adding that she “really appreciate[d] it”.
Moments later, Mazzetti forwarded the draft of Dowd’s unpublished column to the CIA spokeswoman (it was published the following night online by the Times, and two days later in the print edition). At the top of that email, Mazzetti wrote: “this didn’t come from me … and please delete after you read.” He then proudly told her that his assurances turned out to be true:
“See, nothing to worry about.”
This exchange, by itself, is remarkably revealing: of the standard role played by establishment journalists and the corruption that pervades it. Here we have a New York Times reporter who covers the CIA colluding with its spokesperson to plan for the fallout from the reporting by his own newspaper (“nothing to worry about”). Beyond this, that a New York Times journalist – ostensibly devoted to bringing transparency to government institutions – is pleading with the CIA spokesperson, of all people, to conceal his actions and to delete the evidence of collusion is so richly symbolic.
The relationship between the New York Times and the US government is, as usual, anything but adversarial. Indeed, these emails read like the interactions between a PR representative and his client as they plan in anticipation of a possible crisis.
We have the Obama administration allowing film makers access to classified files, giving the permission to “dive deep” into them, and the so-called “fourth estate” is colluding with them to keep a lid on it.
Between Hollywood and the main stream media, it’s a wonder we aren’t all glassy eyed Obamatons, chanting “Four more years, four more years,” as we
drive ourselves to work in our electric Smart Cars ride on the public transport to our jobs at the Ministry of Truth.