A yet-to-be-released report by the Inspector General for the Department of Defense criticizes the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers for providing sensitive information to the filmmakers behind “Zero Dark Thirty.”
ABC News, citing anonymous sources, reports Vickers is believed to have disclosed the identify of a member of SEAL Team Six to the filmmakers, however, it was not one of the SEALs involved in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound. Names of members of the team who killed the al-Qaeda leader are not to be released to protect them from retaliation.
Some in the Pentagon think the Inspector General is holding the report until after the current Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, retires so as to not sully or embarrass him.
A senior defense official disputed that. “It’s wrong for anyone to suggest the investigation has been held up for political reasons or to avoid embarrassment,” the official said. “The investigation simply hasn’t concluded. These things often take time.”
The official added that Pentagon officials “really don’t think this will amount to anything.”
Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch revealed that Vickers told the filmmakers he would give them the name of a “planner, SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander” at a June 14, 2011 meeting.
“The only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant because . . . he shouldn’t be talking out of school.” Vickers said. “This at least, this gives him one step removed and he knows what he can and can’t say, but this way at least he can be as open as he can with you and it ought to meet your needs.”
The previously mentioned senior defense official said Vickers was asked by the Pentagon to talk to the “Zero Dark Thirty” filmmakers and “others in the entertainment industry to provide unclassified information on the bin Laden operation. He wasn’t doing this on his own. It’s appropriate for department officials to work with the entertainment industry to try to inform how stories are told — especially those associated with one of the greatest intelligence and military successes of a generation.”
“Vickers is one of America’s top defense and intelligence professionals who has closely guarded secrets for decades, and is highly respected in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community,” the official added.
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