The government watchdog group Judicial Watch has obtained emails through the Freedom of Information Act that detail the extent to which the Obama administration helped facilitate an upcoming Hollywood action thriller about the killing of Osama bin Laden. ABC’s Jake Tapper reports:
One internal CIA memo obtained by Judicial Watch dated July 14, 2011, from CIA spokesperson Marie Harf notes a pending visit by ["Hurt Locker" director Kathryn] Bigelow to the CIA.
“Kathryn is not interested in doing the deep dives that Mark (Boal) did; she simply wants to meet the people Mark has been talking to,” Harf wrotes.
In another exchange, Boal asked 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!”
“Ha! Of course I don’t mind!” Harf wrote. “I’ll work on that tomorrow…”
One June 2011 email from Harf to another CIA colleague, talking about various entertainment projects dealing with Osama bin Laden, stated: “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 another email exchange, Boal’s assistant sent Harf a copy of the floor plan of the OBL compound in Abbottobad: “Per your conversation with Mark, can you verify whether this floor plan is accurate?”
“Ok, I checked with our folks, and that floor plan matches with what we have. It looks legit to us,” Harf responded.
One email, from Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Benjamin Rhodes 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 seems to suggest the White House was learning about the CIA’s and Pentagon’s cooperation with the filmmakers late in [the] game and wanted to supervise:
“…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 to get a sense of what they’re doing / what cooperation they’re seeking. Jamie will be POC” — point of contact.
That last email was from June. Prior to that in March, White House political adviser David Axelrod denied that they were trying to exploit bin Laden’s death. “First of all, the president hasn’t been spiking the ball. This was the one-year anniversary. It’s part of his record. And it’s certainly a legitimate part of his record to talk about,” he told ABC. Axelrod is now on the Obama campaign staff.