HOL­LY­WOOD AC­CESS CIA granted ‘se­cret level’ ac­cess to film­mak­ers in­clud­ing for­eign na­tion­als

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. - BY KEL­LAN HOW­ELL

The CIA may have mis­han­dled “brief­ings, in­ter­views, vis­its and other sup­port” given to the en­ter­tain­ment industry, says a pre­vi­ously clas­si­fied re­port, now de­clas­si­fied and pro­vided to Ju­di­cial Watch un­der a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest. The re­port specif­i­cally crit­i­cizes the CIA’s grant­ing of “se­cret level” ac­cess to the mak­ers of the 2012 movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” which dra­ma­tized the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the raid on his hide­out in Pak­istan.

While the au­dit from the CIA’s Of­fice of In­spec­tor Gen­eral does not specif­i­cally name all the projects re­viewed, which date back to Jan. 6, 2006, it specif­i­cally cites prob­lems in­volv­ing CIA in­ter­ac­tions with “Zero Dark Thirty.”

“There was an in­stance in which CIA al­lowed an en­ter­tain­ment industry rep­re­sen­ta­tive to at­tend a CIA event in which in­for­ma­tion clas­si­fied at the SE­CRET level was dis­cussed,” the re­port states.

In a foot­note, in­ves­ti­ga­tors wrote, “of­fi­cials told us that the film­maker in­volved with Zero Dark Thirty was in­vited to the event so that he could ab­sorb the emo­tion of the event and that he was told he could not use any­thing he heard at the event for his project.”

While the fin­ished film fol­lows the bin Laden killing with a somber down note cen­ter­ing on Jes­sica Chas­tain’s char­ac­ter rather than a glo­ri­ous cel­e­bra­tion of a na­tional tri­umph, many con­ser­va­tives long have crit­i­cized the CIA’s co­op­er­a­tion with the pro­duc­tion as at least po­ten­tial com­plic­ity in a pre-elec­tion boost for Pres­i­dent Obama.

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion put Hol­ly­wood be­fore na­tional se­cu­rity in or­der to help Barack Obama win re­elec­tion,” Ju­di­cial Watch Pres­i­dent Tom Fit­ton said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day. “Has any­one been held ac­count­able for th­ese il­le­gal leaks? The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion put the he­roes who killed Osama bin Laden at risk in or­der to help make this film.”

The CIA is a fre­quent sub­ject of en­ter­tain­ment industry projects, and CIA of­fi­cials of­ten work with industry pro­fes­sion­als to de­bunk myths about CIA in­tel­li­gence work, present a bal­anced and ac­cu­rate im­age of the CIA and lend au­then­tic­ity to en­ter­tain­ment industry projects.

But the au­dit is crit­i­cal of both the agency’s pro­ce­dures for en­gag­ing with the en­ter­tain­ment industry and its record­keep­ing, say­ing there is lit­tle proof it helps the agency much.

“We found that the records main­tained by the OPA [Of­fice of Pub­lic Af­fairs] are not suf­fi­cient to doc­u­ment that en­ter­tain­ment industry re­quests to CIA for brief­ings, in­ter­views, vis­its, and other sup­port are han­dled in a con­sis­tent and fair man­ner and that en­gage­ment with the en­ter­tain­ment industry is ef­fec­tive in fur­ther­ing CIA’s goal for en­gage­ment,” reads the re­port, which Ju­di­cial Watch re­leased.

More broadly than the “Zero Dark Thirty” in­ci­dent, the re­port said “OPA and other CIA em­ploy­ees have not al­ways com­plied with Agency reg­u­la­tions in­tended to pre­vent the re­lease of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion dur­ing their in­ter­ac­tions with en­ter­tain­ment industry rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

The re­port ques­tioned the ac­cess granted by the CIA to for­eign na­tion­als in the en­ter­tain­ment industry who may not have been prop­erly vet­ted be­fore their brief­ings.

“We also noted three en­ter­tain­ment projects [REDACTED] in which for­eign na­tion­als may have par­tic­i­pated in brief­ings, in­ter­views, and vis­its pro­vided by the CIA,” the re­port reads.

“How­ever, be­cause of the lack of ad­e­quate records, we were un­able to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of CIA’s sup­port to the eight projects, the ex­tent to which for­eign na­tion­als par­tic­i­pated in CIA-spon­sored ac­tiv­i­ties, and whether the Di­rec­tor, OPA ap­proved of the ac­tiv­i­ties and par­tic­i­pa­tion of for­eign na­tion­als,” it went on.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors stressed that “fail­ure on the part of CIA of­fi­cers to ad­here to reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments could re­sult in unau­tho­rized dis­clo­sures, in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions and neg­a­tive con­se­quences for CIA.”

Dean Boyd, CIA’s di­rec­tor of pub­lic af­fairs said the agency has “com­pletely over­hauled its pro­ce­dures for in­ter­ac­tion with the en­ter­tain­ment industry” in the wake of “Zero Dark Thirty.”

This in­cludes cre­at­ing a cen­tral­ized record-keep­ing sys­tem for en­ter­tain­ment industry re­quests and is­su­ing new com­pre­hen­sive man­age­ment guid­ance on con­tacts with and sup­port to the en­ter­tain­ment industry.

CIA has also im­ple­mented manda­tory an­nual ethics train­ing for all OPA em­ploy­ees and strength­ened poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to en­sure the pro­tec­tion of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

“Dur­ing en­gage­ments with the en­ter­tain­ment industry, CIA’s pri­or­ity is the pro­tec­tion of clas­si­fied ma­te­rial and na­tional se­cu­rity eq­ui­ties, while en­sur­ing an in­formed, bal­anced por­trayal of the women and men of CIA,” Mr. Boyd said. “The many changes im­ple­mented since ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ are part of our con­tin­u­ing obli­ga­tion to the pub­lic, to Congress and to CIA to up­hold the high­est stan­dards of ac­count­abil­ity and ethics as we com­mu­ni­cate the CIA mis­sion.”

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion put Hol­ly­wood be­fore na­tional se­cu­rity in or­der to help Barack Obama win re-elec­tion. Has any­one been held ac­count­able for th­ese il­le­gal leaks? The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion put the he­roes who killed Osama bin Laden at risk in or­der to help make this film.”

— Tom Fit­ton, Ju­di­cial Watch

While the au­dit from the CIA’s Of­fice of In­spec­tor Gen­eral does not specif­i­cally name all the projects re­viewed, which date back to Jan. 6, 2006, it specif­i­cally cites prob­lems in­volv­ing CIA in­ter­ac­tions with “Zero Dark Thirty.”

While “Zero Dark Thirty” fol­lows the Osama bin Laden killing with a somber down note cen­ter­ing on Jes­sica Chas­tain’s char­ac­ter rather than a glo­ri­ous cel­e­bra­tion of a na­tional tri­umph, many con­ser­va­tives long have crit­i­cized the CIA’s co­op­er­a­tion with the pro­duc­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.