Maybe Sandy Berger Can Steal the Script
9/11, ABC, Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Sandy Berger, Television, The Path to 9/11, William Clinton, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
The Clintonistas, including Bill himself, can dish it out, but they certainly can’t take it. Howls of outrage are continuing, and increasing hourly, from an ever-growing assortment of Clinton Administration officials, including the former friend of Monica’s himself.
The Washington Post reports virulent attacks on the ABC program from half the Clinton Administration.
Top officials of the Clinton administration have launched a preemptive strike against an ABC-TV “docudrama,” slated to air Sunday and Monday, that they say includes made-up scenes depicting them as undermining attempts to kill Osama bin Laden.
Former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright called one scene involving her “false and defamatory.” Former national security adviser Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger said the film “flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.” And former White House aide Bruce R. Lindsey, who now heads the William J. Clinton Foundation, said: “It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known.”..
The fierceness of the debate reflects a recognition that a $40 million miniseries — whose cast includes Harvey Keitel, Patricia Heaton and Penny Johnson Jerald — can damage Clinton’s legacy in the anti-terrorism fight on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Among the scenes that the Clinton team said are fictional:
Berger is seen as refusing authorization for a proposed raid to capture bin Laden in spring 1998 to CIA operatives in Afghanistan who have the terrorist leader in their sights. A CIA operative sends a message: “We’re ready to load the package. Repeat, do we have clearance to load the package?” Berger responds: “I don’t have that authority.”
Berger said that neither he nor Clinton ever rejected a CIA or military request to conduct an operation against bin Laden. The Sept. 11 commission said no CIA operatives were poised to attack; that Afghanistan’s rebel Northern Alliance was not involved, as the film says; and that then-CIA Director George J. Tenet decided the plan would not work.
Tenet is depicted as challenging Albright for having alerted Pakistan in advance of the August 1998 missile strike that unsuccessfully targeted bin Laden.
“Madame Secretary,” Tenet is seen saying, “the Pakistani security service, the ISI, has close ties with the Taliban.” Albright is seen shouting: “We had to inform the Pakistanis. There are regional factors involved.” Tenet then complains that “we’ve enhanced bin Laden’s stature.”
Albright said she never warned Pakistan. The Sept. 11 commission found that a senior U.S. military official warned Pakistan that missiles crossing its airspace would not be from its archenemy, India.
“The Path to 9/11” uses news footage to suggest that Clinton was distracted by the Republican drive to impeach him. Veteran White House counterterrorism official Richard A. Clarke, who also disputes the film’s accuracy, is portrayed as telling FBI agent John P. O’Neill: “Republicans went all out for impeachment. I just don’t see the president in this climate willing to take chances.”
O’Neill responds: “So it’s okay if somebody kills bin Laden, so long as he didn’t give the order. . . . It’s pathetic.” The Sept. 11 commission found no evidence that the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal played a role in the August 1998 missile strike, but added that the “intense partisanship of the period” was one factor that “likely had a cumulative effect on future decisions about the use of force against bin Laden.”
The New York Post even quotes the great man himself demanding that the network change the program:
BUBBA GOES BALLISTIC ON ABC ABOUT ITS DAMNING 9/11 MOVIE INSISTS NET PULL DRAMA
September 7, 2006 — WASHINGTON – A furious Bill Clinton is warning ABC that its mini-series “The Path to 9/11” grossly misrepresents his pursuit of Osama bin Laden – and he is demanding the network “pull the drama” if changes aren’t made…
The movie is set to air on Sunday and Monday nights. Monday is the fifth anniversary of the attacks.
Of course, if the Clinton Administration didn’t do any of these things, why is it that Sandy Berger was arrested, and convicted, for removing and destroying top secret documents from the National Archives?
Senate Democrats threaten Disney with litigation and legislative reprisal.
And the Network censors the program under pressure.
After much discussion, ABC executives and the producers toned down, but did not eliminate entirely, a scene that involved Clinton’s national security advisor, Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger, declining to give the order to kill Bin Laden, according to a person involved with the film who declined to be identified because of the sensitivities involved.
“That sequence has been the focus of attention,” the source said, adding: “These are very slight alterations.”
In addition, the network decided that the credits would say the film is based “in part” on the 9/11 commission report, rather than simply “based on” the bestselling report, as the producers originally intended.
ABC, meanwhile, is tip-toeing away from the film’s version of events. In a statement, the network said the miniseries “is a dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 commission report, other published materials and from personal interviews.”
Cable networks have broadcast more than one Michael Moore film (which really travestied the truth) without the Congressional Republican leadership twisting any arms, as I recall.