“The Path to 9/11” Reminds Us of Condi’s Lie

In a column in the Washington Post on March 22, 2004, Condoleezza Rice wrote:

The al Qaeda terrorist network posed a threat to the United States for almost a decade before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Throughout that period — during the eight years of the Clinton administration and the first eight months of the Bush administration prior to Sept. 11 — the U.S. government worked hard to counter the al Qaeda threat.

During the transition, President-elect Bush’s national security team was briefed on the Clinton administration’s efforts to deal with al Qaeda. The seriousness of the threat was well understood by the president and his national security principals. In response to my request for a presidential initiative, the counterterrorism team, which we had held over from the Clinton administration, suggested several ideas, some of which had been around since 1998 but had not been adopted. No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.

Documents obtained from the National Security Archive previously showed that these statements from Rice were untrue. The documents include a January 25, 2001, memo from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and “Tab A December 2000 Paper: Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects,” These documents, along with the testimony of Richard Clarke, contradict the claims of Condoleezza Rice that “No al Qaeda plan was turned over to the new administration.”

Writing in Salon, Joe Conason reports that this is noted but reported inaccurately in “The Path to 9/11.” Conason writes:

The movie shows a smarmy, condescending Condoleezza Rice demoting Clarke in January 2001 when she takes over as national security advisor. Clarke tries to warn her that “something spectacular” is going to happen on American soil, and she assures him that “we’re on it,” which they assuredly were not.

Related stories on “The Path to 9/11”  

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Conason Reviews “The Path to 9/11”

Joe Conason looks at The Path to 9/11 at Salon and also notes inaccuracies:

Nowrasteh’s most egregious fictionalizing occurs in Act 4, which depicts a supposed strike on bin Laden’s Afghan redoubt that is called off at the last second by Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national security advisor, who says, “I don’t have that authority.” Under cover of night, a CIA agent known only as “Kirk” leads a Special Forces team into the remote mountain compound where the al-Qaida chief is hiding. “The package is ready!” cries Kirk over the satellite phone, but Berger aborts the operation because he doesn’t want to take responsibility.

That incident simply never occurred. As Clarke himself would have told Nowrasteh, no CIA officer ever tracked bin Laden to his hideout. Neither did Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Northern Alliance leader who is shown guiding the aborted operation. The handsome, charismatic Massoud, later assassinated by al-Qaida agents, asks Kirk angrily, “Are there any men left in Washington, or are they all cowards?” That sort of rhetoric is frequently uttered by actors portraying characters such as Massoud and O’Neill, who are no longer around to dispute the script.

Had Nowrasteh consulted the 9/11 Commission report, not only would he have found no evidence to support his exciting imaginary assault on the bin Laden compound, but he would also have learned that the underlying assumptions were completely wrong. The report states explicitly, as Clarke and other senior officials have affirmed, that Clinton and Berger ordered the CIA and the military to use any force necessary to get bin Laden. . .

And in its most blatant appeal to right-wing pathology, the movie repeatedly suggests that Clinton was either distracted or prodded by the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the ensuing impeachment, taking action or deferring action for political reasons. Clarke has repeatedly denied that considerations of that kind influenced policy on any occasion. (For more on the conservative mythology of 9/11 see my answer to Andrew Sullivan on the subject in 2002.)


Bush Pollster Admits to Fraud

The owner of pollster DataUSA has pleaded guilty to fraud for making up survey results. AP reports that, “According to a federal indictment, Costin told employees to alter poll data, and managers at the company told employees to ‘talk to cats and dogs” when instructing them to fabricate the surveys.” My dog, who loves to pee on bushes, says he was never contacted by any pollsters from DataUSA, but he would have loved to have given his opinion. My cats say they would just prefer not to be bothered by anyone for any reason, but if forced to vote would vote libertarian unless given tuna fish by another party.

AP also reports, “An FBI affidavit from 2004 quotes a supervisor of the company estimating that 50 percent of the data sent to Bush’s campaign was falsified.” There is no word as to which data was falsified. Perhaps it was a poll of the Iraqi people which said a majority would respond to an invasion of their country by greeting Americans with flowers. Or maybe it was a poll in which a majority of Americans said, “it’s only water–stay in Crawford and enjoy your vacation.” The same pollster has also worked for Joe Lieberman, raising questions if they provided him with results telling him that a majority of Democrats preferred that he sound more Republican.

One dog which was included in the survey results has been identified:


Families of September 11 Criticizes Distortions of Events

The Families of September 11 has issued the following statement regarding the media’s portrayal of 9/11:

September 7, 2006

Statement of Families of September 11:
The Media’s Portrayal of 9/11

As we mark five years since 9/11, we are inundated with the media’s portrayal of that tragic day. Television miniseries, Hollywood films, comic books and countless “documentaries” are dramatizing and sometimes distorting the events leading up to and happening on 9/11.

Families of September 11 believes the best way to honor those who were lost is to make sure that what happened to them never happens again. As such, we must understand exactly what took place, and not allow “entertainers” to promote misleading or incorrect information as fact to the public.

If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Any depiction of 9/11 that is not accurate and factual propagates myths, myths that may cause us future harm.

