The Central Intelligence Agency recently discovered a “4 to 5 inch stack” of documents that relate to the spy agency’s cooperation with the makers of a forthcoming Hollywood film on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to a new court filing.
The documents about CIA dealings with the film now titled “Zero Dark Thirty” were “inadvertently overlooked” in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, Justice Department attorneys said in a motion filed in federal court in Washington Tuesday afternoon (posted here).
“The CIA discovered a 4 to 5 inch stack of records potentially responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request that had been inadvertently overlooked during the CIA’s search,” Civil Division attorney Marcia Berman wrote. “The CIA is continuing to look into the circumstances of the discovery of the new documents to ensure the adequacy of its search.”
A CIA spokesman said the agency does not comment on matters in litigation.
The discovery of the additional records, which are being processed but were not immediately released, could fuel Republicans’ attacks on what they say is the Obama Administration’s pattern of using national-security information to burnish President Barack Obama’s reputation and his re-election standing. Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney hit that theme hard on Tuesday in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“This conduct is contemptible. It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field,” Romney said. “Whoever provided classified information to the media, seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished. The time for stonewalling is over.”
Obama has forcefully denied that White House officials deliberately leaked classified national security information, though the administration did declassify some information related to ot obtained in the May 2011 raid.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said he was deeply suspicious about the revelation.