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Uh, so, this is weird. According to a new interview with an expert on the CIA's operation to find Bin Laden, the CIA agent that portrayed by the character Maya, a girl, in Zero Dark Thirty is actually a guy

"The guy who was on the account from 2003 to May 1, 2011, when bin Laden was killed, and the guy who was always saying ... that bin Laden is living in the mysterious compound in Abbottabad — that guy is a guy, he's not a female," Peter Bergen told NPR. Bergen used to work for CNN, produced a TV interview with Bin Laden once, and has written four books since 2001 on the CIA's hunt for Bin Laden. If there's anyone outside of the CIA who would know, it's Bergen. 

So, that's fine and everything. Creative license, and such stuff. Bergen even called it a "literary device" in his interview. But then how do we reconcile what Bergen says with, say, the Washington Post's story from last week about how the female agent Maya's based on isn't getting along with her fellow agents:

This spring, she was among a handful of employees given the agency’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal, its highest honor except for those recognizing people who have come under direct fire. But when dozens of others were given lesser awards, the female officer lashed out.

“She hit ‘reply all’ ” to an e-mail announcement of the awards, a second former CIA official said. The thrust of her message, the former official said, was: “You guys tried to obstruct me. You fought me. Only I deserve the award.”

It should be noted that government officials wouldn't confirm anything about the agent's identity for the Post's story, so there's a chance Bergen is right here. Zero Dark director Kathryn Bigelow could have changed the gender of the character for her movie. We're not sure who got which wires crossed, but it's clear someone has some explaining to do. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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