By Kerry Patton
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
The historical fiction movie Zero Dark Thirty depicts the heroic actions of America’s best and brightest intelligence officers and US Special Operators who not only located, but killed, Osama Bin Laden. Today, a select group of elected officials are outraged over Zero Dark Thirty. They have taken an initiative to destroy the careers of US operatives who may have potentially leaked classified information to the movie’s producers.
Unfortunately, they are looking at the wrong people to investigate.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Feinstein (D-CA), and her team of corrupt “feel-gooders” like Senators McCain and Levin are on the warpath. The Intelligence Committee’s panel has begun a review of contacts between the makers of the film Zero Dark Thirty and CIA operatives. Nothing like using intelligence officials as the fall guys when things get ugly.
Before getting too far ahead of the Zero Dark Thirty investigation, let’s not forget statements made by key US officials that prove how untrustworthy they really are when it comes to handling classified information.
January 2012, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta conducted an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes. It was here the world first learned about the life of a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, who once served as a human source to the US intelligence community. Days after the OBL raid, Afridi was tracked down by Pakistani authorities in the Torkham border, apprehended, and approximately four months later in May sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason.
May 2012, the New York Times released an article titled “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will.” It quotes White House national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, Obama’s chief of staff in 2011 William M. Daley, and Obama’s White House counsel Gregory B. Craig. The quotes used by these three men are actual leaks of information linking to classified material.
In June of 2012, Hot Air published an article titled “McCain: Top-secret leaks coming from ‘highest levels’ of White House.” At the time, McCain and Feinstein were deeply concerned over leaks of information pertaining to US clandestine cyber warfare operations that dealt with Iran’s nuclear developments. He and Feinstein directly attacked the White House for these leaks.
July 2012, Sen. Feinstein was quoted as saying, “The White House has to understand that some of this (classified leakage) is coming from their ranks.” She later added, “There’s one book they can read and they’ll see it very carefully,” alluding to journalist David Sanger’s book that reveals the US and Israel developed a cyber-tool used to interfere with Iran’s nuclear arms program.
Now, let’s go back to the whole Zero Dark Thirty controversy.
Hampton Roads had revealed in their September 2012 article titled “Feds: Hide Navy SEAL name given to Hollywood” that an interview was conducted by Politico staff members. In that interview, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers specifically informed screen writer Boal about the name of someone he could speak with to assist in writing Zero Dark Thirty.
Boal was informed by Vickers, “the only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant.” Why make such a request? Why tell Boal to hide a name when Vickers himself failed in hiding it?
Vickers knew the individual he referred Boal to either served in or continues to serve in a classified position. The individual’s name was meant to remain secret. Vickers had absolutely no right to divulge this mysterious individual’s name to Boal in the first place. Vickers is guilty for leaking this information to a non-security clearance holding Hollywood screenwriter.
Leon Panetta is just as guilty as Vickers. Remember, he was the first American elitist who divulged information about a human source for the world to know about. Any decent researcher could have put pieces of the OBL raid together to make a decent movie script just based off his statements in that 60 Minutes interview.
When it comes to enhanced interrogation techniques, Boal and Bigelow didn’t need a classified source. The technique of waterboarding can be observed on YouTube. A million open sources can be found on the internet that reveals the technique was utilized in the early years of the Afghan War. And even Sen. John McCain along with many other elected officials can be observed discussing the technique through Congressional hearings.
Senators Feinstein, McCain, and Levin are going after the wrong people. They are looking for a mid to low level fall guy. They refuse to do a little research and find links that will prove any leak provided to Baol and Bigelow came directly from the highest levels of our government.
This entire investigation is a huge scam and a waste of US tax payer money. Director Kathryn Bigelow and Screenwriter Mark Boal were provided inside material related to the Bin Laden raid. That is known. It is also known that inside material came and was directed from the highest members of our government — not some mid to low level operator.
But just like Benghazi, elected officials have once again proven to the American people how much they despise our intelligence community. They will do anything to cripple the morale of intelligence officers. Sadly, working as an intelligence officer for the US government comes with serious risks — risks from the enemy and risks from the enemy – the second being the enemy from within.
Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is the author of Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors.
Image: Director Kathryn Bigelow; source: originally posted to Flickr; author: Cristiano Del Riccio; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license