December 4th, 2012
08:42 PM ET

"Zero Dark Thirty" take on bin Laden raid courted controversy from start

By Larry Shaughnessy

The new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden didn't even have a title when controversy began swirling around how it was made.

Now the movie is officially called "Zero Dark Thirty," and still some in Washington are concerned about what access the filmmakers had to classified information about the biggest intelligence effort in decades.

"Obviously things went wrong here," said Rep. Peter King (R-New York). "My understanding is that the Hollywood people got access to CIA operatives, CIA locations ... that they had access to the Navy SEALs, which they should not have had."

King said the filmmakers, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, attended a special event at the CIA for the real-life Bin Laden hunters.

"There was an event where operatives were involved, and they did not know until they got there that the Hollywood people were going to be present, which means identity would have been shown," King said.

CNN spoke with Bigelow and Boal, who were also the movie's producers. They are saying very little about whom they had access to and what they saw.

"I am not going to discuss the specifics steps that we took in researching the film other than to say we worked through government agencies where appropriate and did independent reporting where appropriate," Boal said.

"It's definitely nice to have the film out there," Bigelow said. "It's been so kind of debated, obviously a bit of controversy that's surrounded it. And I think it's nice because now the film can speak for itself."

The film was in the planning stages before a team of Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in his home in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That meant the old script had to be tossed and a whole new script written.

That's where the controversy began. The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch said it has records from the Defense Department and CIA that show that the Obama Administration "granted Boal and Bigelow unusual access to agency information for their film."

Judicial Watch said that the Obama administration helped with the film because it would "portray Barack Obama as 'gutsy'." But the finished film contains only a few references to the president, and not all of them are flattering. At one point, Obama's policies on detainees are portrayed as hindering the hunt for bin Laden.

The CIA and Pentagon have begun investigations into whether there was undue access. Pentagon and CIA officials have said that none of the access jeopardized sources or gave away classified information about the operation.

King questions whether service members felt pressured to deal with the producers, suggesting to CNN that "some resisted, some acquiesced."

A senior military official denies that any Navy SEALs were pressured to cooperate on the film.

Boal said that the filmmakers went to great lengths to make sure that their portrayal would not jeopardize military secrets.

For example, they built models of the stealth helicopters used in the raid. Their models were based on pictures of what remained of one of the helicopters that crashed in the raid and additional educated guesses made by aviation experts.

After the models were created, Boal and Bigelow sent pictures of their pretend stealth helicopters to the Pentagon to make the models weren't too accurate.

The movie, which was originally scheduled to be released before the election, is now set for limited release on December 19 and wide release in January.

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Filed under: Security Brief
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Personally, I'm just happy this nation got these B**S**T*RD(s)!!. There's still a lot more work to do in the defense of our freedoms and there always will be!! My Dad's funeral was on September 11, 2001 in Los Angeles California at 10:AM Pacific time. This was the time all hell was breaking loose in New York, Washington DC, & Pennsylvania. LA/California (my home area of my home state) was the destination city and/or state of all of 4 aircraft hijacked as populated missiles and destroyed on that disastrous day 11 years ago. For me and my family the day was already a sh**ty day. I feel for all of those who lost loved ones that day: Whether In the aircraft, In the towers, or On the ground no matter where it happened. BTW I'm a retired USAF NCO who finished his career with a USAF Special Operations Squadron overseas in NorthEast Asia. My units went to war a few times between 1978-1998 and I'm always sorry when it happens because it means diplomacy has failed and sometimes rash decisions have brought us to the brink again. In my 20 years plus of active duty I attended memorial services for around 30 USAF Airmen: Some pilots & Some ground crew, Some related to combat & Some related to training, & Some just dead because they were in the wrong place at the right time & it was their time. I never want to see someone dead, no matter their religious beliefs, but the world is better off without some people in it. People like Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, & Moammar Khaddafy. God Bless all of our troops past, present and future. Hurrah and Aim High!!

    December 10, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Reply
  2. Margaret

    All infowars, what the government wants you to know and what is really going on. The movie is fiction, how many times can 1 person die, our government thinks more than once on many men & women.Look it up!

    December 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
  3. Skipper Sam

    Rep. Peter King (R-New York) Needs to shut up, and help the People in his district, with jobs, education, and health care

    He always seems to be more concerned about what happened in Abbottabad or Benghazi Than what happens in his Central Long Island district that includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

    December 7, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  4. Sid

    Polygamist, terrorist, Islamist, mass murderer... human garbage. Thank you Seals for taking the trash out. I like these kind of movies which have a good story, have a factually basis, and are kind of inspiring. I am curious to see how it unfolded.

    December 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • Osama was dead a decade ago

      I beat off to Red Dawn. Both of them.

      December 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  5. Ron

    Died like a cochon he was. Thank goodness someone is making a movie about it.

