Watered-Down I.G. Report on Pentagon’s “Zero Dark Thirty” Assistance Wins Government Award

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Pentagon’s half-hearted investigation into allegations that the military and intelligence officials helped Hollywood filmmakers with their story about the Osama bin Laden raid has been awarded for its teamwork.


At the 24th Annual IG Awards, members of the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General received the “Team of the Year” award for probing the Obama administration’s efforts behind the movie Zero Dark Thirty.


The 14-page report was not well received by many non-government watchdogs, who felt the investigation took too long and revealed little new information about the assistance provided to screenwriter Mark Boal.


The most important revelation consisted of a couple paragraphs stating that then-Central Intelligence Agency director Leon Panetta, at a supposedly classified agency ceremony, revealed top secret information including the name of the SEAL Team 6 commander who led the raid killing bin Laden in Pakistan. Unbeknownst to Panetta, Boal was among the 1,300 in attendance.


Apparently, what was contained in the report represented “an exhaustive review” by the four team members from the Pentagon IG’s office whose work was “focused and timely and will potentially result in making a significant impact within the Defense intelligence enterprise,” according to the award citation.


Others begged to differ.


Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg wrote: “The skimpy 14-page final report recited DoD regulations governing media dealings and largely summarized e-mails, most released in May 2012 by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based legal organization that chronicled cooperation between the CIA, Pentagon and filmmakers.”


Capaccio added that the report “told us what the Judicial Watch documents already disclosed: Pentagon press types, along with equally giddy CIA press counterparts—at White House direction—met with the screen writers a few times to discuss potential Pentagon and CIA support.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Zero Dark Thirty: ‘And the Award Goes to…’ (by Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg)

Report: Leon Panetta Revealed Classified SEAL Unit Info (by Josh Gerstein, Politico)

Final Inspector General’s Report Cuts References to Panetta’s Disclosure of “TOP SECRET” Info (by Adam Zagorin, Project on Government Oversight)

Release of Department of Defense Information to the Media (Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense) (pdf)

Release of Department of Defense Information to the Media (unreleased draft) (Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense) (pdf)

CIA Director Panetta Revealed Top Secret Info to Hollywood Screenwriter (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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