The White House is denying that it granted special access to director Kathryn Bigelow for her upcoming film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
The statement came after Rep. Peter King (R -N.Y.) called for an investigation Wednesday into whether the Obama administration had shared confidential documents with “The Hurt Locker” director.
At a White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Bigelow had not been afforded any special privileges.
“When people, including you in this room, are working on articles, books, documentaries or movies that involve the president, ask to speak to administration officials, we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the facts are correct,” Carney said.
The film, which documents the killing of the al-Qaeda head, will hit theaters on Oct. 12, 2012 — a month before the presidential election. Some in the media have speculated that a movie dramatizing one of the high points of the Obama administration could be an “October surprise” bolstering the embattled president.
In a recent New York Times column, Maureen Dowd went so far as to suggest the Obama team was pinning its electoral hopes on the film’s release, noting that “the moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration.”
King suggested that in an effort to ensure favorable treatment, the White House had opened doors to the filmmakers that would have been closed to others.
“The Administration’s first duty in declassifying material is to provide full reporting to Congress and the American people, in an effort to build public trust through transparency of government,” King wrote in a letter to Defense Department Inspector General Gordon Heddell and CIA Inspector General David Buckley. “In contrast, this alleged collaboration belies a desire of transparency in favor of a cinematographic view of history.”
In a statement to the media, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal refuted claims that there would be a pro-Obama bias in their movie, emphasizing that the over a decade long hunt for Bin Laden also included the administrations of President Clinton and Bush.
“This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise," Bigelow and Boal said.