Executives at Paramount Pictures considered pushing back the release date of “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya until after the Iowa caucuses in order to help Hillary Clinton.
That’s according to a report from The New York Times, which explored how the Michael Bay-directed movie could have negative political ramifications for Clinton, the Democratic Party front-runner who served as secretary of state during the Benghazi affair.
The Times reported, in passing:
According to one person briefed on the film’s scheduling, Paramount executives briefly considered bumping the release to a date after the Iowa caucuses, but concluded that any delay would simply push it closer to primaries and the general election.
The movie hits theaters on Jan. 15, at the beginning of the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. It recounts the story of CIA contractors stationed near the consulate at the time of the attack. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and two CIA contractors were killed in a series of attacks carried out by terrorists.
Parts of the movie, which is based on the book by Mitchell Zuckoff, “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi,” hint at the contractors’ frustration with U.S. leadership.
“We’re reminders of the sacrifice they’re not prepared to make,” says the character of Tyrone Woods in the movie. Woods was one of the CIA contractors killed during the attack while defending the U.S.’s outpost in Benghazi.
Clinton will testify next week in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi about her role in the lead-up to the attack and her response to it. Critics assert that Clinton and the State Department failed to provide adequate security for the consulate and for Stevens during his visit there on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack.
While the movie does not directly blame Clinton for those failures — nor does it mention her — it will certainly serve as a reminder of a dark episode that Clinton would like voters to forget.
Paramount Pictures CEO Brad Grey has donated heavily to Democrats over the years, including to Clinton’s past political campaigns. He gave $1,000 in 1999 to her Senate campaign. He gave another $4,600 to her presidential campaign in 2007.
An email sent to representatives of Bay’s film company, Bay Films, did not respond to email requests for comment. Paramount Pictures also did not respond.
David Brock, a longtime Clinton ally and founder of the pro-Clinton super PAC, Correct the Record, appears worried about the film.
“Republicans have already made clear they will use this movie to revive theories discredited by their own party’s investigators to continue their admittedly partisan attacks against Hillary Clinton,” he told The Times.