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Musings and Meanderings
Thursday, September 07, 2006
By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer
A "terribly wrong" miniseries about events leading to the Sept. 11 attacks blame President Clinton's policies, former Clinton administration officials said in letters demanding that ABC correct it or not air it.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Clinton Foundation head Bruce Lindsey and Clinton adviser Douglas Band wrote in the past week to Robert Iger, CEO of ABC's parent The Walt Disney Co., to express concern over "The Path to 9/11."
The two-part miniseries, scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday and Monday, is drawn from interviews and documents including the report of the Sept. 11 commission. ABC has described it as a "dramatization" as opposed to a documentary.
"ABC/Disney acknowledges this show is fiction and in direct contradiction of the 9-11 commission report and the facts, and it is despicable that ABC/Disney would insist on airing a fictional version of what is a serious and emotional event for our country," Clinton Foundation spokesman Jay Carson said in a statement Thursday. "No reputable organization should dramatize 9-11 for a profit at the expense of the truth."
Calls to ABC seeking comment Thursday were not returned.
The letter writers said the miniseries contained factual errors, and that their requests to see it had gone unanswered.
"By ABC's own standard, ABC has gotten it terribly wrong," Lindsey and Band said in their letter.
"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has a duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely. It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known."
The letters pointed out examples of scenes they had been told were in the miniseries, but which they said never happened. Albright objected to a scene that she was told showed her insisting on warning the Pakistani government before an airstrike on Afghanistan, and that she was the one who made the warning.
"The scene as explained to me is false and defamatory," she said.
Berger objected to a scene that he was told showed him refusing to authorize an attack on Osama bin Laden despite the request from CIA officials. "The fabrication of this scene (of such apparent magnitude) cannot be justified under any reasonable definition of dramatic license," he wrote.
Lindsey and Band objected to advertisements for the miniseries, which they said suggested that Clinton wasn't paying enough attention to the threat of terrorism.
"While ABC is promoting "The Path to 9/11" as a dramatization of historical fact, in truth it is a fictitious rewriting of history that will be misinterpreted by millions of Americans," they said. "Given your stated obligation to 'get it right,' we urge you to do so by not airing this drama until the egregious factual errors are corrected, an endeavor we could easily assist you with given the opportunity to view the film."
The five-hour miniseries is set to run without commercial interruption. Director David Cunningham said it was a massive undertaking, with close to 250 speaking parts, more than 300 sets, and a budget of $40 million. Cunningham has said he shot 550 hours of film. The cast includes Harvey Keitel, Patricia Heaton and Donnie Wahlberg.