Opinion: Obama backer George Clooney plans a movie on Osama bin Laden’s driver


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George Clooney, one of Hollywood’s most prominent backers of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president, has bought the movie rights to tell the story of Osama bin Laden’s driver.

It may be a controversial project.

Clooney’s movie production company, Smokehouse, bought the book rights from journalist Jonathan Mahler, who in ‘The Challenge’ tells the story of Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni resident of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in recent years after his capture for being the driver of Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

Hamdan’s lawyer maintained he was only a driver and took the high-paying job to feed his family. The presence of rockets in his car was never explained.


Last week Hamdan was convicted by a U.S. military tribunal of aiding the terrorist leader and sentenced to 5 1/2 years prison, much less time than what was sought by the prosecution. Hamdan has already been at Guantanamo seven years, and there’s speculation he may be returned to his family in Yemen.

According to the report in the Guardian, the book sympathetically portrays Hamdan and his Navy lawyer, Charles Swift, as the little guys up against the powerful forces of the United States government. Clooney, who is reportedly offering policy and speaking advice plus also helping Obama raise money from within the wealthy, liberal Hollywood community, is said to covet the role of Swift for himself.

-- Andrew Malcolm