CIA head David Petraeus is all smiles, but his agency’s holiday party is muted. (Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON POST)

However, the agency’s public affairs office will be hosting an off-the-record cocktail reception in January. There’ll be hors d’oeuvres—but “because of governmental belt-tightening,” it’s a cash bar for alcohol: “(we promise at prices well below that of a beer on an airplane).”