A government watchdog group is suing the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency, claiming the agencies are refusing to release details of their alleged meetings and communications with director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal.
It has been alleged that Bigelow and Boal — in preparation for the script to their Annapurna Pictures movie about the killing of Osama Bin Laden — received classified information regarding his death.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint — which was obtained by TheWrap — in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The group says the DoD and CIA have not complied with its FOIA requests within the legally required 20 working days.
Judicial Watch sent FOIA requests to the DoD and the CIA on August 9, seeking records of alleged meetings and communications between government officials, the makers of the Bin Laden movie and employees of Annapurna Pictures, according to the group's complaint.
The DoD and CIA acknowledged they received the requests but said they couldn't release the alleged information, according to Judicial Watch. The DoD cited "unusual circumstances which impact our ability to quickly process your request," the suit says. The CIA said the agency was inundated with FOIA requests and couldn't respond within the legally required 20 working days, Judicial Watch claims.
As of January 12, the DoD and the CIA "have failed to produce any records responsive to plaintiff's requests or demonstrate that responsive records are exempt from production," the suit says. "Nor have they indicated whether or when they will produce any responsive records."
In addition to information regarding the alleged meetings and communications, Judicial Watch is also seeking compensation for attorneys' fees and other legal costs related to the lawsuit.
The filing of the suit comes less than two weeks after Congressman Peter King, senior Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said the Office of the Inspector General at Defense was launching an investigation over the alleged meetings.
The White House has denied the allegations.
Bigelow and Boal's film, tentatively titled "Killing bin Laden," stars Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Idris Elba, Chris Pratt and Guy Pearce. Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong and Edgar Ramirez are also in talks.
The Bin Laden project, which has been in development since 2008, will be distributed in the U.S. by Sony.
Originally due for release around the time of the presidential election in November, the movie was bumped to a December 19 release date.
Additional reporting by Pamela Chelin