    December 6, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • Vic

      Espèce de cochon!

      December 6, 2012 at 11:28 am | Reply
  6. Teri

    A lot of people nowadays know that truth about the system, you cannot fool us anymore dud! we know that its not the real 54d4m or b1nla4d3n who shown killed or died... whether you like it or not, we know your agendas!

    December 6, 2012 at 12:45 am | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      When a mass murderer like Hitler died, Nazi sympathizers vehemently denied that he died because he was a figure of their national pride. We can see Pakistanis denying that the mass murderer Bin Laden died because he too was a figure of their national pride.

      December 6, 2012 at 7:11 am | Reply
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        I guess that's why Americans worship the mass-murderer, Abraham Lincoln, who despised the blacks and had little to no use for religion unless it served his purpose.

        December 6, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  7. Donald

    Bigelow does an excellent job making movies on such important topics. Easily Oscar material!

    December 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  8. tRUEaMERICAN77

    The problem is in this very turbulent time , is do we really need another propaganda pro-war film? America is already been beating the drums of Patriotism more loudly than the world can stomach, and we now are raising a generation that will be idolizing war for all the wrong reasons;just as the same generation who went off to countless death and slaughter just because the Duke said it was the right, manly thing to do. I just don't think this is what America needs after a long and scary cold war has come to an end ,or is it right to continue the ideology of American imperialism put up there on the big screen for young men and women to make the mistaken idea that war is somehow okay ...as Robert E Lee said about it was good that war is such a horrible and terrible thing , for if not men might grow way too fond of it. You need to ask yourself are we growing too fond of it?

    December 5, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • TMhorton

      Read Project for a new american century...these wars have been planned well in advance...

      December 5, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    • bobzimway

      Show me the death photos.

      December 6, 2012 at 9:49 am | Reply
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        Open your Koran. You will find more death pictures in it than you are looking for.

        December 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  9. zlop

    Advancing the False Flag, Black Operations Narratives,
    To prevent above Top Secret Leaks - Helicoptered to Death
    "Mother of fallen SEAL Team 6 member blames WH leaks for her son’s death"

    December 5, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      And the mother of bin Laden blames the Seals for her son's death, desperately seeking sympathy. That is so pathetic if you think about it... But what's you point?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
      • TMhorton

        The point is know one is supposed to know about Seal team 6...but they need to tell the lie..so exposed them...

        December 5, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
      • zlop

        Picture is made of many points.
        There are a lot of dots to pattern recognize and connect.
        The video in the quote is by Veterans for a Strong America.

        December 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
      • zlop

        Similar to Pat Tillman objecting to Afghanistan Poppy field protecting.
        Her Son was killed to protect the 9/11 narrative.

        December 5, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  10. Thinker

    Who planted Paula Boadwell with CIA Chief Petreas ? BIn Laden Plot. That is what movie is about.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • zlop

      "Karl Rove and Paula Broadwell (Kranz) – Operation Egg Timer" ?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
    • TMhorton

      Administration knew about the whole affair months ago but chose to bring it out only after Obama was securely re-elected...

      December 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
      • zlop

        Clearing obstacles to war with Iran (and China ? )
        CIA purged the war reluctant. insolent Generals.
        Übama will have to do as Bibi orders, or get Mosad nullified ?

        December 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  11. Thinker

    Bin Laden is alive and lives with Al Quida # 2 Jawahari in Karachi posh Clifton Road in Pakistan. The person US got was a decoy- look alike.

    December 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • TMhorton

      The most credible reports had Bin Laden dying shortly after 9/11 in the mountains of Tora Bora....research it...he was a very sick man.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • zlop

      "Dr. Steve Pieczenik: Bin Laden, The Oswald Like Patsy Died 10 Years Ago"

      Üsama denied 9/11 repeatedly - Died (or was CIA killed) repeatedly frozen and thawed out.
      CIA made fake Fat bin Ladin Video - even made one pedophile sodomizing.
      Üsama, may Allah Restore his reputation, died 9 times, was CIA resurrected only 8 times.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Reply
    • linx

      Bin Laden's sorry a$$ is toast. Get over it, you loser.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Reply
      • zlop

        Bean was framed - denied 9/11 - then died.
        Needing to distract and contain 9/11 truth,
        CIA framed him - then resurrected him 8 times.
        To Finalize - the fish had a frozen Bean meal.

        December 6, 2012 at 3:33 am |
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        @zlop – I am sure you would claim that Hitler was framed too.

        December 6, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  12. The Sweet Smell of Mendacity

    "Zero Dark Thirty"? How g@y sounding is that? Who makes this crap up, anyway? More Hollywood bs for the sheep.

    December 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      As g@y as Koran dictated Mohammed to be.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
    • TMhorton

      Should be called ZERO TRUTH..cuz it's all lie's...do some research...and open your eyes!!

