How US Kept bin Laden Raid Records Secret

They were shifted from Pentagon to CIA
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2013 8:30 AM CDT
How US Kept bin Laden Raid Records Secret
This undated file photo shows Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo, File)

US officials ensured that files from the Osama bin Laden raid would stay secret by slipping them into the hands of the CIA—which is allowed to keep its records quiet. Adm. William McRaven, the leading special ops director, had the files removed from Pentagon databases and handed over to the CIA, the AP reports, per a draft report by the Pentagon's inspector general. The agency points out that the mission was run by the CIA director at the time, Leon Panetta; in other words, the Navy SEALS were temporarily working for the CIA, it says.

"Records of a CIA operation such as the raid, which were created during the conduct of the operation by persons acting under the authority of the CIA Director, are CIA records," says an agency spokesman. But the AP notes that McRaven's move may have skirted US regulations, not to mention the Freedom of Information Act. Moving files between executive agencies generally requires written approval from the National Archives and Records Administration. McRaven made the move to protect the identities of SEALs in the raid, says a CIA inspector general's draft report, which itself resulted from a probe into the making of the film Zero Dark Thirty. (More Osama bin Laden stories.)

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