The Washington Post

Pentagon spokesman explains ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ missive

A scene from “Zero Dark Thirty.” (Jonathan Olley/AP)

Those questioning the access the Defense Department gave to the filmmakers of the film “Zero Dark Thirty,” which chronicled the successful hunt for Osama bin Laden, have sometimes pointed, among other things, to a friendly 2011 e-mail from a Pentagon spokesman to the film’s producer. In the missive, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs George Little tells producer Mark Boal that it had been a pleasure to “facilitate things,” presumably talking about helping the Hollywood types navigate the rather complicated innards of the DoD.

“I want you to note how good I’ve been about not mentioning premier tickets,” Little wrote the filmmakers.

“Starstruck!” the critics cried.

But, according to an inspector general report released Friday about the DoD’s role in the film in response to a query by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, Little contends that the line was a harmless — and an often used — one.

“Mr. Little testified that this reference was ‘a joke that [he has] made with plenty of entertainment producers’ and that he never received anything from Mr. Boal or Ms. Bigelow,” the IG report says.

In other words, he says he was just sticking to the script.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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