Democrats Protest Inaccuracies in “The Path to 9/11”

The Path to 9/11 continues to generate considerable controversy, with those who have seen portions finding multiple factual errors. Think Progress reports that while right wing pundits and bloggers have received advanced copies, Clinton Administration officials, who are falsely accused of actions which increased the risk of the 9/11 attacks, have been denied the ability to view the entire miniseries.

The portions which they are aware of have been found to be highly inaccurate. Richard Clarke states “It’s 180 degrees from what happened. So, yeah, I think you would have to describe that as deeply flawed.” They quote a letter from Madeline Albright which states “the drama depicts scenes that never happened, events that never took place, decisions that were never made and conversations that never occurred; it asserts as fact things that are not fact.” UPI reports that Sandy Berger calls the scenes involving him “complete fabrications.” Crooks and Liars has a transcript and video of an interview with former Bush counterterrorism official, Roger Cressey who states “it’s sheer fantasy.”

In light of the errors in this miniseries, House Democrats have sent a letter of protest to Disney President Robert Iger (posted in full under the fold).

Mr. Robert A. Iger
President and CEO
The Walt Disney Company

Dear Mr. Iger:

We are advised that ABC is scheduled to air a two-part mini-series entitled “The Path to 9/11” on September 10 and September 11. While we have not yet seen this program, news reports raise serious questions about its accuracy. Therefore, we request that the inaccuracies described herein be addressed immediately and that the program be thoroughly reviewed and revised for accuracy before it airs.

Among our concerns about the program are the following: first, it reportedly contains a scene in which Sandy Berger, the National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton, declines to give Central Intelligence Agency operatives the authority to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, and in which those operatives are outside a house where Bin Laden is located. This account has been expressly contradicted by Richard Clarke, a high-ranking counterterrorism official in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

Second, the film reportedly contains a scene in which the Central Intelligence Agency declines to share information about the 9/11 hijackers with the FBI and ascribes that failure to the so-called “wall,” limiting information sharing by the Department of Justice in certain circumstances, and established by the Department of Justice in an internal memorandum.

This scene is puzzling at best, and inaccurate at worst. According to a Republican Member of the 9/11 Commission, former Senator Slade Gorton, the “Department of Justice guidelines at issue were internal to the Justice Department and were not even sent to any other agency. The guidelines had no effect on the Department of Defense and certainly did not prohibit it from communicating with the FBI, the CIA or anyone else.”

These two examples alone create substantial doubt about the overall accuracy of this program. September 11th is a day of mourning and remembrance for every American. We do not believe that it is appropriate for it to be tainted by false assertions of blame or partisan spin.

To avoid that occurrence, we urge you to review this film and correct these and other inaccuracies. We appreciate your prompt attention and reply to this time sensitive matter.Sincerely,

Representatives John Conyers, Jr., John Dingell, Jane Harman, Louise Slaughter

Update: Liberal Avenger has linked here, and to other blogs stating we have repeated an “inaccurate claim” that the advanced copies were sent to conservative bloggers. Glenn Greenwald has refuted this charge and as far as I can determine the information posted above is correct and it is Liberal Avenger which is making the inaccurate claim. Regardless, this is a peripheral issue and appears typical of right wing efforts to obfuscate the truth by dwelling on the trivial to distract attention from the overall lack of validity of their position.

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  1. 1
    Mike says:

    Gee, you all aren’t trying censor ABC or Disney Entertainment, are you? Guess not, that is the type of thing liberals blame the conservatives of. I guess if liberals do it, it’s just telling the truth.(as they see it)

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    Do you have any idea what “censor” means? Complaining about inaccuracies is not censorship.

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