CIA officials invisible at DC premiere of Osama bin Laden film
There were journalists in droves, glasses of wine proffered by waiters and hors d'oeuvres devised by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at the Washington premiere of a movie about the CIA, but prominent agency officials were nowhere to be seen.
Although official records show the spy agency cooperated generously with the makers of "Zero Dark Thirty," which dramatizes the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, the movie's graphic depictions of torture have made it a political hot
potato of the kind Washington thrives on but which mystifies Hollywood.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, is among those attacking the film, which in its opening scenes suggests the interrogation methods produced information that helped the CIA find bin Laden. Feinstein's committee has launched a review of CIA dealings with the film's director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.
Introducing the film on Tuesday evening, Bigelow said the Capitol Hill criticism was, "First of all...surprising, but I also respect their opinions and I think that unfortunately the film was kind of mischaracterized."
Boal mused about the fuss over a movie that has not even opened yet in theaters nationwide and noted the movie makes clear that many different intelligence-gathering methods led to the discovery of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Outside the premiere, at Washington's Newseum on
Pennsylvania Avenue between Capitol Hill and the White House, a line of protesters dressed as detainees in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, held signs denouncing torture. "Zero Dark Thirty" is not unkind to the CIA: it shows the extraordinary lengths operatives and analysts went to to find the al Qaeda chief, with several dying during the manhunt. A person close to the filmmakers confirmed that invitations
to the screening had been sent to CIA officials but it was not apparent that any had attended.