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'Zero Dark Thirty' Controversy: Mark Boal Says He Didn't Receive Classified Info About Bin Laden

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"Zero Dark Thirty" screenwriter Mark Boal did not receive classified documents from the Obama administration. That's the word from Boal himself in a new interview with the ABC News show "Nightline."

"I certainly did a lot of homework, but I never asked for classified material. To my knowledge I never received any," Boal said in the interview, which is set to air on Monday night. "As far as the controversy goes -- how can I put this? -- it was an election year. It was real and bizarre to have major players in the Republican party characterizing the script and the movie before I had even written a word. I found that really baffling."

"Zero Dark Thirty," about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was in development before the terrorist leader was killed by a Navy SEAL team on May 1, 2011; Boal, an investigative reporter who won an Oscar for writing "The Hurt Locker," had to re-work the existing script after bin Laden's death.

In August of 2011, Republican representative Peter King wrote a letter to the Department of Defense and the CIA urging an investigation into how much the Obama administration had supported Boal in his research.

I write to express concern regarding ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations. As reported in a New York Times column on August 6, 2011, Administration officials may have provided filmmakers with details of the raid that successfully killed Usama bin Laden (UBL). According to that report, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. and movie director Kathryn Bigelow received "top-level access to the most classified mission in history” to produce a movie about the raid, due for release in October 2012. Reportedly, a Hollywood filmmaker also attended a CIA ceremony in honor of the team that carried out the raid.

Boal and Bigelow denied the claim, something that was corroborated by National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement to HuffPost Politics earlier this year.

When people, including press, authors, filmmakers, documentarians, who are working on projects that involve the President ask to speak with administration officials, we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the facts are correct. That’s hardly a novel approach to the media. We do not discuss classified information. The information that the White House provided about the bin Laden raid was focused on the President’s role in that decision making process. The same information was given to the White House press corps.

For more on "Zero Dark Thirty," including by Bigelow and Boal decided to even attempt the film, head over to ABC.

[via ABC News]

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