Iranian state TV used a photo of an actor from 'Zero Dark Thirty' to spread a wild theory that a senior CIA official was killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan

Twitter/BBC MonitoringAn image broadcast on Iran’s state TV of actor Fredric Lehne, playing a character based on real CIA agent Michael D’Andrea, in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’
  • Iran’s State TV seemed to confuse a real CIA agent with the character he inspired in the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” on Tuesday.
  • The network claimed senior CIA agent Michael D’Andrea was among those killed in a US military plane crash in Afghanistan on Monday.
  • State TV broadcast an image of Fredric Lehne, the US actor who played a character inspired by D’Andrea in the 2012 movie.
  • Iranian TV provided no evidence for the claim that D’Andrea was killed on Monday.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Iran’s state TV broadcast a photo of an actor from”Zero Dark Thirty” to illustrate a claim that the CIA officer that inspired the character had been killed.

On Monday, the US military confirmed an E-11A surveillance plane crashed in Ghanzi, eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban, who control the region, say several top CIA operatives were killed, and have since denied access to the crash site.

One of those CIA operatives was Michael D’Andrea, state TV said, according to BBC Monitoring, which first reported the claims made on Iranian TV.

Iranian TV did not provide any evidence for its claim that D’Andrea was killed Monday.

But instead of airing a photograph of the real D’Andrea, Iran’s Channel One chose to show the face of Fredric Lehne, a US actor who played a character inspired by D’Andrea in the 2012 movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie is a dramatization of the US assassination of al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

It is not know if the choice of photo was an error, or a last resort due to a lack of available photographs of D’Andrea.

The network also said D’Andrea “had a key role in killing Iranian general Qasem Soleiman,” according to BBC Monitoring.

The movie details the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The real D’Andrea is the head of the CIA’s activities concerning Iran, according to The New York Times.

The CIA declined to comment on Iranian TV reports when contacted by Business Insider.

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