“There is a pending Inspector General investigation involving Undersecretary Vickers, and the IG will and should reach her own conclusions. But because yesterday's press reports on Mr. Vickers are unwarranted, unfounded, and unfair, we are obliged to correct the record. He deserves better.
“In July 2011, Mr. Vickers was asked by the Department's Office of Public Affairs to provide background information to filmmakers working on a movie about the successful raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Office of Public Affairs arranges these types of meetings on a routine basis. 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 Department's Office of Security Review reviewed the transcript and concluded that it is unclassified in its entirety. It was then released publicly by the Department of Defense in May 2012. Senior special operations officers approved in advance the offer Mr. 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. Where there are redactions in the transcript, it is for privacy reasons only, not because the redacted material is classified.
“The secretary has full confidence in Mr. Vickers and believes he is doing an outstanding job. 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.”