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Mr. Panetta was CIA director from 2009 to mid-2011, and defense secretary from mid-2011 until earlier this year. He did not respond to several requests for comment.

In the emails, an inspector general’s office employee told a congressional staffer: “There is a version ready to hit the street, been long time ready to hit the street … but we will see if that happens anytime soon. Highly unusual tight controls and tactical involvement from senior leadership on this project.”

The employee said the matter reflects broader problems in his office: “I have grave concerns that the message and findings are now controlled and subject to undue influence across the board at [the Department of Defense office of inspector general]. I have never experienced or seen so much influence or involvement by outsiders now in developing and issuing oversight reports.”

Mr. King noted that the inspector general's office is supposed to a “completely independent” watchdog.

“If the POGO report is accurate, it certainly appears that there was interference,” he said.

During the awards ceremony, “Director Panetta specifically recognized the unit that conducted the raid and identified the ground commander by name,” the report says. “According to the DoD Office of Security Review, the individual’s name is protected from public release.”

Mr. Panetta also disclosed information identified as top-secret signals intelligence and secret information requiring the use of special measures to protect it, known as “Secret/ACCM,” according to the report.

The report says that special operations personnel at the event were surprised to discover that an uncleared outsider was present.

At a reception following the ceremony, Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, special forces chief and one of the raid’s overseers, was introduced to a person “identified as the maker of ‘The Hurt Locker,’” the draft report says.

“Adm. McRaven and DoD special operators present were all ‘universally surprised and shocked’ that a Hollywood executive attended,” the report says.

The Pentagon’s office of inspector general denied it is delaying its release of the report.

“We are working diligently to complete the project as quickly as possible,” said Bridget Ann Serchak, an office spokeswoman, adding there was as yet no projected date for completion. “Once it is released, if it is unclassified, it will be posted.”