They can dish it out

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
But it seems they can't take it.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- An upcoming TV mini-series about the origins of the Sept. 11 plot is provoking angry complaints from Democrats about the portrayal of the Clinton administration's response to terrorism.

"The Path to 9/11," a five-hour dramatization laying out the history of the Sept. 11 plot from the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, will be aired over two nights on the anniversary of the attack next week by ABC Television.

The movie is billed as a dramatization based on the report of the U.S. commission that investigated the events of Sept. 11 and circumstances leading up to it. According to a disclaimer shown at the beginning of each episode, it "has composite and representative characters and incidents, and time compressions have been used for dramatic purposes."

But a portion of the film showing an aborted effort to capture al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden before the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa has aroused the ire of some of the officials portrayed.

A statement from Samuel "Sandy" Berger, who was national security adviser to President Bill Clinton at the time, calls the scenes involving him "complete fabrications."

And Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., called on ABC to show disclaimers throughout each episode, not just at the beginning. "ABC has a responsibility to make clear that this film is not a documentary, and does not represent an official account of the facts surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks," she said.

In one scene, CIA operatives working with Ahmed Shah Masud, the charismatic Afghan mujahedin leader who fought al-Qaida and their Taliban sponsors, are assembled on a hillside above bin Laden's residence at Tarnak Farms. "It's perfect for us," says "Kirk," a composite character representing several of the CIA operatives and analysts involved in the hunt for the terrorist leader.

But the team is forced to abort the mission when Berger hangs up on them in the middle of a conference call, after telling them he cannot give the go ahead for the action.

"I don't have that authority," he says.

"Are there any men in Washington," Masud asks Kirk afterwards in the film, "or are they all cowards?"

As a matter of fact......


chuck said...

I think the real question is if the scene is true, not who gets gored. Fake but accurate isn't good enough for this sort of show, it simply needs to be true. If there was bureaucratic infighting or misunderstandings, then that should be presented as it was, not illustrated by a scene that may not have happened. We need to learn the right lessons and only the true truth serves that purpose.

Luther McLeod said...

Chuck, you are so correct. But I fear I will be long gone from this Earth before such a thing happens.

Fresh Air said...


The scene isn't "true" in the literal sense. It involves composites of people and so on. But this story has been floating around for a long time: On at least two separate occasions Bill Clinton was advised of bin Laden's whereabouts and did nothing.

The other thing about Berger is: What the hell did he take home and shred and who was he protecting? Somebody's cushy tushy, I'd say.

I think when the full truth eventually comes out--probably years from now--the Clinton administration will receive a thick tarring of blame for its sheer incompetence and utter fecklessness in dealing with the terrorist threat.

This stuff about how Al Qaeda was high on their list is pure b.s. The last NIE barely mentioned them.

The media will try to cover for them, but I think even if this scene isn't accurate, it's probably reflective of their disgraceful behavior in enough ways that it will get people talking.

The country needs to see this and think about it awhile. There has been enough Bush-bashing for 10 lifetimes. It's time to put a little blame where it belongs.

terrye said...


I urealize that, but then again the fact that Fahrenheit 9/11 was not "accurate" did not keep several high profile from Democrats from going to the opening, nor did it keep Michael Moore from getting an invitation to sit his butt next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention.

So the point to my post is that this could not happen to a nicer bunch of guys, this is the kind of journalism they wanted and this is the kind of journalism they got.

terrye said...

Something else that should be noted, when we see TV shows or movies about Flight 93, it is the same kind of compilation and recreation. No one who was there to tell the tale survived.

David Thomson said...

Sandy Berger should not be trusted. I feel rather confident that the incident occurred. If nothing else---it sounds true. The Clinton administration was feckless and mostly considered foreign policy matters to be distractions. "It's the economy, Stupid" was its central concern.

Mollie said...

Given the feckless attitude of the American Government (then headed by Clinton & CO) while Massood was fighting a real battle against the Taliban and bin Laden... what do YOU think Massood's opinion would have been re the US? Exactly the same as that of bin Laden: the US are not men.

And that is why the Islamists are attacking the West - because they perceive us as being weak and decadent and ripe for the picking.

Massood's remark should remain.

It will be a great pity if the Clintonites manage to talk ABC into making changes... we might ask, are they 'men' at ABC?? Or 'girley men' Oooops that is SO sexist.

gumshoe1 said...

this 5-part ABC 9/11 series
is due to air starting Sunday,10Sept06,no??

has the DNC voiced objections after getting a pre-screening from ABC?

talk about a bought & sold,
two-tier media system.

no thanks.
i'll stick with the chore of having
to filter a gazillion blogs.

chuck said...

Something else that should be noted, when we see TV shows or movies about Flight 93, it is the same kind of compilation and recreation.

Yes, but that is much closer to decernable truth. We *do* have the recordings of the phone calls, we *do* know something very similar happened.

Now, if there were actually special forces surrounding Bin Laden and just asking for the go ahead from Berger, with a bit of conversation interpolated, that would be one thing. If the incident as a whole is made up to illustrate a larger point, that is something else entirely.

BTW, it looks like ABC has folded to Clinton. Can you imagine the outcry if Bush pulled such a stunt? Heck, didn't the NYT happily ignore Bush's request not to publish *classified* information. I do agree with your larger point that the Democrats are rather selective in their outrage.

terrye said...


I heard ABC was going to tone down a couple of scenes, but not remove them. Whatever that means.

I heard and read long before this TV show came out that the CIA asked for but did not get the ok to take out Bin Laden on several occasions. I think they have just compiled them into one. Maybe the Clinton people would be happier if they went into each refusal with greater detail. Bottom line, for all their complaining when Clinton left office Bin Laden was safe in Afghanistan and the hijackers were free to roam this country.

And if Bush had done something like this we would be hearing all about nazis and the crushing of dissent..blah blah blah.