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Peter King, the New York Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, is demanding that the CIA's and Defense Department's Inspectors General investigate White House cooperation with a picture currently listed on the Internet Movie Database as "Untitled International Thriller." It previously bore the working title "Kill Bin Laden" -- and it's the latest film from director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, best known for "The Hurt Locker." (For Deadline.com's spot-on coverage of the story, click here.)

The ruckus started Saturday, when Maureen Dowd wrote in The New York Times that Obama's team was banking on this movie about Navy SEAL Team 6 "to counter Obama's growing reputation as ineffectual." She stated that the film would have to "reflect the president's cool, gutsy decision" to okay the SEAL attack on Bin Laden "against shaky odds." She noted that the movie's premiere was slated for "Oct. 12, 2012 — perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher."

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What gave King the opportunity to question the integrity of the production was Dowd's assertion that Obama and company were providing Bigelow and Boal with "top-level access to the most classified mission in history." That led the congressman who sometimes sounds like the King who would be King -- at least of our national security -- to call for an investigation into a potential stream of "leaks."

Boal is a journalist who has investigated American military operations for years. His reporting was the basis for "The Hurt Locker"; his last big piece for "Rolling Stone" exposed a group of soldiers who turned killing unarmed Afghans into a one-sided blood sport.

For King (or, for that matter, Dowd) to suggest that Boal's new script would be political or military propaganda, or that he would be unable to put together an intimate view of the Bin Laden operation without extraordinary top-down cooperation, is to insult him as an artist and underestimate his powers as a journalist.

In a brief follow-up today, The New York Times says that plans for the film were announced a few weeks after Bin Laden's death. Actually, numerous trade journals and movie websites had been reporting that Bigelow and Boal were preparing a movie about Navy SEAL Team 6 long before the crack unit completed the mission to get bin Laden. Bigelow and Boal then expanded the working screenplay to encompass the elite squad's triumphant mission to Abbottabad.

Bigelow and Boal released the following statement: "Our upcoming film project about the decade long pursuit of Bin Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the collective efforts of three administrations, including those of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as well as the cooperative strategies and implementation by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the dangerous work of finding the world's most wanted man was carried out by individuals in the military and intelligence communities who put their lives at risk for the greater good without regard for political affiliation. This was an American triumph, both heroic, and non-partisan and there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this enormous victory otherwise."

Photo of Bigelow and Boal at Charles Theatre during Maryland Film Festival 2009, by Barbara Haddock Taylor

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