Championing Responsible National Security Policy

Lawmaker Calls on Pentagon to Release Report on Zero Dark Thirty Probe

A House overseer has demanded that the Pentagon release the results of an investigation he requested almost two years ago into possible leaks of classified information to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

“Enough is enough,” Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, wrote in matching letters dated June 5 to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Principal Deputy Inspector General Lynne M. Halbrooks. “I demand the immediate release to Congress and the American people of the results of DoD IG’s review of illegal disclosures of classified information to Hollywood filmmakers.”

King wrote that he was reacting to a Project On Government Oversight (POGO) report this week about the long-running probe. POGO reported Tuesday that the Defense Department Inspector General’s office (IG) has been sitting on a draft report asserting that, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta revealed Top Secret information at a June 2011 event attended by the screenwriter of Zero Dark Thirty. According to the unreleased IG draft report, Panetta, who later served as secretary of Defense, also disclosed the name of the ground commander of the raid that killed bin Laden.

In his letters to the Pentagon Wednesday, King further requested all communications between the Inspector General’s office and third parties, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Executive Office of the President, about the contents of the report or the date of its proposed release.

“Any pressure placed upon DoD IG personnel, to prevent or prohibit them from carrying out or completing their investigation, would violate the Inspector General Act of 1978,” King added. “Attempts to curtail the independence of a departmental inspector general would present the most serious issue for expanded congressional inquiries into this matter.”

A Pentagon spokesman has not responded to POGO’s request for comment on King’s letters, and Bridget A. Serchak, a spokeswoman for the IG, declined to comment.

In comments to POGO earlier this week, Serchak said that the report had not been completed and the IG’s office was “working diligently to complete the project as quickly as possible.”

As of early this week, release of the report did not appear imminent. Serchak said Tuesday that it is the IG’s practice “to include soon-to-be released reports in our Upcoming Reports section of our newsletter,” meaning reports slated for release within 30 days, and she noted that the report at issue was not mentioned in the monthly newsletter published Monday.

For copies of King’s letters to the Pentagon, click here and here.