Politics
This is an undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. (AP Photo) This is an undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. (AP Photo)  

Emails reveal special access White House gave to bin Laden moviemakers

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Officials at the White House, Pentagon and CIA eagerly cooperated with movie producers who were expected to roll out a pre-election movie about the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden, according to a cache of documents revealed by Judicial Watch.

“I know we don’t pick favorites but it makes sense to get behind a winning horse,” CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf wrote in a July 2011 email. The “movie is going to be the first and the biggest. It’s got the most money behind it, and two Oscar winners on board,” she added.

Tom Fitton, president of the Judicial Watch public-interest law firm, said Tuesday that the documents “provide more backing to the serious charge that the Obama administration played fast and loose with national security information to help Hollywood filmmakers.”

“These new documents show there is no doubt that Obama White House was intensely interested in this film that was set to portray President Obama as ‘gutsy,’” he added.

The emails also provide new evidence that officials provided the filmmakers with privileged access to at least one of the participants in the May 2011 raid, and guided the design of the set to ensure it match the interior of bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, near Pakistan’s largest military academy.

However, the efforts won’t yield the administration any major benefits: The resulting film’s released has been delayed to December, many weeks after the critical November election.

“Zero Dark Thirty” is produced by Kathryn Bigelow, who won an Academy Award for “The Hurt Locker” — a film about a rogue, alienated bomb-disposal expert in Iraq. The screenwriter, who accompanied Bigelow to meetings with national security officials, is Mark Boal.

A July 2011 email shows Harf informing her boss, Greg Little, that Boal and Bigelow would be “meeting individually with … the translator who was on the raid.”

Screenwriter Boal thanked Little for “pulling for him” with the agency, and wrote his help made “all the difference.”

Little’s response was effusive and included a smiley-face emoticon: “I can’t tell you how excited we all are about the project … PS — I want you to know how good I’ve been not mentioning the premiere tickets. :)”

The emails also show the CIA spokeswoman got an advance copy of an article by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd about the cooperation between the producers and the administration officials.

“This didn’t come from me … and please delete after you read.  See, nothing to worry about!” wrote New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti.

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