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Pentagon, CIA Probe Alleged Leaks On Osama Bin Laden Raid To Hollywood Film Director

Peter King

First Posted: 01/05/12 11:42 AM ET Updated: 01/05/12 04:41 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has launched an investigation into whether the White House released classified information about the killing of Osama bin Laden to a Hollywood filmmaker who had planned to release a movie about the successful raid just weeks before the 2012 election.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, announced Thursday that the Defense Department has heeded his request that its inspector general look into a published report that the Obama administration gave "top-level access to the most classified mission in history" to Sony Pictures and filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow. He asked for the investigation in August after New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that the White House was pulling out the stops for the Oscar-winning director of "The Hurt Locker" for a film that "will no doubt reflect the president's cool, gutsy decision against shaky odds."

White House spokesman Jay Carney brushed aside King's allegations at the time as "ridiculous" and "simply false."

King said that after Carney's "shockingly dismissive response" to his request to probe for potential leaks, he was pleased that the Defense Department and the CIA had taken action.

Citing reports that Pakistani informants involved in the raid had been arrested, King said such leaks also "put in danger the mission's heroes and their families. Privately, individuals in the intelligence and special operations communities expressed support for my request for a probe. I look forward to an update on the investigation and actions taken thus far."

King said he received a Dec. 23 letter from the Pentagon's inspector general informing him that, following an initial review, the office had launched a formal investigation into "actions taken by Defense Department personnel related to the release of information to the filmmakers."

In an earlier letter sent to King in November, the CIA said it was developing "a written policy to create a single point of reference that will govern future interactions with the entertainment industry." It said the agency's inspector general will review the new policy once it is complete.

Actor Jason Clarke has been cast as a terrorist hunter, but the film is now scheduled for release after November's election.

CORRECTION: This article originally mischaracterized Jason Clarke's role in the movie. He will play a terrorist hunter.
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