Posted by Curt on 7 September, 2006 at 2:07 pm. 8 comments already!

Is anyone really surprised that ABC would bow to Saint Clinton:

ABC’s upcoming five-hour docudrama “The Path to 9/11” is becoming a political cause celebre.

In recent days the network has made changes to the mini-series, set to air Sunday and Monday, after leading political figures, many of them Democrats, complained about bias and alleged inaccuracies. A left-wing organization has launched a letter-writing campaign urging the network to “correct” or dump the mini-series, while conservative blogs have mounted a vigorous defense.

“The Path to 9/11” dramatizes what it deems intelligence and operational failures of the Clinton and Bush administrations, relying heavily on public records. Thomas Kean, chairman of the Sept. 11 commission, served as a consultant.

After a screening of the first episode in Washington last week, some audience members attacked the film’s depiction of the Clinton administration’s pursuit of Osama bin Laden. Among those unhappy was Richard Ben-Veniste, an attorney and 9/11 panel member. Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar, has criticized the movie for suggesting the Clinton administration was in a position to capture bin Laden in 1998 but canceled the mission at the last minute.

[…]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.

I find it so amazing that people are actually fighting this aspect of the story. The 9/11 Commission which was so front loaded with Clinton apologists like the one and only Gorelick and Ben-Veniste concluded that there indeed was a capture operation in the works and it was turned off by a member of Clintons team. Did it happen exactly as it depicts in the movie, who knows. Nevertheless the 9/11 Commission wrote that Tenet took responsability for stopping the operation, while others involved in the planning believed it was Berger who did it.

What exactly did you hide down your pants again Sandy?

Initially, the DCI’s Counterterrorist Center and its Bin Ladin unit considered a plan to ambush Bin Ladin when he traveled between Kandahar, the Taliban capital where he sometimes stayed the night, and his primary residence at the time, Tarnak Farms. After the Afghan tribals reported that they had tried such an ambush and failed, the Center gave up on it, despite suspicions that the tribals’ story might be fiction. Thereafter, the capture plan focused on a nighttime raid on Tarnak Farms.

A compound of about 80 concrete or mud-brick buildings surrounded by a 10-foot wall, Tarnak Farms was located in an isolated desert area on the outskirts of the Kandahar airport. CIA officers were able to map the entire site, identifying the houses that belonged to Bin Ladin’s wives and the one where Bin Ladin himself was most likely to sleep. Working with the tribals, they drew up plans for the raid. They ran two complete rehearsals in the United States during the fall of 1997.18

[…]”Mike” thought the capture plan was “the perfect operation.” It required minimum infrastructure. The plan had now been modified so that the tribals would keep Bin Ladin in a hiding place for up to a month before turning him over to the United States-thereby increasing the chances of keeping the U.S. hand out of sight. “Mike” trusted the information from the Afghan network; it had been corroborated by other means, he told us. The lead CIA officer in the field, Gary Schroen, also had confidence in the tribals. In a May 6 cable to CIA headquarters, he pronounced their planning “almost as professional and detailed . . . as would be done by any U.S. military special operations element.” He and the other officers who had worked through the plan with the tribals judged it “about as good as it can be.” (By that, Schroen explained, he meant that the chance of capturing or killing Bin Ladin was about 40 percent.) Although the tribals thought they could pull off the raid, if the operation were approved by headquarters and the policymakers, Schroen wrote there was going to be a point when “we step back and keep our fingers crossed that the [tribals] prove as good (and as lucky) as they think they will be.”22

[…]In Washington, Berger expressed doubt about the dependability of the tribals. In his meeting with Tenet, Berger focused most, however, on the question of what was to be done with Bin Ladin if he were actually captured. He worried that the hard evidence against Bin Ladin was still skimpy and that there was a danger of snatching him and bringing him to the United States only to see him acquitted.24

On May 18, CIA’s managers reviewed a draft Memorandum of Notification (MON), a legal document authorizing the capture operation. A 1986 presidential finding had authorized worldwide covert action against terrorism and probably provided adequate authority. But mindful of the old “rogue elephant” charge, senior CIA managers may have wanted something on paper to show that they were not acting on their own.

Discussion of this memorandum brought to the surface an unease about paramilitary covert action that had become ingrained, at least among some CIA senior managers. James Pavitt, the assistant head of the Directorate of Operations, expressed concern that people might get killed; it appears he thought the operation had at least a slight flavor of a plan for an assassination. Moreover, he calculated that it would cost several million dollars. He was not prepared to take that money “out of hide,” and he did not want to go to all the necessary congressional committees to get special money. Despite Pavitt’s misgivings, the CIA leadership cleared the draft memorandum and sent it on to the National Security Council.25

[…]On May 20, Director Tenet discussed the high risk of the operation with Berger and his deputies, warning that people might be killed, including Bin Ladin. Success was to be defined as the exfiltration of Bin Ladin out of Afghanistan.28 A meeting of principals was scheduled for May 29 to decide whether the operation should go ahead.

