Top special operations commander Adm. William McRaven ordered a transfer of military files detailing the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout from the Defense Department to the CIA.
McRaven’s decision seems not to have effected the Obama administration, which vowed that it would be the most transparent in U.S. history, though it violated federal rules and the Freedom of Information Act.
According to CIA spokesperson Preston Golson, the Navy SEALS worked temporarily under the command of the CIA, which would make the record of their raid on bin Laden’s hideout confidential CIA information and exempt under the FOIA.
“Records of a CIA operation such as the [bin Laden] raid, which were created during the conduct of the operation by persons acting under the authority of the CIA Director, are CIA records,” Golson said.
The Associated Press noted that moving the documents allowed the Pentagon to deny any record of them – a move the AP believes could be a new policy for removing sensitive information from the public eye.
“Welcome to the shell game in place of open government,’’ Director of the National Security Archive, a private research institute at George Washington University, Thomas Blanton said. ‘‘Guess which shell the records are under. If you guess the right shell, we might show them to you. It’s ridiculous.’’
The quiet transfer was mentioned in the final page of an inspector general’s report, which mentioned the Obama administration granting special privileges to Hollywood executives planning “Zero Dark Thirty,” a movie about the raid.
The report was released by Project on Government Oversight, a non-profit government watchdog group in Washington.