CIA suddenly discovers entire stack of Hollywood/bin Laden files

AFP Photo / Saul Loeb
The US Defense Department and the CIA say that they’ve accidently uncovered a lost stack of files that details their relationship with Hollywood movie makers in the midst of a planned film about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Both the Pentagon and America’s top spy agency are now appealing to a United States District Court judge for an extension in their motion for summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act case involving what materials Washington insiders could have handed over to Hollywood. The CIA and DoD were petitioned with a FOIA request for material pertaining to their relationship with movie makers on behalf of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, but now say they need more time to consider their plea because their latest discovery has unturned as many as 30 new documents detailing the events on and leading up to the May 2, 2011 execution.

A planned movie detailing the assassination of the former al-Qaeda leader, currently being produced under the title "Zero Dark Thirty,” is still in the works, although it has garnered criticism from those on all ends of the political spectrum over what sort of sensitive or classified information the Obama administration may have handed over to movie makers, notwithstanding serious national security risks. Now pending the results of a decision on the latest stack of documents, more information could be made available on how Hollywood was handed information for financial gain that the American public wasn’t privy to.

"The CIA discovered a 4 to 5 inch stack of records potentially responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request that had been inadvertently overlooked during the CIA’s search," Civil Division attorney Marcia Berman writes in a second motion to extend briefing, dated July 24, 2012, published that same afternoon by POLITICO. "The CIA is continuing to look into the circumstances of the discovery of the new documents to ensure the adequacy of its search." They are now asking for an extension in the deadline for their summary motion regarding to FOIA requests for information.

The agency has refrained from discussing the just uncovered files in detail, but Berman writes, " From its initial review of the documents, the CIA has determined that the newly discovered documents are responsive to plaintiff’s request but contain some duplicates of produced records. The CIA estimates that there are approximately 30 new documents (primarily emails), with many documents containing multiple pages.”

Days before the CIA said they found the new documents, Senate Intelligence Committee head Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) suggested that a string of national security leaks have made it to the mainstream press as of late because the Obama administration was allowing sensitive material to seep through the White House. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the likely Republican Party candidate to challenge Mr. Obama this fall, jumped on her statements during a Tuesday afternoon address this week. Following up hours later, Sen. Feinstein said she was “disappointed” by Romney’s remarks in the wake of her own.

"I was asked whether the White House might be responsible for recent national security leaks. I stated that I did not believe the president leaked classified information. I shouldn't have speculated beyond that because the fact of the matter is I don't know the source of the leaks,” the senator said.

Romney had told a crowd in Reno, Nevada that "Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed and punished. The time for stonewalling is over."