Did you hear about the new ABC "docudrama" on 9/11 that blames Bill Clinton for the attacks? This story has been making the rounds and this post maybe a little late to the party. But just in case you haven't heard....
Next week, Americans will commemorate the five-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. ABC Television is marking this important moment with a miniseries called "The Path to 9/11." Promos for the movie say it is "based on the 9/11 Commission Report." The miniseries' writer, Cyrus Nowrasteh, claims he "wanted to match the just-the-facts tone of the report," and describes the project as "an objective telling of the events of 9/11." In fact, the film is an inaccurate and deeply-biased account that blames President Clinton for the 9/11 attacks while whitewashing the Bush administration's approach to terrorism. The events leading up to September 11, 2001 are too important to play politics with the facts. Act now. Tell ABC to tell the truth about 9/11.
Nowrasteh is a conservative political activist.
Among the problems with the program:
A key scene in "The Path to 9/11" involves President Clinton's national security adviser Samuel Berger, "who freezes in dithering apprehension" when a CIA agent radios in from Afghanistan to say that he and a group of local tribesmen "have Osama bin Laden within sight." The CIA character "begs for the green light to capture or kill the al Qaeda chieftain, but the line goes dead, suggesting that Berger and his colleagues, including Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, frozen in indecision, had hung up on the CIA man." According to Richard Clarke -- former counterterrorism czar under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II, and now counterterrorism adviser to ABC -- this depiction is "utterly invented" and "180 degrees from what happened." In a statement posted on ThinkProgress, Clarke stated that there were no U.S. military or CIA personnel on the ground in Afghanistan who ever saw bin Laden, and that contrary to the movie, "the CIA Director actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced and we would have no way to know if bin Laden was in the target area by the time a cruise missile hit it." In fact, as 9/11 Commission member Richard Ben-Veniste pointed out yesterday, the commission actually found that President Clinton had given the green light to every "operation that had been cleared by the C.I.A. to kill bin Laden." In other words, ABC invented from whole cloth a scene which makes the incendiary claim that the Clinton administration passed on a surefire chance to kill or catch bin Laden.
As Clarke has stated in his book and in interviews, President Clinton did a great deal to combat terrorism and the Bush Administration dropped the ball when they took office. Could Clinton have stopped the attacks had he still been in office? That's impossible to know. But everyone from peace promoting U.S. Christian leaders to national security experts has asserted that Bush's policies have made America a less secure place to raise a family. ABC isn't running a docudrama - they're running a movie length campaign commercial for the Republican National Committee.