Press Secretary Responds to Media Reports on DOD Undersecretary
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012 Media reports that a Pentagon investigation determined the Defense Department’s top intelligence official leaked restricted information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden to filmmakers are “unwarranted, unfounded, and unfair,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said yesterday.
A pending inspector general investigation involving Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers will and should reach its own conclusions, Little said. “But because yesterday's press reports on Mr. Vickers are unwarranted, unfounded, and unfair, we are obliged to correct the record,” he added. “He deserves better.”
In July 2011, the press secretary said, the Defense Department’s public affairs office asked Vickers to provide background information to filmmakers working on a movie about the bin Laden raid. “The office of public affairs arranges these types of meetings on a routine basis,” he noted. “The interview was a coordinated response to questions, just as we handle questions daily from journalists, writers and media producers. The office of public affairs was present for the unclassified interview and transcribed it.”
The Pentagon's security review office reviewed the transcript and concluded that it was unclassified in its entirety, Little continued, and it was released publicly in May 2012.
Senior special operations officers approved in advance the offer Vickers made to arrange a potential discussion with a special operations planner -- someone who was not part of the bin Laden raid team -- but such a meeting never occurred, the press secretary said. Redactions in the transcript, he added, were made for privacy reasons only, not because the redacted material is classified.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has full confidence in Vickers and believes he is doing an outstanding job, Little said.
“Mr. Vickers is a national security professional with a long career spanning multiple administrations, including distinguished service in Special Forces, the CIA, and at the Pentagon," he added.