CIA officials invisible at DC premiere of Osama bin Laden film

The CIA had no immediate comment. The absence of identifiable CIA officials at the event contrasted sharply with the audience at a Washington screening in October of "Argo," which depicts how agency operatives and Canadian diplomats smuggled a group of U.S. diplomats out of Tehran during the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis.

The Argo premier was attended by then CIA director David Petraeus, his deputy (and current acting CIA chief) Michael Morell as well as other senior intelligence officials. Pictures of Petraeus with the actor Bryan Cranston are posted on the Internet.

One U.S. official familiar with the matter said because of the political heat surrounding "Zero Dark Thirty," intelligence officials who were invited probably opted to stay home. "Given all the political nonsense surrounding the movie, folks likely decided to wait for it to come out on cable on-demand," the official said.

The CIA wasn't always so stand-offish toward the movie. Agency documents released to the conservative group Judicial Watch showed that senior officials at both the CIA and the Pentagon, including Morell and Michael Vickers, now the Pentagon's intelligence chief, met with Bigelow and Boal while they were developing the film.

Of course, no one can say there were no spies in the audience on Tuesday night. They could have been under cover.

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