TAMPA, Florida — Adm. William McRaven, America’s top commando officer, loves movies about his special operators. “My introduction to Special Operations Forces was the movie The Green Berets,” he tells Danger Room, referring to the classic 1968 John Wayne flick set in Vietnam. But that doesn’t mean McRaven is eager to spill the secrets of Special Operations Command to today’s filmmakers. And in the case of one controversial upcoming movie about the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, McRaven says he and his command provided no assistance whatsoever.
“We don’t have a partnership” with the filmmakers, McRaven says. “I have no interaction and no one on my staff has any interaction with — what’s her name? Bigelow?”
McRaven is referring to director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, who are making the movie Zero Dark Thirty about the bin Laden takedown. They’re the same creative team that was behind the 2008 Iraq War flick The Hurt Locker, which benefited from high levels of military support but still ended up disappointing many viewers for its sensationalistic portrayal of Army bomb squads.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, the White House, Defense Department and CIA all offered rare, if not unprecedented, access to Boal and Bigelow. The access included a guided tour of a secret CIA planning facility called The Vault and linking Boal up with what a Defense Department official described as “a planner, SEAL Team 6 operator and commander.” The only restriction was that Boal not disclose the SEAL’s name.