Change: Obama Withholds Name of Seal Who Trained Bin Laden Kill Team

The Obama Administration, famous for leaking classified documents, is suddenly very shy about releasing one bit of classified information – the name of a Navy Seal who helped train the squad of Seals that killed Osama Bin Laden. The makers of the movie "Dark Zero Thirty" had gotten the name from the Pentagon in July, but now the Obama Administration, for some reason, is playing its cards close to the vest.

Obama’s Justice Department filed papers last Friday fighting for the Administration’s right to keep the name secret, saying just because they had already leaked the name to the filmmakers, they weren’t obligated to let them use it:

The CIA and DoD did not authorize the filmmakers to make the names they shared with them public, to publicly associate the individuals with the CIA or DoD, or to expose those individuals’ identity in any publicly released film, and there was no reason for the CIA or DoD to have believed that any of this would have happened. In fact, [Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike] Vickers specifically told [filmmaker] Mark Boal, in providing him with the name of someone he could talk to, that 'the only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant.’ This limited disclosure of the names to the filmmakers does not make the information 'truly public' under the public domain doctrine. The filmmakers were not authorized to release the names publicly, and the names have not, to our knowledge, been released to the public.

For the Administration to lose its right to keep the name secret, the previous disclosure has to be identical to the present revelation and be part of a permanent public record. The Justice Department is arguing that even if the government released the name before, it doesn’t matter because the whole "public domain doctrine" doesn't apply in cases where personal privacy is at issue. Of course, the DOJ couldn’t find any appellate cases that supported their claim …

"Zero Dark Thirty" has been seen for some time as Hollywood’s attempt to shore up Obama’s reputation; the filmmakers were coy when asked whether they actually interviewed Obama for the film. The White House was thrilled at working with the filmmakers. Benjamin Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, emailed that Deputy White House Press Secretary Jaime Smith emphasized that Obama was “trying to have visibility into the UBL (Usama bin Laden) projects.” Boal himself emailed CIA director of Public Affairs George Little thanking him for “pulling for him” at the agency because it made “all the difference.” Little emailed back: “I can’t tell you how excited we all are (at DOD and CIA) about the project…”

But for some silly reason Obama wants this Seal’s name a secret … hmmm …


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