      December 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Reply
  13. Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

    Who are the three greasy looking f@gs in the photo?

    December 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      Allah, Mohammed and Aisha.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  14. rkfromny

    another example of the world himiliating the pakis...!!!...hope it shows how the coward was hiding behind his 'wives'..and of him getting thrown to the fishes....!!!!

    December 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
    • TMhorton

      Pakistan should not be humiliated...because he was never there...it's all lies!

      December 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  15. ppl

    God should come down the earth and remove all sorts of bad people from the earth if there is any real GOD!

    December 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  16. TMhorton

    More fiction for the sheeples ....CIA tricks...don't believe a word of it!! 0 proof..show me proof.

    December 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
    • rkfromny

      u probably believe in 72 virgin theory though..right..?? paki....hahahhaaa...movie humiliating the pakis...lets see if coward paki govt shows that movie in its state..

      December 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      Just look in the mirror. You will see a seriously humiliated, disturbed, indignant Pakistani OBL sympathizer who is posting under all kind of names. Is that proof enough for you?

      December 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  17. Kyle

    One of the best movie makers making a movie about one of the most pathetic losers in the history of the world. Can't wait to see this movie...

    December 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • Greg

      Would love to see how he was cowering behind one of his many wives upon seeing the Seals!

      December 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  18. Steve

    What a propaganda piece this will be. Makes the president look tough, it will make teens want to enlist, it'll raise some research poll about peoples positive view of the military. I hopes its rated PG for Political Garbage!

    December 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
    • gman tello

      You nailed it good, Steve. Thank you.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • Greg

      Yeah. Killing a terrorist and a mass murderer is a heroic act and can be very inspiring. This movie has the potential to become classic which could inspire many generations.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
      • George Patton

        Good grief Greg, you sound like another mindless Tea partier vomiting your ignorance on this webb page. How old this gets!!!

        December 6, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  19. Missy

    Who cares to watch a movie bout Bin Laden! Whats done is done HES DEAD END OF STORY!!!

    December 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Kyle

      So? Hitler is dead and I still like to see those WW II movies. OBL was much worse - OBL makes even Hitler look like a philanthropist in comparison!! Must see this movie.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        OBL was much worse? You are truly beyond stupid.

        December 5, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  20. PassiveAggressive

    Why cant we see the footage of what actually happened rather than some Hollywood myth making film?
    Don't the dear leaders think we are worthy?

    December 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      We deserve to see what happened.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        "We" deserve nothing.

        December 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  21. Asen Michael

    I think there is every need to produce film to show unto others that every rudget man must be treated in rudget way

    December 5, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • Gary

      A stinking POS should be treated as such and then dumped in the ocean for fish to eat. That's a movie I would like to see.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
      • George Patton

        Spoken like a true Tea partying idiot! Thank you, Gary.

        December 5, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        Run out of kiddie-porn to beat-off to?

        December 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  22. Martin

    Everyone likes to see victory of good over evil. This movie will be especially great since it is based on actual events not fiction.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • George Patton

      Please Martin, tell me what's so "good" about shooting an unarmed man down in cold blood? Especially if that man is already suffering from nephritis and is 56 years old? Contrary to what most people here believe, which has been largely fueled by the right-wing news media, there is no glory in killing anyone!!!

      December 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
      • Samuel

        Because this "unarmed man" ordered two unarmed planes to run into two buildings and killed many innocent people... He had a machine gun close to him but was too afraid to pick it up and too incompetent to use it. What a loser! But it seems like you are defending this loser in all your comments. What up with you? Are you like him? What's your deal here?

        December 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • tango

      you filth amerikans are the biggest evil on earth, u stinky white trash.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
      • Lyndsie Graham

        That we are, tango. That we are as much as I hate to admit it. Blame it on the ignorance of the average voter who keeps on voting these pigs into office over and over again!!!!!!! Thanks for your imput.

        December 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      AAAAAAAHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Thanks.

      December 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
    • TMhorton

      Actual events...hahahaha..thats hilarious!!

      December 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  23. Andrey

    That is a PR campaign for the film: nothing else. They simply promote the movie in disguise as CNN news! Who really cares about actual detail: landed, shot everybody in site, identified the right body, took off.... You will not even notice in the movie the small detail which is presumably factual! So much ado about nothing!

    December 5, 2012 at 9:57 am | Reply
  24. joshh

    osama if is being killed then the intelligence should show that video made by Seals
    Other wise this means he didnt died.

    December 5, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply
    • Hahahahahahahaha

      He's dead all right!! Sleeping with the fishes!!! Hahahahhahahaha

      December 5, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  25. Chris Farrell

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/obama-administration-admits-information-released-to-zero-dark-thirty-filmmakers-might-pose-an-unnecessary-security-and-counterintelligence-risk/

    December 5, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  26. Tutuvabene

    So, how were these people allowed entry into the CIA, for that "special event?" Perhaps the same person was running security at the CIA as at the Obama innauguration party in 2009.

