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“The Path to 9/11”

Sunday, September 10, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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A full page ad, brightly colored, depicting malevolent eyes peering threw a tear in the American flag the terrorust has torn, is on p. A-9 of the Los Angeles Times this morning.  The copy below the title “The Path to 9/11”: “The years that led up to it.  Everything that might have prevented it.” Part 1 airs tonight at 8 PM.

ABC has refused the left, and the fury on the left is extreme.  If they’d spend less time caviling and more time watching the program and then reading Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” they’d at least appear less incompetent to the American mainstream.  The movie will go a long way towards educating anyone who watches it about the enemy.  The attempt to kill the movie has already informed millions on the airbrush agenda of the Democrats and drawn much needed attention to their stewardship of the nation’s security in the ’90s as well as their political tactics of intimidation. 

Here’s one review of the show, written for the Providence Journal by staff writer Bryon Rourke  –I suspect before the Clinton-led censorship effort got underway.  (It is the second review Google News pulled up this morning in response to a search for “ABC and ‘The Path to 9/11′”, after the Quad City Times’ reprint of the Washington Post television magazine’s short but favorable account). While I am certain there are many negative reviews to be found post the Democratic assault, and some from folks like John Podhoretz who just don’t like the film, this is a representative reaction from the favorable side of the debate, and underscores what it was that the censors were trying to keep off the air:

The terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, stunned most Americans, but not those in the CIA or FBI or White House. To them, the day was a decade in the making.

The Path to 9/11 shows how.

The two-part, five-hour ABC special airing Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. on Channels 5 and 6 is compelling and confounding, gripping and disturbing. And it’s all completely true. The program, which gives TV docudramas a good name, is based on the 9/11 Commission Report, which was published in 2004.

All the details are documented. All the characters are real; so are the events, unfortunately.

9/11, and the 3,000 Americans killed that day, appeared to be avoidable.

We were warned. We were watchful. But, for a while, we weren’t taking al-Qaida or ourselves that seriously.

“This was like the Keystone Cops versus the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” one of the characters says.

All of the characters come across as believable. Part of that has to do with their appearance: no makeup. They look like real people, not actors.

The Path to 9/11, produced and directed by David Cunningham, is not your typical TV dramatization. Nothing is heavy-handed or insultingly overshadowed. Everything about the show is well done: the writing, the acting, the directing.

However, the show isn’t for everyone, particularly children. There’s some violence, torture and gore.

But mostly there’s tension. You feel that from the beginning.

The program starts with terrorists boarding four airplanes on Sept. 11. You know what they’re going to do. But you’ll have to wait to see it. As the terrorists calmly walk to the cockpit, carrying duct tape, pocket knives and box cutters, the story stops, then starts again in 1993.

This doesn’t drain the drama. It supports and sustains it. You go from one terrorist attack to another, from 2001 to 1993 and the basement-parking-lot bombing of the World Trade Center. That’s where 9/11 began, eight years before it actually happened.

You see and hear the history of fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, which isn’t always flattering for us. Sure we had some successes, such as uncovering a 1999 bombing plot that led to the arrests of dozens of people around the country. But mostly it’s a legacy of bureaucratic and logistical failure.

A few months before the ’93 bombing of the World Trade Center, the FBI fired its sole informant tracking the terrorists because it didn’t want to pay him $500 a week. Besides, the American government and its people had other things on their minds.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” President Clinton says between terrorist bombings.

As in ’93, U.S. government officials were forewarned about the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Even after that, our vigilance wasn’t much improved, according to the 9/11 Commission. In 2000, off the coast of Yemen, a small boat was allowed, without authorization, to approach the Navy ship USS Cole, which was then bombed.

In 2001, the FBI was aware a group of men from the Middle East with terrorist ties had entered the United States and signed up to take flying lessons. It also knew that one of those terrorists, Zacarias Moussaoui, told his instructor that he was only interested in learning how to steer a plane, not to take off or land one.

The Path to 9/11 is not a boring summation of history. It’s a story, multifaceted and suspenseful. The main character is John O’Neill, played by Harvey Keitel. He’s an FBI agent at the beginning of the program, and the security director of the World Trade Center at the end. First he’s investigating terrorists, then he’s defending against them.

Keitel doesn’t get a lot of help. The FBI and CIA refused to share terrorist information with each other or anyone else.

Another central character is Kirk, a CIA operative, played by Donnie Wahlberg, who’s kind-hearted and befriends Massoud, commander of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, which is at war with the Taliban and al-Qaida.

While most Americans are aware of al-Qaida’s various terrorist attacks, they may not know of the connections between them or our government’s response to them. This program shows you, putting everything in perspective, including reconstructed White House meetings on terrorism. The last one we see is one that took place a week before the 9/11 attack, in which President Bush’s then-National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, reports that the president decided it was time to act against al-Qaida.

Of course, it was just a little too late.

Some of the movie includes actual footage of events; most of it presents portrayals of them. There are dozens of actors, all good, and often unfamiliar, which adds a feeling of authenticity to their portrayal of the actual people involved. The actors who portray the terrorists, who are ruthless and intense, are particularly strong. Notable among them is Nabil Elouahabi, who plays Ramzi Yousef, the engineering explosives mastermind of al-Qaida, whom the U.S. government is hunting down.

While a five-hour show may seem long, it goes quickly. The Path to 9/11 is interesting and informative, and tragically entertaining. It’s presented in two parts. Sunday’s show will be continued, just as the 9/11 Commission concludes terrorist attacks will be.

I look forward to a comprehensive list of specific complaints about the film to issue from the DNC after it airs, and I suspect there will be a comprehensiove side-by-side comparison of the screener to the version that airs.

UPDATEThe program has aired in Australia (it is already Monday there).  One reaction posted at FreeRepublic:

Just watched ‘The Path to 9/11’
September 10, 2006 | myself

Posted on 09/10/2006 6:28:09 AM PDT by Byron_the_Aussie

Part one shown on Australian TV this evening.

Don’t miss it, my Freeper friends. It’s no wonder the Clintonistas have thrown everything at ABC/Disney, in a desperate effort to have the miniseries cancelled. Documents exactly what we’ve been following over the years on FR. Brave agents on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dedicated people at Langley and the J. Edgar Hoover building, working around the clock to capture or kill Bin Laden, Ramzi Yusef et al. And all their efforts derailed by Clinton appointees like Berger and Allbright- selfishly putting their own careers (and covering their asses) before protecting the USA. The line of the show delivered by the actor playing Masood, brave and charismatic leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan:

…are there any men left in Washington? Or are they all cowards?….

Take the phone off the hook, and don’t miss it. All the best, Byron

 

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