As far as clandestine sources for classified material for writers, one can rarely do much better than a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Such was the case for Mark Boal, screenwriter/producer of both Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker, who attended a ceremony honoring the raid the killed Osama Bin Laden wherein former CIA director Leon Panetta gave a speech, the entire content of which was classified “Top Secret.”
The revelation came after conservative think tank Judicial Watch obtained documents regarding the internal CIA investigation of the matter via a Freedom of Information Act request.
E-mails obtained show that Mark Boal was in talks with officials via e-mail, suggesting that his attendance at the event was sanctioned by someone in the government. Although it is worth noting, Panetta says he was unaware that there was someone in attendance that did not have a proper security clearance. From these documents, Judicial Watch has thus come to the conclusion that either Panetta is lying or Boal was placed there knowingly by someone in the Obama Administration in order to make Zero Dark Thirty a proper propaganda film.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton hopes to add this revelation to the context of the larger security narrative, which includes the leaks by Edward Snowden and others within the government. According to Forbes, “The new CIA internal documents obtained confirm conclusively that former CIA Director Panetta breeched national security in order to curry favor with Hollywood filmmakers who the Obama administration hoped would make a pro-Obama film.”
What is clear from the documents is that Boal was in contact with high-level officials in both in the Department of Defense and the White House. E-mails show that there was interest in having “visibility into the [Osama Bin Laden film] projects” and that Boal met with Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers. Yet, there does not seem to be a record of direct contact between Boal and Panetta.