While the White House went to great lengths to keep the details of last year’s raid on the Osama bin Laden compound from penetrating the public peripheral, investigators are questioning how much intel the Pentagon passed to hotshots in Hollywood.
Lawmakers say that the May 2011 event that nearly ended the War on Terror was among the most secretive in the history of the CIA, and the Obama administration has since shunned the public from any details pertaining to the plan even after the former al-Qaeda leader’s execution and burial at sea. As skeptics scorned President Obama for his lack of transparency in the process and demanded proof, the White House largely left details of the event and what occurred before and after locked up in Washington.
According to Rep. Peter King (R-NY), insiders in Tinsletown were given the key. King, who leads the House Homeland Security Committee, has for months questioned the relationship between the Pentagon and Hollywood. Although talks of a bin Laden biopic have allegedly existed since shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal have been linked to an upcoming film that will dramatically reenact the May raid on the silver screen since as early as August of this year.
Bigelow and Boal previously teamed up for the 2008 release The Hurt Locker, a film which revealed tales of the United States’ recent involvements in Iraq. A link between Washington and Hollywood has long been existent, but King fears that the two being in cahoots can this time cause a great gaffe in terms of how the American intelligence community handles information.
The US has already gone after Pakistani officials whom are believed to have divulged details of the raid. In Pakistan, those working with American authorities without state-given permission have been on trial for sentences that carry the death penalty.
In August, King told the inspectors general of the Pentagon and the CIA that Sony and Bigelow had been given “top-level access to the most classified mission in history.” The “alleged collaboration belies a desire for transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history,” King wrote at the time.
“Filmmakers, if they want to make a film about the war, any war, and they want to use military technology, they have to have the support of the Pentagon,” war correspondent Keith Harmon Snow told RT. “Scripts go to Pentagon, the Pentagon reviews the scripts and approves or rejects any collaborations. Directors know exactly what they’re doing. They get their funding and their weaponry from the Pentagon, it’s a very close relationship.” That relationship between the two, said Snow, has been made clear in not just films like The Hurt Locker, but in flicks ranging from King Kong to Rambo.
America at large, on the other hand, continues to be left out of the equation of the relationship between Washington and Hollywood. The results could be much more damaging than increasing a sense of alienation for the American people against their own government, however. According to the letter King penned to the Pentagon in August, the film in the works “is bound to increase such leaks, and undermine these organizations’ hard-won reputations as `quiet professionals.’”
Now months after King cautioned authorities, an official investigation will begin to probe any connection between the two coasts that would be considered improper. King says that the Pentagon’s inspector general sent him a letter last month that revealed that the DoD will now investigate any “actions taken by Defense Department personnel related to the release of information to the filmmakers.”
In November, King said the CIA would be looking to develop “single point of reference that will govern future interactions with the entertainment industry,” although such move might come as too little too soon after the two entities have long established a relationship that has pumped money into the war machine while perpetuating propaganda to moviegoers across the country.
Following King’s initial attack on the link between Hollywood and the DoD, White House spokesman Jay Carney said such allegations were “ridiculous” and “simply false,” a response which the lawmaker called “shockingly dismissive.”
The connection between the DoD and Hollywood is one that runs deep, but is also one marred by some serious contradictions. While the entertainment industry is going to great lengths to insure that their films are made possible by working hand-in-hand with the Pentagon on script approval and props, the end result in this case will be the glorification of one of America’s biggest secrets for the entire globe to see on the big screen.
Meanwhile, Sony, who has largely invested in the bin Laden film, has spent immense amounts of money on lobbying on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011) to make sure that their products are protected on the Internet. It would seem as if Sony is largely spending to preserve their own intellectual property and keep their contributions to American society free from infringement, yet are more than willing to profit off of a massive intelligence community leak.
Sony had recently been labeled as an adamant supporter of SOPA, a controversial legislation still on Capitol Hill that will largely obstruct the Internet under the guise of protecting copyrighted material. The bill, which came under criticism along with the recent passing of the National Defense Authorization Act that could lead to the indefinite detention of American citizens, have been gauged as critics as attempts to increase a police state in America.
Sony has lobbied in favor of the act, which would largely impact the World Wide Web as a whole, limiting what can be published online and increasing penalties for allegedly guilty parties. After hacktivists with the group Anonymous proposed a cyberwar on the entertainment giant, Sony Computer Entertainment withdrew support of SOPA. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville are all still listed as supporters however, and the Entertainment Software Association, of which SEC is a member, is still adamantly for the passing of SOPA.
Additionally, Sony had lobbied in favor of the PROTECT IP Act, specifically spending funds on persuading congress to strongly enforce culprits believed of online copyright infringement.