In order to make our country safer and more secure, we owe it to those who were lost to acknowledge that which took place, so that we can ensure it never happens again.

Related stories on The Path to 9/11

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ABC Making Changes in “The Path to 9/11”

Following complaints of inaccuracies in The Path to 9/11, ABC is making some changes. It is doubtful whether these changes will be enough in light of the numerous inaccuracies reported, but at least this is a start and hopefully ABC will go further in correcting the factual errors. According to the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times:

ABC toned down a scene that involved Clinton’s national security adviser, Samuel “Sandy” Berger, declining to give the order to kill bin Laden, according to a person involved with the film who declined to be identified. “That sequence has been the focus of attention,” the source said.

The network also decided that the credits would say the film is based “in part” on the 9/11 panel report, rather than “based on” the report, as the producers originally intended.

Some conservative blogs such, as Little Green Footballs and GOP Bloggers which are apparently unaware of the meaning of censorship are calling the demands for accuracy censorship. Considering the degree to which the Republicans gained politically from an attack on their watch after ignoring several warnings and recommendations for dealing with al Qaeda, it is not surprising that the right wing bloggers would prefer to see such a show as opposed to an accurate account of the events aired. As Glenn Greenwald ponts out, the right wingers were perfectly willing to place pressure on CBS in 2003 over a mini-series about Ronald Reagan.

Dick DeVos and His Lawyers At it Again

When there was an attack ad Bill Clinton didn’t like, his famous war room would respond and counter-attack. When there’s something Dick DeVos doesn’t like, he calls in the lawyers. WZZM TV reports:

The Committee for Dick DeVos for Governor has asked television stations to pull a political ad by the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee that claims DeVos invested in China while leading Amway.

The ad by Michigan Democrats has their Republican counterparts infuriated. The Democratic TV commercial claims, “After Dick DeVos laid off nearly 1,400 workers at Amway, his company in Michigan, he went to Asia. He invested over $200 million in China.

Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer says, “He laid off those people, he turned his back on Michigan and invested overseas.”

This is rather incredible after all the misleading ads DeVoss has run. Rather than turning to lawyers, the Granholm campaign responded by debunking the false ads. This isn’t the first time DeVos has turned to his attorneys to attempt to silence critics, including bloggers.

The DeVos attorneys are likley to stay very busy in light of the suit against Amway when he was in charge. MLM-Network Marketing Blog observes, “It will be interesting to see how Michigan reacts to this news. Conspiracy, Antitrust, Price fixing and Racketeering are not usually Governor-like qualities.”  Michigan Liberal has more details and writes:

Basically, the plaintiffs in this case are disgruntled “tools” sellers (i.e., motivational tapes, etc.) who got seem to have gotten fed up with the Amway pyramid and decided to tell all in federal court. Last month, you will recall the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the case can go forward. Well, that’s exactly what is now happening in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

The 75-page complaint obtained yesterday (along with 57 pages of evidence) displays the guts of Amway – internal wars and all – in vivid and exhaustive detail. There’s even a couple of mentions of the infamous Republican candidate for Governor of Michigan, a one Richard Marvin “Dick” DeVos, Jr.

Inconvenient Truth DVD Environmentally Friendly

The DVD of Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, comes out November 21. The DVD will include a new introduction by Gore, updated information, and several commentaries. The packaging will be environmentally friendly made out of recycled waste products with no plastics and or laminates. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan environmental group.

Americans Feel Less Safe; Less Likely To Vote Republican, Even in South

There’s more signs that Republicans might not be able to capitalize on fear to win this fall. A CBS News poll shows that fifty-four percent of Americans say they generally feel safe, but 46 percent feel somewhat uneasy or in danger. Compared to five years ago, 39 percent of Americans say they feel less safe now, with only 14 percent saying they feel safer. Fighting in Iraq has not helped the Republicans. By a four-to-one margin, 48 percent to 12 percent, Americans think the war in Iraq has made the threat of terrorism against the United States greater rather than better.

A CNN poll released yesterday showed that fifty-five percent said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who has supported Bush administration policies. In this poll, 53 percent said they believe the war in Iraq is separate from fighting terrorism while 45 percent said they believe it is connected.

AP reports that dissatisfaction with the war is even hurting Bush in the south. While the gender gap collapsed in 2004, it is returning and may impact the elections. “A recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that three out of five Southern women surveyed said they planned to vote for a Democrat in the midterm elections. With control of the Senate and House in the balance, such a seismic shift could have dire consequences for the GOP.”

Clinton Calls for Correction of Inaccuracies in “The Path to 9/11”

Bill Clinton has joined former members of his administration in condemning the inaccurate miniseries, The Path to 9/11. He has called on ABC to either correct the factual errors or pull the show entirely: The New York Post reports:

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.

Adding to a growing list of people disputing claims made by the show, Crooks and Liars has video of Richard Ben-Veniste, a member of the 9/11 commission on false representations of the 9/11 commission’s report.

Cretins Continue Attack on Science in Ohio

The War on Science never ends. The Panda’s Thumb warns that the supporters of intelligent design/creationism (a.k.a. cretins) “are renewing their attack on Evolution, and adding attacks on climate science, cloning & stem-cell research.” They have more specific information, as well as a call for action with contact information for people living in Ohio.