Rep. Peter King Is Ready For His Close-Up With Bin Laden Film Attack
With the media's patience with his fruitless investigations into the American Muslim community just about gone, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has strained to find new ways to remain in the spotlight. He's called for the 9/11 Commission to get back in business to continue his committee's work, assaulted the Obama administration's anti-radicalization strategy as overly nuanced, and now, he's turned his attention (and thus the media's focus) to the Obama administration's role in the production of a forthcoming movie on the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported that moviemakers behind the film are "getting top level access to the most classified mission in history." Dowd claimed, with no details or sources mentioned, that one of the filmmakers was "welcomed to the upper echelons of the White House and Pentagon," and added that the filmmaker attended "a CIA ceremony celebrating the hero [Navy] Seals" who participated in the mission.
The military, of course, regularly provides assistance to films that follow certain criteria, including requirements that the films are "authentic" and are "in the best interest of public understanding of the U.S. Armed Forces." Service branches even have entertainment offices that work as liaisons between the military and Hollywood.
But King sees in the Obama administration's cooperation with this particular film a chance to make headlines. He's asserting that the cooperation involves "ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations" and is calling for the Inspectors General of the Defense Department and CIA to investigate and provide him with a classified briefing.
The Pentagon quickly shot down the claim that the filmmakers had been provided with classified information:
Col. David Lapan, the Pentagon spokesman, said that the Defense Department was providing assistance to director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the team leading the bin Laden project for Sony Pictures. But Col. Lapan said that no classified information would be provided to the filmmakers.
"It is the violation of the law to provide classified information" to people not cleared to receive it, Col. Lapan said.
So did the White House:
White House spokesman Jay Carney called the claims "ridiculous" during his daily press briefing.
Carney the White House is offering the same level of cooperation ot the filmmakers as it does with other journalists.
"We don't discuss classified information," he said.
It doesn't look like there's anything to King's claims. But those attacks have again given him the media's spotlight.