‘We’re so excited’: Secret emails reveal how Obama backed bin Laden film to help win reelection

  • Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal  got access to classified information to help make ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
  • White House reminded filmmakers it wanted to  ‘have visibility’ in the film so it could bask in the glory of bin Laden’s  death
  • Film was originally set to premier before  the election, though Sony pushed back release date amid controversy

By Daniel Bates

PUBLISHED:12:19 EST, 29  August 2012| UPDATED:13:01 EST, 29 August 2012

The Obama administration gave its full  backing to the official film version of the raid to kill Osama bin Laden in  apparent attempt to give the President a pre-election boost.

Newly released documents and emails show that  as far back as June last year the CIA thought ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ would be a  ‘winning horse’ and gave classified briefings to director Kathryn  Bigelow.

The film’s screenwriter Mark Boal also was  allowed to make ‘deep dives’ into sensitive information to shape the script as  intelligence officials developed a back-slapping and chummy relationship with  him.

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Mark Boal
Kathryn Bigelow

Special access: Officials at the CIA and the Defense  Department decided to ‘back a winning horse’ by giving screenwriter Mark Boal  and director Kathryn Bigelow access to classified information

Bin LadenPropaganda: Critics say President Barack Obama was  hoping to film would help him capitalize on ordering the raid that killed Osama  bin Laden — and bolster his reelection chances

The revelation is likely to further anger the  Navy SEALs who carried out the raid, some of whom are already furious with Obama  for trying to claim too much credit for the assassination of the al-Qaeda  leader.

In one email a senior CIA official boasted:  ‘I can’t tell you how excited we all are about the project’ — and apparently  vows to keep quiet about free tickets to the premiere.

The White House got in on the act as well,  making it explicit it wanted to ‘have visibility’ so it could bask in the  glory.

Zero Dark Thirty was originally set for  release before the election in November, potentially giving President Obama an  unfair boost to his popularity.

But following an outcry the release date was  moved back until after the poll, even though trailers have already been released  by Sony.

The new documents show discussions taking  place before the row erupted and were unearthed after a Freedom of Information  request by Judicial Watch, a right wing website.

Political: Obama has used the death of bin Laden in his reelection campaign and cited it as a reason he should be given another four years in officePolitical: Obama has used the death of bin Laden in his  reelection campaign and cited it as a reason he should be given another four  years in office

It claims they should have been released  months ago but were only made public now after it filed a lawsuit.

The haul includes emails between the  Pentagon, the CIA, top White House officials along with Bigelow and Boal, who  were behind the Oscar winning war drama ‘The Hurt Locker.’

They make clear that once Obama had decided  to support the film, little would stand in the way of making sure it was a  success — and that he wanted part of the action.

On June 15 last year, an email from Benjamin  Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, mentions  that Deputy White House Press Secretary Jaime Smith emphasised that the White  House was ‘trying to have visibility into the UBL (Usama bin Laden)  projects.’

Five days later Boal emailed CIA  director of  Public Affairs George Little thanking him for ‘pulling for  him’ at the agency  because it made ‘all the difference.’

Little responds: ‘I can’t tell you how  excited we all are (at DOD and CIA)  about the project…PS – I want you to know  how good I’ve been not  mentioning the premiere tickets. :)’

Swift: Bigelow began filming her movie in late February -- less than a year after bin Laden's deathSwift: Bigelow (right) began filming her movie in late  February — less than a year after bin Laden’s death

Other CIA colleagues were also on board — in  an email on June 7 last year, CIA spokesperson Marie Harf wrote to a colleague:  ‘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.’

The ‘first’ referred to the fact that it was  going to come out before this year’s election.

Another internal CIA memo dated July 14 last  year from Harf talks about how Boal has been doing ‘deep dives’ of  information.

It reads: ‘Kathryn is not interested in doing  the deep dives that Mark did; she simply wants to meet the people Mark has been  talking to.’

Other emails from Pentagon Public Affairs  chief Douglas Wilson show that it had given briefings to Bigelow and Boal and  that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates ‘shared … admiration for their previous  film efforts.’

Tommy Vietor, a National Security Council  spokesman, dismissed the significance of the documents and said they just showed  ‘filmmakers trying to do their homework.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2195346/Zero-Dark-Thirty-Secret-emails-reveal-Obama-backed-bin-Laden-film-help-win-reelection.html#ixzz24yd3ejog

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