Did Panetta leak classified info to Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers?

posted at 10:42 am on June 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

According to Politico, that’s the conclusion of an Inspector General report.  The information on the raid was classified as Secret and Top Secret, and its dissemination to the filmmakers has been a controversial point ever since the film was announced:

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama Bin Laden raid and named the unit’s ground commander at a 2011 ceremony attended by Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal, according to a draft Pentagon inspector general’s report obtained by a watchdog group.

Panetta also disclosed classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret” during his presentation at the CIA awards ceremony, says the draft IG report published Wednesday by the Project on Government Oversight.

The report does not make clear whether Panetta was aware that Boal was present at the ceremony, held under a tent at the CIA complex on June 24, 2011. “Approximately 1300” people from the military and the intelligence community were on hand for the event, according to a CIA press release issued the following week.

The timing of the report also sounds … very familiar:

The disclosure of the IG report could complicate the Obama administration’s claims that senior officials have not leaked classified information. Last spring, Republicans publicly attacked President Barack Obama and his top aides, alleging that the administration leaked national security secrets to burnish Obama’s standing for his re-election bid.

The release of the findings in the draft report also raises questions about why the findings have been under wraps for so long, and which of the document’s conclusions were known to White House officials prior to last November’s election.

Say, didn’t the same thing happen with the IG report at the IRS that uncovered political corruption at the agency?  Why, yes it did.  And that now raises questions about politicization not just within another agency — Defense — but also within the Inspector General corps, too.

I’d expect the House Armed Services Committee and its chair, Rep. Buck McKeon, to take an interest in these questions.  Soon.

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