Just when you thought this summer would be wasted on depressing, serious, existential crises for our beloved Republic, with none of the ridiculous 'scandals' or non-stories that typically bubble up in the heat, here comes New York Republican Rep. Peter King to the rescue. King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is shocked -- shocked! -- that the government might cooperate with a filmmaking team that wants to make a movie about May's raid against Osama bin Laden. He wants a full "investigation."
King is worried that the Pentagon and CIA will leak official secrets to Hollywood. It's easy to imagine: You're sitting in the octoplex next fall and a SEAL character turns toward the camera, winks, and says, "Hey folks, here are the radio frequencies we use, and how to decrypt them. In a second, you'll learn the range, typical cruising altitude, speed, offensive and defensive capabilities of the Night Stalkers' modified low-observable Black Hawks. And wait till we show you our network intercept capabilities, and our unmanned and space surveillance assets!" Everyone in the theater will scream, cover their ears and eyes, and rush for the exits -- but it'll be too late! Opsec -- destroyed!
Or maybe it'll depict events that already have been widely described and reported, in keeping with what everyone already knows SEAL special operators do -- shown in many films -- and be no different from the hundreds of movies that DoD has already helped make. The Pentagon wants to get its newest ships, aircraft and weapons into big-budget Hollywood productions, and wants service members to be depicted as top flight ass-kickers. That gets young moviegoers to want to join up, especially in this era when movies about the military are almost always positive. (And the negative depictions, such as "Lions for Lambs" or "Stop-Loss," tank at the box office anyway.)
Just to allay King's and others' concerns, however, DoD released a statement Wednesday afternoon reaffirming that it will not give Hollywood the keys to the kingdom -- and, in fact, this project isn't even very far along:
This film project is only in the script development phase, and DoD is providing assistance with script research, which is something we commonly do for established filmmakers. Until there is a script to review, and a request for equipment or other DoD support, there is no formal agreement for DoD support.
When people working on articles, books, documentaries or movies that involve the Department of Defense request assistance, we do our best to accommodate them to make sure the facts are correct. We do not discuss classified information.