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Iran TV uses ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ screenshot to claim CIA boss was killed in Afghanistan plane crash

The news report used an image from the 2012 film showing American actor Frederic Lehne who played a character called The Wolf

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 28 January 2020 19:25 GMT
Frederic Lehne in Zero Dark Thirty
Frederic Lehne in Zero Dark Thirty (Columbia Pictures)

State TV in Iran has broadcast a screenshot from the movie Zero Dark Thirty to illustrate a report that a senior CIA officer had been killed in a plane crash.

The photo shows the actor that portrayed a character in the movie based on real life CIA operative Michael D'Andrea.

On Monday, the US military confirmed that a Bombardier E-11A surveillance aircraft had crashed eastern Afghanistan.

The plane came down in Ghazni province, which is controlled by the Taliban, who claim that senior CIA operatives had been killed.

BBC Monitoring picked up reports from Iranian TV network Channel One, claiming that one of the operatives killed was Mr D’Andrea, though no evidence was provided to confirm this.

The TV channel also claimed that Mr D’Andrea played a key role in the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The news report used an image from the 2012 film showing American actor Frederic Lehne who played a character called The Wolf.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty is based on the events surrounding the assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

USFOR-A spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett, tweeted: “While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

The remains of individuals have now been recovered from the crash site. Officials have told Reuters that fewer than five people were onboard the plane.

Colonel Leggett also tweeted: "Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false."

Iranian media published unverified images of the crash and are highlighting the claim that Taliban downed the plane.

The AP has since released images of the burnt out wreckage.


The New York Times reported in 2017 that Mr D'Andrea had been given the job of running the CIA’s Iran operations, signalling the hard line the Trump Administration was taking against the country.

Lehne has an extensive acting resume, having appeared in many popular television shows, including Homeland, WestWorld, and American Horror Story.

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