Judicial Watch obtains previously classified CIA Inspector General report

tsj NATIONAL NEWSReport specifically criticizes CIA’s briefings in which foreign nationals may have participated; specifically with ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ filmmakers

WASHINGTON (press release)—Judicial Watch announced today that it has received a previously classified December 2012 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) strongly condemning the agency’s handling of “briefings, interviews, visits, and other support” given to the entertainment industry. The report specifically criticizes the CIA’s granting of “Secret level” access to the makers of the movie Zero Dark Thirty. The OIG report was declassified in response to a Judicial Watch request for a Mandatory Declassification review.

The OIG “Report of Audit – CIA Processes for Engaging With the Entertainment Industry” is critical of both the agency’s procedures and its record-keeping:

“We found that the records maintained by the OPA [Office of Public Affairs] are not sufficient to document that entertainment industry requests to CIA for briefings, interviews, visits, and other support are handled in a consistent and fair manner and that engagement with the entertainment industry is effective in furthering CIA’s goal for engagement … OPA and other CIA employees have not always complied with Agency regulations intended to prevent the release of classified information during their interactions with entertainment industry representatives.”

While the heavily redacted document carefully avoids the disclosure of the eight projects it reviewed dating back to January 6, 2006, it specifically cites problems involving CIA interactions with the Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers. According to the OIG report, “There was an instance in which CIA allowed an entertainment industry representative to attend a CIA event in which information classified at the SECRET level was discussed.” The report then adds in a footnote:

“CIA officials told us that the filmmaker involved with Zero Dark Thirty was invited to the event so that he could absorb the emotion of the event and that he was told he could not use anything he heard at the event for his project. During our audit fieldwork, the then Director, CIA called for an internal examination of the decision to allow the entertainment industry representative to attend the event.”

The CIA Inspector General cites one project in particular that was given “significantly more support” than any of the others reviewed. Though the project is not identified, it is an apparent reference to Zero Dark Thirty:

“[W]e noted that the CIA provided significantly more support to one of the eight entertainment industry projects that we reviewed: [REDACTED]. Entertainment industry representatives for this project met with [REDACTED] CIA officers (the majority of whom were under cover) … on multiple occasions, including meeting with one officer 12 times.”

The newly-released OIG report also questioned the CIA’s granting of access to foreign nationals who may not have received proper screening before their briefings, warning of possible “negative consequences” for the CIA:

“We also noted three entertainment projects [REDACTED] in which foreign nationals may have participated in briefings, interviews, and visits provided by the CIA. However, because of the lack of adequate records, we were unable to determine the extent of CIA’s support to the eight projects, the extent to which foreign nationals participated in CIA-sponsored activities, and whether the Director, OPA approved of the activities and participation of foreign nationals.”

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