The official version of a Pentagon report about its dealings with Hollywood over the making of “Zero Dark Thirty” omits allegations included in an earlier leaked copy, which alleged then-CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed classified information.
The Defense Department’s final version of the document appeared Friday, but in an earlier draft, which was published last week by the Project on Government Oversight, Panetta was accused of discussing classified information at a 2011 CIA event attended by the film’s screenwriter
Bridget Ann Serchak, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon’s inspector general, said issues related to Panetta were referred to the CIA’s IG.
“As with any IG work product, the working draft was edited and revised during a rigorous internal review process
,” Serchak said in a statement to POLITICO. “No third parties, to include anyone from the Office of the Secretary of Defense or the Executive Office of the President, attempted to influence the content of the report or its release date.”
The final version of the IG’s report references the CIA event but omits a paragraph in the draft version that said Panetta “specifically recognized the unit that conducted the [Osama bin Laden] raid and identified the ground commander by name
.” That information was protected from public release, according to the draft report, and amounted to divulging a secret
The final report released Friday also makes clear there was resistance within the Pentagon to providing access to the makers of “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal did not formally request the Defense Department’s support for the film but did meet with military officials as part of their research.
The report quotes “DoD’s director of entertainment media” — Philip Strub — as saying he wasn’t eager to deal with the two filmmakers because of their portrayal of the military in a previous film, “The Hurt Locker,” but was overruled by higher-ups.
“I wasn’t given the choice of whether to authorize it or not,” he said, according to the final report. “I mean, these senior people do whatever they want
In a 2011 email, then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Doug Wilson
told Boal, “If you have any problems with [Strub] on any of this, come to me.”
Later, Wilson emailed Boal that he and other top Pentagon officials would “work to unclog the SOCOM pathway for you
,” referring to U.S. Special Operations Command. Boal wanted to interview Navy SEALs as part of his research, but Special Operations Command officials had expressed reservations about making people available.
Investigators began looking into the Pentagon’s relationship with the “Zero Dark Thirty” filmmakers after a New York Times columnist wrote that Obama administration officials hoped the movie, then expected for release around the time of the 2012 elections, would portray the president in a heroic light and help him at the polls