Liberal Blogosphere Fuming Over Upcoming ABC Miniseries 'The Path to 9/11'

The liberal blogosphere is going nuts over a miniseries about to air on ABC dealing with 9/11. Why are they so angry? Well, because just as the 9/11 Commission concluded, this program entitled “The Path to 9/11,” chronicles some of the missteps by the Clinton administration that pertain to Osama bin Laden. And, to be sure, folks on the left never want any blame for anything to be given to one of their own.

From what I can uncover, the shouting began at the Democratic Underground on August 27 in a post entitled “ABC docudrama will blame Clinton and Dems for 9/11”:

We need to be ready to respond. We need to be ready topoint out how Clinton repeatedly tried to catch or kill bin Laden but his hands were tied by the Republican Congress. We need to show how they criticized his efforts at every turn.

We also need to be ready with the REAL 9/11 report that most people have never read. Especially Chpater 8 "The System was Blinking Red", which points out how Bush completely ignored the threat.

We need to be ready to point out how the Clinton Administration tried to warn Bush about the threat of bin Laden and Bush completely ignored it.

Quite a call to arms, no? Despite the numerous spelling errors, this was echoed by a Daily Kos diary the same day: “We know this is simply bull****. Yet ABC is airing this propaganda and will undoubtedly promote the hell out of it in the next two weeks.”

On September 1, Media Matters voiced its opinion on this issue: “In anticipation of the September 10 premiere of the first part of the ABC miniseries The Path to 9-11 -- a six-hour docudrama reportedly based on the findings of the 9-11 Commission Report -- the right-wing media have resurrected an already-debunked claim that attempts to place the blame for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the feet of the Clinton administration.”

On the right side of the spectrum, Rush Limbaugh addressed this on Friday: “The Path to 9/11 essentially chronicles everything we know that happened in the nineties that prevented the capture of Osama bin Laden. It indicts the Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger.“ According to Limbaugh, the Netroots aren’t the only ones angered by this series: “Bill Clinton himself is going to call Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, and demand or ask that this mini-series, The Path to 9/11, be reedited and recut so as not to depict Bill Clinton and his administration as they are currently portrayed in this mini-series.”

For those that are interested, Tailrank has a list of all the liberal blogs up in arms regarding this matter. Other than the content, the Netroots’ complaints are that the writer/producer of this series, Cyrus Nowrasteh, is an admitted conservative that is supposedly a friend of Rush Limbaugh’s. And, they are angered that conservative websites – according to them – have received advanced copies of the series, and they haven’t.

Yet, an interview on August 16 by FrontPage magazine’s Jamie Glazov didn’t present a picture of Nowrasteh as being at all biased in his viewpoints:

Early last year (2005) I was approached by ABC and asked if I'd be interested in writing/producing a miniseries based on the 9/11 Commission Report. I met with executive producer Marc Platt and Governor Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, who agreed to serve as a consultant on the project. I was provided an incredible amount of research materials and high-level advisors from the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Diiplomatic Security, etc.

Nowrasteh identified where he got most of his facts from:

The 9/11 report details the Clinton's administration's response -- or lack of response -- to Al Qaeda and how this emboldened Bin Laden to keep attacking American interests. The worst example is the response to the October, 2000 attack on the U.S.S. COLE in Yemen where 17 American sailors were killed. There simply was no response. Nothing.

One scene in particular that might not sit well with the Netroots – or with former President Clinton for that matter – is the following chronicled by Glazov:

One astonishing sequence in "The Path to 9/11" shows the CIA and the Northern Alliance surrounding Bin Laden’s house in Afghanistan. They're on the verge of capturing Bin Laden, but they need final approval from the Clinton administration in order to go ahead. They phone Clinton, but he and his senior staff refuse to give authorization for the capture of Bin Laden, for fear of political fall-out if the mission should go wrong and civilians are harmed. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in essence tells the team in Afghanistan that if they want to capture Bin Laden, they'll have to go ahead and do it on their own without any official authorization. That way, their necks will be on the line - and not his. The astonished CIA agent on the ground in Afghanistan repeatedly asks Berger if this is really what the administration wants. Berger refuses to answer, and then finally just hangs up on the agent. The CIA team and the Northern Alliance, just a few feet from capturing Bin Laden, have to abandon the entire mission. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda shortly thereafter bomb the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, killing over 225 men, women, and children, and wounding over 4000.

Does Nowrasteh blame 9/11 on Clinton, or think it could have been stopped?

Difficult question. Many experts believe it could not have been stopped. Maybe if the FBI had been allowed to look into Zacarias Moussaoui's laptop when he was arrested in mid-August, 2001, or if the terrorists on the watch list living in San Diego under their real names had been picked up. No one can say for sure.

In the miniseries we focus on weaknesses and mistakes so that we can learn from them. So that we can be safer, stronger, wiser. We do, though, highlight the heroes on the ground and the small victories (the break-up of the millennium plot) in the lead up to 9/11. Our harshest criticism in the show is for our enemies.

Doesn’t seem very biased, does he? Yet, can anything assuage the left’s refusal – especially two months before Election Day – to allow any of the blame for 9/11 to be placed at the feet of their Hero-in-Chief? By the reaction of the Netroots, the answer appears to be “no”.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.