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ZERO DARK THIRTY – Controversy Over Access To Classified Materials Heats Up Again
Note to the Department of Defense – this doesn’t seem to be going away.
For several months, there has been a controversy brewing over access to classified information provided to Kathryn Bigelow and the producers of her project, tentatively titled Zero Dark Thirty, which focuses on the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. It is believed by many that Bigelow and company were given unprecented access to materials related directly to the Seal Team Six operation that took out the former mastermind of al-Qaeda, and that they may have even been allowed to speak to actual members of the team in the course of production.
A watchdog organization called Judicial Watch sued the CIA and Defense Department, as they sought out documents that would prove the level of access that the filmmakers were actually granted. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Judicial Watch had already attained over a hundred pages of documents as a result of the suit, when it was revealed that the CIA had happened upon a “4 to 5 inch stack of records” that may be related to the case.
As a result, a new legal battle is already beginning to take shape over this recently unearthed cache of papers and whether or not they are admissable for the purposes of the suit. Judicial Watch believes the government’s behavior in relationship to this matter to be unacceptable.
As of Tuesday, the existence of the records has been publicly acknowledged, but their admissability in court has yet to be decided upon. Lawyers for the Department of Justice will seek to dismiss the case, but only after an eleven-day delay that was requested by the government to allow time to run the new information past all the concerned parties.
Judicial Watch has submitted a motion opposing the delay, is complaining that the DOJ’s tactics are “improper” as all documents related to the case were ordered to be turned over more than two months ago, and that no suitable explanation has yet been offered to justify the additional time.
There are obviously a lot of hevay political undertones to a thing like this, particularly with a Presidential election right around the corner. I’ve mentioned before how bad an idea I think it is for the administration to get involved with any type of Hollywood-oriented project, especially if it entails giving special access to the entertainment elite.
But, there certainly seems to be something unkosher going on here. The only thing that anybody knows about Team Six is that you’re not supposed to know anything about Team Six. If it turns out that the Department of Defense in hosting meet-and-greets with these guys, well, it’s going to look every bit as bad as it smells.