Jacob Heilbrunn

Rep. Peter King's Jihad Against the Osama bin Laden Movie

Rep. Peter King is at it again. King is exercised about the new Osama bin Laden movie that is supposed to be made by director Kathryn Bigelow. The Los Angeles Times reports that he is worried that Tinseltown got access to classified material that could sabotage the war on terror. He's sent letters to the CIA and Defense Department demanding an investigation into whether Sony Pictures was vouchsafed dangerous insights by the Obama White House.

King, you may recall, is the fellow who conducted hearings about the putative domestic Muslim threat earlier this year. Those hearings began as an exercise in demagoguery and ended in boredom. They didn't reveal anything that had not already been revealed about Muslims living in America, which is to say there is no clear sign at all that a massive Fifth Column is operating in the shadows. King's track record, in other words, isn't so good.

Now the Congressman seems intent on proving, or attempting to prove, that the White House overreached in its desire for some good publicity in the run-up to the 2012 campaign. The movie is supposed to be released three weeks before the actual vote in November. Was this supposed to be the administration's "October surprise"?

The truth is that there has always been cooperation betwen Hollywood and the government. Clayton R. Koppes and Gregory D. Black have explored the relationship in their book "Hollywood Goes to War." The Navy worked together with the producers of the movie "Top Gun" in the 1980s. The military brass love to show off the armed services in movies—it's free publicity, the most kind of effective propaganda.

No doubt the Obama White House is intent on exploiting the Osama bin Laden capture. It's one of the few successes it can point to, at least at this point. But to go into a hugger-mugger about a movie that has not even been made yet is absurd. Sony itself notes that the film will give credit to Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama for the fight against terrorism. The killing of bin Laden isn't a partisan issue, but a matter for national pride.