    December 5, 2012 at 8:45 am | Reply
  27. michaelfury

    Killed the 9/11 Bogeyman, dumped him in the ocean. Trust us. Thank us.

    http://pulverizedtonearpower.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/pulverized-to-near-power/

    December 5, 2012 at 8:33 am | Reply
    • joshh

      US should Stop interfering with other countries internal matter & US taxpayers money should be spent on them not on Stupid DRONES/WARS

      December 5, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
  28. lordawazar

    There are is no proof of him being the real Ladin other then "American pride". Ladin might have died years ago during ToraBora bombings or at Ex PM Benazeer said in an interview that he was assassinated during Musharraf regime. Then again he might be the real one but events point to contraty. And ladin was never a big shot but made out to be one so US could have a reason to get the Military Industrial Complex running.

    December 5, 2012 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • Martin

      Your statement has the same amount of truth in it as does your Koran – from the frontispiece to the back cover. And you know it.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:53 am | Reply
      • lordawazar

        "Never debate with stupid people they will take you down to their level and beat you with their years of experience"

        December 5, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  29. Dave

    mmm... this story can be portayed whichever way they feel like, no one except those involved would know what really happened, and obviously they won't tell hollywood what really happened. As long as it sounds real to people, they will beleive it and hollywood, rakes in an extra dollar.

    December 5, 2012 at 5:13 am | Reply
    • Silverado

      Dirka, Dirka, Mohammed, Jihad?

      December 5, 2012 at 7:01 am | Reply
  30. fuji426

    I don't think this film will cause any uprising in the Muslim world
    the only thing i'm interested in is Pakistan how the film show Pakistani Government and military,and what will be Pakistani reaction to this film

    December 5, 2012 at 1:12 am | Reply
    • iR

      spoken like true indian slum dog

      December 5, 2012 at 4:27 am | Reply
      • W00t

        Simma down dude. The Pakistanis deserve all the trash they get for harboring him. If you/they are so concerned about India's rise to power you should have not hidden Bin Laden. That decision alone shot India MILES above your country in international prestige.

        December 5, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  31. Fred

    That goes to show that Kathryn Bigelow is a smart woman.

    December 5, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
  32. EBBrock

    A video caused the so called spontaneous uprising in Bengazi that killed our Ambassador. Now what might we expect will happen when this film is released?

    December 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • latha rajamani

      Exactly!.He is dead and gone.Just leave things at that.Why make a movie about it and glorify the act of assassinating him,what is it going to achieve? just stop humilating Muslims once and for all and try for some reconcliation..Even after 12 yrs of 9/11 if US is not ready to forgive and move ahead then there is something wrong.How many people have to be killed before you are all satisfied.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  33. Frank

    Spelling error 1: It's been so kind of debated

    Spelling error 2: After the models were created, Boal and Bigelow sent pictures of their pretend stealth helicopters to the Pentagon to "make the models" weren't too accurate.

    December 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  34. Rick Buggy's Rants & Ravings

    Reblogged this on Rick Buggy's Rants & Ravings and commented:
    Here we go! Too many questions about how they got such secret intel! When will someone get to the master controller = Obama!

    December 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  35. josh rogen

    the election is over who cares unless Obama is about to set off on another foreign adventure

    December 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  36. Silverado

    Would love to see how the Seals dropped bin Laden like a sack of potatoes.

    December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      Such is to be expected from some Tea Partying fool like you with your limited intelligence, Silverado! In fact, none of us even know whether or not that it was the true Ussama bin Laden who got murdered on May 2 of last year or an impostor!!!

      December 4, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Reply
      • Cameron

        C'mon, dude. Seriously. Why dont you keep to your conspiracy theories to yourself and have some American pride. It WAS bin Laden that was there and it WAS bin Laden that died. The United States of America is the greatest country on Earth with more resources than even you can imagine in any of your "conspiracy theories." We were always gonna get him. Grow a pair, George...

        December 5, 2012 at 12:18 am |
      • M I Snow

        The real "George Patton" would slap you silly!!

        December 5, 2012 at 3:45 am |
      • hari

        George Patton is not a real name of you I guess. Better Luck next time .

        December 5, 2012 at 4:53 am |
      • Silverado

        I am waiting for this "George Patton" to say "Dirka, Dirka, Mohammed, Jihad". He is going to say that any minute.

        December 5, 2012 at 6:59 am |
      • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

        He was dead for at least a decade. More stunning star-spangled bullsh!t for the clovers.

        December 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • DocBudly

      we should have wrapped him (it?) in pig skin and buried it on hands and knees with the you know facing Mecca.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • Hard Drinkin' Lincoln

      So would I. Especially since it never happened.

      December 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  37. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply

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