The principals did not meet. On May 29, “Jeff” informed “Mike” that he had just met with Tenet, Pavitt, and the chief of the Directorate’s Near Eastern Division. The decision was made not to go ahead with the operation. “Mike” cabled the field that he had been directed to “stand down on the operation for the time being.” He had been told, he wrote, that cabinet-level officials thought the risk of civilian casualties-“collateral damage”-was too high. They were concerned about the tribals’ safety, and had worried that “the purpose and nature of the operation would be subject to unavoidable misinterpretation and misrepresentation-and probably recriminations-in the event that Bin Ladin, despite our best intentions and efforts, did not survive.”29

Impressions vary as to who actually decided not to proceed with the operation. Clarke told us that the CSG saw the plan as flawed. He was said to have described it to a colleague on the NSC staff as “half-assed” and predicted that the principals would not approve it. “Jeff ” thought the decision had been made at the cabinet level. Pavitt thought that it was Berger’s doing, though perhaps on Tenet’s advice. Tenet told us that given the recommendation of his chief operations officers, he alone had decided to “turn off” the operation. He had simply informed Berger, who had not pushed back. Berger’s recollection was similar. He said the plan was never presented to the White House for a decision.30

The CIA’s senior management clearly did not think the plan would work. Tenet’s deputy director of operations wrote to Berger a few weeks later that the CIA assessed the tribals’ ability to capture Bin Ladin and deliver him to U.S. officials as low. But working-level CIA officers were disappointed. Before it was canceled, Schroen described it as the “best plan we are going to come up with to capture [Bin Ladin] while he is in Afghanistan and bring him to justice.”31 No capture plan before 9/11 ever again attained the same level of detail and preparation. The tribals’ reported readiness to act diminished. And Bin Ladin’s security precautions and defenses became more elaborate and formidable.

I mean we have the 93 WTC bombing, the bombing of the Kenyan embassies, the bombing of the Cole, all under Clinton’s watch. What did he do about the terrorist responsible? Nothing except send a few missiles into an empty tent. Under his watch the Gorelick wall was put up that prevented any information that could have prevented 9/11 from getting to the people who needed it.

Clinton was quoted as saying: (audio here)

CROSSON: In hindsight, would you have handled the issue of terrorism, and al-Qaeda specifically, in a different way during your administration?

CLINTON: Well, it’s interesting now, you know, that I would be asked that question because, at the time, a lot of people thought I was too obsessed with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

And when I bombed his training camp and tried to kill him and his high command in 1998 after the African embassy bombings, some people criticized me for doing it. We just barely missed him by a couple of hours.

I think whoever told us he was going to be there told somebody who told him that our missiles might be there. I think we were ratted out.

We also bombed a chemical facility in Sudan where we were criticized, even in this country, for overreaching. But in the trial in New York City of the al-Qaeda people who bombed the African embassy, they testified in the trial that the Sudanese facility was, in fact, a part of their attempt to stockpile chemical weapons.

So we tried to be quite aggressive with them. We got – uh – well, Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan.

And we’d been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again.

They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America.

So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, ’cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn’t and that’s how he wound up in Afghanistan.

We then put a lot of sanctions on the Afghan government and – but they inter-married, Mullah Omar and bin Laden. So that essentially the Taliban didn’t care what we did to them.

Now, if you look back – in the hindsight of history, everybody’s got 20/20 vision – the real issue is should we have attacked the al-Qaeda network in 1999 or in 2000 in Afghanistan.

[…]So I tried hard to – I always thought this guy was a big problem. And apparently the options I had were the options that the President and Vice President Cheney and Secretary Powell and all the people that were involved in the Gulf War thought that they had, too, during the first eight months that they were there – until Sept. 11 changed everything.

But in the end we know why they changed the scene. It’s Hollywood people! Liberals from one side of Sunset to the next. I mean look at the producer, Marc E. Platt, and his campaign contributions:

LANDRIEU, MARY L (D) $500
GORE, AL (D) $1,000
FEINSTEIN, DIANNE (D) $1,000
ABRAMS, ROBERT (D) $500
CLINTON, WILLIAM JEFFERSON (D) $500
CLINTON, WILLIAM JEFFERSON (D) $250
CLINTON, WILLIAM JEFFERSON (D) $250

Guys like these will cut any scene critical of Clinton in a heartbeat. They would relish cutting this scene but not include the scene where Clinton refused an offer by Sudan to hand over Bin Laden. Surprised?

The only thing we should be surprised about is the fact that they included that scene in the first place. You would think with guys like this producer this would have been a 4 hour mini-series on the first 9 months of Bush’s Presidency. We saw it when the CBS fictional account of Reagan was introduced as fact: (via Redstate)

When CBS produced a miniseries on the Reagans that was filled with fictional scenes meant to convey a smear against Reagan, conservatives howled in protest. The response from Hollywood and the left was that the right was engaged in censorship and thuggery. Hollywood and the left declared that they had a right to show their version of history, which this depiction of Reagan apparently was. CBS eventually moved the show to Showtime where it was widely panned.

The left tried to smear Reagan and when those on the right complained they called it a “smear” campaign. Now that the left and even Clinton are complaining up a storm what does the networks do? They give in.

Additionally, check out this post by Wordsmith and the links to someone who has actually seen the movie.

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