- The Washington Times - Monday, July 8, 2013

Suddenly, obtaining information on the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideaway home got a bit tougher.

A Pentagon watchdog report says one of America’s top special operations commander told military officials to move records on the raid from the Defense Department to the Central Intelligence Agency — an order that effectively shields much of the information from the public eyes.

The move was done in secret and was initially described in a draft report from the Pentagon’s inspector general, obtained by The Associated Press.

The admission of the records transfer, made by Adm. William McRaven, was removed from the final report, AP said. The inspector general’s draft report said the transfer of records was aimed at protecting the names of those involved in the raid — and not to avoid Freedom of Information Act requests.

“Documents related to the raid were handled in a manner consistent with the fact that the operation was conducted under the direction of the CIA director,” agency spokesman Preston Golson said in the AP report. “Records of a CIA operation such as the (bin Laden) raid, which were created during the conduct of the operation by persons acting under the authority of the CIA Director, are CIA records.”

But some see a darker agenda at play.

“Welcome to the shell game in place of open government,” said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. “Guess which shell the records are under. If you guess the right shell, we might show them to you. It’s ridiculous.”

His statements came on the heels of an AP records request for documents on the bin Laden raid that the Defense Department said it couldn’t find — for more than two years.

The records were moved to the CIA, AP reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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