Report: Leon Panetta revealed classified SEAL unit info
By: Josh Gerstein
June 5, 2013 09:38 AM EDT
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama Bin Laden raid and named the unit’s ground commander at a 2011 ceremony attended by Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal, according to a draft Pentagon inspector general’s report obtained by a watchdog group.
Panetta also disclosed classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret” during his presentation at the CIA awards ceremony, says the draft IG report published Wednesday by the Project on Government Oversight.
The report does not make clear whether Panetta was aware that Boal was present at the ceremony, held under a tent at the CIA complex on June 24, 2011. “Approximately 1300” people from the military and the intelligence community were on hand for the event, according to a CIA press release issued the following week.
The disclosure of the IG report could complicate the Obama administration’s claims that senior officials have not leaked classified information. Last spring, Republicans publicly attacked President Barack Obama and his top aides, alleging that the administration leaked national security secrets to burnish Obama’s standing for his re-election bid.
The release of the findings in the draft report also raises questions about why the findings have been under wraps for so long, and which of the document’s conclusions were known to White House officials prior to last November’s election.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who requested the inspector general’s review, said he was disturbed by the report’s findings and by the delays in its official release.
”It does raise issues about a lack of security at the CIA and at DOD,” King told POLITICO Wednesday. “The most important issue right now is why this report was held back for so long. Inspectors general are supposed to be independent. It’s the integrity of the process…..It’s important to know where that pressure [to withhold it] was coming from.”
King said he still had no official notification about the report, but heard that it had been completed some time ago. “I’ve been hearing at least since January that this report was final and that it could affect some high ranking people, some high ranking officials,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office did not respond to a query about the report Wednesday morning. DoD has been without a confirmed inspector general since December 2011.
A source told POLITICO last July that the DOD IG review was essentially complete and that that the findings could be politically significant, though an IG spokeswoman said at the time that “no release date has yet been determined.”
In December, the spokeswoman told POLITICO: “The assessment report our staff is preparing in response to the congressional request from Rep. King has not yet been completed, so there is no update at this time.”