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Furious Bill Clinton: "Path to 911"
NY Post
September 7, 2006

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.

Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

The former president also disputed the portrayal of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as having tipped off Pakistani officials that a strike was coming, giving bin Laden a chance to flee.

"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely," the four-page letter said.

The movie is set to air on Sunday and Monday nights. Monday is the fifth anniversary of the attacks.

Based on the 9/11 commission's report, the miniseries is also being provided to high schools as a teaching aid - although ABC admits key scenes are dramatizations.

The letter, written by Bruce Lindsey, head of the Clinton Foundation, and Douglas Bond, a top lawyer in Clinton's office, accuses the ABC drama of "bias" and a "fictitious rewriting of history that will be misinterpreted by millions of Americans."

Clinton, whose aides first learned from a TV trailer about a week ago that the miniseries would slam his administration, was "surprised" and "incredulous" when told about the film's slant, sources said.

Albright and former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger also dashed off letters to Iger, accusing the network of lying in the miniseries and demanding changes.

ABC spokesman Jonathan Hogan last night defended the miniseries as a "dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 commission report, other published materials and personal interviews."

"Many of the people who have expressed opinions about the film have yet to see it in its entirety or in its final broadcast form," he said. "We hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast before forming their own opinion."

Executive producer Marc Platt told The Washington Post that he worked "very hard to be fair. If individuals feel they're wrongly portrayed, that's obviously of concern. We've portrayed the essence of the truth of these events. Our intention was not in any way to be political or present a point of view."

The miniseries' creator and the 9/11 panel's former co-chairman, Tom Kean, who was a paid adviser on the film, said some scenes are made up and plan to include a statement at the show's beginning.

In the movie, FBI anti-terror agent John O'Neill, played by Harvey Keitel, and a composite CIA operative named Kirk grouse about bureaucratic red tape following a meeting with Berger and Albright.

"How do you win a law-and-orderly war?" Kirk asks.

"You don't," O'Neill snaps.

The movie then cuts immediately to a newsreel close-up of Clinton insisting he did "not have sex with that woman" - Monica Lewinsky.

Although the movie thrust Lewinsky into the mix as a White House distraction, the 9/11 commission's report found Clinton was "deeply concerned about bin Laden" and that he received daily reports "on bin Laden's reported location," Clinton's letter notes.

In another scene, CIA operatives working with Afghani anti-al Qaeda fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance who was assassinated by bin Laden days before 9/11, gather on a hill near bin Laden's residence at Tarnak Farms - the terror thug easily in their grasp.

"It's perfect for us," says Kirk, a composite character played by Donnie Wahlberg. But the team aborts the mission when an actor portraying Berger tells them he can't authorize a strike.

"I don't have that authority," the Berger character says.

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

The reps for an outraged Clinton wrote to Iger that "no such episode ever occurred - nor did anything like it."

The 9/11 commission report echoes his denial, and found that Clinton's Cabinet gave "its blessing" for a CIA plan to capture bin Laden and determined that ex-CIA Director George Tenet squashed the plan.

The third contested scene focuses on Albright, who is depicted alerting Pakistani officials in advance of a 1998 U.S. missile strike against bin Laden in Afghanistan - over the objections of the Pentagon. The movie claims the tip-off allowed bin Laden to escape.

But the 9/11 commission reported that it was a member of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff - not Albright - who met with a senior Pakistani Army official prior to the strike to "assure him the missiles were not coming from India."


Original Text