Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What liberal media would that be?

The Path to 9/11, a 'dramatization' of events set to air for millions on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, contains a scene that suggests President Bill Clinton let Osama bin Laden escape. According to Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar for Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and now counterterrorism adviser to ABC, the scenario, in which Clinton's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger refuses to give the order to kill Bin Laden when he is cornered by CIA agents in Afghanistan, never occurred:
1. Contrary to the movie, no US military or CIA personnel were on the ground in Afghanistan and saw bin Laden.

2. Contrary to the movie, the head of the Northern Alliance, Masood, was no where near the alleged bin Laden camp and did not see UBL.

3. Contrary to the movie, the CIA Director actually said that he could not recommend a strike on the camp because the information was single sourced and we would have no way to know if bin Laden was in the target area by the time a cruise missile hit it.
This scene and many more were completely made up by writer (and Rush Limbaugh pal) Cyrus Nowrasteh.

Things actually happened quite differently. According to the 9/11 Commission Report (pg. 199), then-CIA Director George Tenet had the authority from President Clinton to kill Bin Laden. Roger Cressy, former NSC director for counterterrorism, has written, “Mr. Clinton approved every request made of him by the CIA and the U.S. military involving using force against bin Laden and al-Qaeda.”

This is OK, says the Mouse, because we will run the following disclaimer 'throughout' the show:
The following movie is a dramatization that is drawn from a variety of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report and other published materials, and from personal interviews. The movie is not a documentary. For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, as well as time compression.
From Americablog: "...the fact that ABC is only targeting Republicans with this anti-Clinton TV show is prima facie evidence that this is nothing more than one big fat campaign contribution from ABC/Disney to the Republican party. A contribution grotesquely wrapped in the ashes of nearly 3,000 Americans."

In a moment of supreme irony, officials in Pakistan, the Bush administration's so-called "ally" in the war on terror, said they would not take Bin Laden into custody "as long as [he] is being like a peaceful citizen." And just last year, Bush secretly shut down the special CIA unit designated to go after bin Laden.

ABC has provided copies of the movie to Rush Limbaugh and right-wing bloggers, but it refuses to give it out to Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger or Madeleine Albright. As Albright wrote:
While I have requested a copy of the broadcast, I have yet to receive one. I have been informed by some who had been given the right to view the broadcast that 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.

For example, one scene apparently portrays me as refusing to support a missile strike against bin Laden without first alerting the Pakistanis; it further asserts that I notified the Pakistanis of the strike over the objections of our military. Neither of these assertions is true.
Another scene revives the old right-wing myth that press reporting made it impossible to track Osama bin Laden, accusing the Washington Post of blowing the secret that American intelligence tracked his satellite phone calls. In reality, responsibility for that blunder rests with none other than the arch-conservative Washington Times.

The RNC went after CBS for "The Reagans", which they eventually pulled and later it showed on Showtime. But Bush gets a glow of hagiography, the vindication of historians he so desperately craves, as the show glosses over My Pet Goat and ignores, as Bush did, the 'Bin Laden Determined' PDB in its revisionist history.

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