|Page 2 of 2 <|
Clinton Administration Officials Assail ABC's 'The Path to 9/11'
"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."
Clinton allies have complained that advance copies were sent to a number of conservative commentators, including Rush Limbaugh, but not to liberals. Limbaugh, saying that the screenwriter, Cyrus Nowrasteh, is a friend of his, told his radio audience that the film "indicts the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger. It is just devastating to the Clinton administration. It talks about how we had chances to capture bin Laden in specific detail."
ABC said copies of the film were sent to media organizations and commentators without regard to ideology, and that Democrats and Republicans were invited to a screening in Washington. At the screening, Richard Ben-Veniste, a Democratic member of the Sept. 11 commission, assailed the film as inaccurate.
Nowrasteh, who has described himself as a conservative, told Frontpage magazine that the movie illustrates "the frequent opportunities the administration had in the '90s to stop bin Laden in his tracks -- but lacked the will to do so."
Nowrasteh drew criticism from Reagan administration officials for his Showtime movie "The Day Reagan Was Shot." He told the Los Angeles Daily News then that he "made a conscious effort not to contact any members of the [Reagan] administration because I didn't want them to stymie my efforts."
The assault on "The Path to 9/11" assumed the trappings of a campaign yesterday. Four senior House Democrats -- John Conyers Jr., Jane Harman, John D. Dingell and Louise M. Slaughter -- have written Iger to demand that the inaccuracies be corrected. Spurred by the Center for American Progress, which is headed by Clinton chief of staff John D. Podesta, 25,000 people have sent letters of protest to ABC.