On September 10 and 11, ABC is planning to air a “docudrama” called Path to 9/11, billed by writer Cyrus Nowrasteh as “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.”
The first night of Path to 9/11 has a dramatic scene where former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger refuses to give the order to the CIA to take out bin Laden — even though CIA agents, along with the Northern Alliance, have his house surrounded. Rush Limbaugh, who refers to Nowrasteh as “a friend of mine,” reviews the action:
So the CIA, the Northern Alliance, surrounding a house where bin Laden is in Afghanistan, they’re on the verge of capturing, but they need final approval from the Clinton administration in order to proceed.
So they phoned Washington. They phoned the White House. Clinton and his senior staff refused to give authorization for the capture of bin Laden because they’re afraid of political fallout if the mission should go wrong, and if civilians were harmed… Now, the CIA agent in this is portrayed as being astonished. “Are you kidding?” He asked Berger over and over, “Is this really what you guys want?”
Berger then doesn’t answer after giving his first admonition, “You guys go in on your own. If you go in we’re not sanctioning this, we’re not approving this,” and Berger just hangs up on the agent after not answering any of his questions.
ThinkProgress has obtained a response to this scene from Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar for Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and now counterterrorism adviser to ABC:
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.
In short, this scene — which makes the incendiary claim that the Clinton administration passed on a surefire chance to kill or catch bin Laden — never happened. It was completely made up by Nowrasteh.
The actual history is quite different. 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.”
Tell ABC to tell the truth about 9/11.
Fat chance, that, but try it anyway!
I personally find Avedon's take on this (and most things) most appealing:
...The right-wing persists in its fantasy that it was Clinton rather than Bush who failed to respond to the attack on the USS Cole, despite the fact that the evidence to confirm the culprits didn't come in until Clinton was out of office. As always, Clinton is responsible for everything that happened before and after his presidency, including the fact that the Farting Prince refused to react once the evidence on the Cole operation was confirmed. Clearly, Bill Clinton is a Time Lord.
When Clinton told every one about the threat of terrorism on the increase in Y2k he was mercilessly mocked by the wingnuts and accused of wagging the dog, despite the fact his heightened terror alert caught terrorists entering our country.
Suspect carrying nitroglycerin may be linked to bin Laden, officials say
December 17, 1999
Web posted at: 11:13 p.m. EST (0413 GMT)
From staff and wire reports
SEATTLE (CNN) -- A man detained earlier this week at the U.S.-Canadian border faces charges of transporting the explosive material nitroglycerin into the United States, and U.S. officials say there is evidence he may be connected with the organization headed by accused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
The sources would not divulge what the evidence is that connects Ahmed Ressam, 32, a native of Algeria, with bin Laden's organization. Bin Laden, who is living in Afghanistan, has been indicted on charges of conspiracy and murder in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 259 people.
Ressam also was charged in federal court Friday in Seattle with possessing false identification and making false statements to U.S. Customs officials when they stopped him upon arrival by ferry at Port Angeles, Washington.
Officials say these charges may be only the beginning, as FBI counterterrorism agents try to track Ressam's background and contacts.
Ressam has a Canadian criminal history of minor thefts, according to an affidavit by Customs Agent Michael Calonita.
Customs officials at the ferry crossing became suspicious when Ressam's itinerary showed he had come from Vancouver, British Columbia, and was heading to Seattle -- a 140-mile drive that does not require a trip to Vancouver Island, a ferry ride or a stop in Port Angeles, said FBI spokesman Pat Jones in Washington, D.C.
When the inspector asked about his roundabout route, Ressam became nervous, Jones said.
Ressam entered the United States on Tuesday around 6 p.m. PST (9 p.m. EST) in a rented Chrysler aboard a ferry from Victoria, British Columbia. His car was the last vehicle off the ferry, officials said.
According to the affidavit, he identified himself as Benni Antoine Noris, and when authorities asked him to get out of the vehicle "he was uncooperative."
While conducting a search of the vehicle "inspectors lifted up a mat to inspect the spare tire well. The well did not have a spare tire," the affidavit says.
Instead, authorities say they found:
* Two 22-ounce jars, each three-quarters full with nitroglycerin
* 10 plastic bags containing 110 pounds of a white powder identified as urea, a legal substance used to make explosives and fertilizers
* Two plastic bags containing about 14 pounds of sulfate, used as a desiccant to absorb water
* Four small black boxes containing homemade timers -- a circuit board with a Casio watch and a 9-volt battery.
"Preliminary analysis disclosed that when these materials are combined with a detonator, it would produce a large explosive device," the affidavit says.
At one point, when U.S. Customs inspectors began to escort Ressam from the car, he broke free, sprinting about five to six blocks away, where he tried unsuccessfully to get into a woman's car at an intersection, according to the affidavit. He was tackled in the street and taken into custody, authorities say.
Ressam had at least eight credit cards on him under the name Benni Noris as well other items in that name, including a Customs baggage declaration form, a Costco card, and a Quebec driver's license.
Authorities say he had reserved a room Tuesday in a downtown Seattle Best Western motel, just blocks from the Space Needle and the Seattle Center, where 150,000 people are expected to attend a New Year's celebration.
The timing of his arrival -- just before the millennial New Year's Eve -- "is very interesting," said Jesse Chester, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "It raises a lot of questions in a lot of our minds as far as motive."
FBI agent Ray Lowler would not comment on whether a stakeout had been conducted at the Best Western, or any other part of the investigation. But Lowler did say no other arrests had been made in connection to Ressam's case.
Authorities say airline reservations the suspect had under his alias has heightened concerns he may have been dropping off the potential bomb-making material.
According to airline records at Seatac International Airport, a "Benni Norris" had a reservation the next day, December 15, on an American Airlines flight from Seattle to New York through Chicago, connecting to a British Airways flight in New York to London.
Ressam appeared briefly before a U.S. Magistrate in Seattle Friday and remains in custody pending a bail hearing and arraignment in Seattle next Wednesday...
Investigators seek links between terror groups and explosives suspect
December 19, 1999
Web posted at: 10:27 p.m. EST (0327 GMT)
From CNN White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace
SEATTLE (CNN) -- Law enforcement officials are looking for possible links between a man charged with trying to bring bomb-making materials into the United States and a terrorist organization known as the Armed Islamic Group.
Canadian investigators also are trying to determine whether Ahmed Ressam is connected to individuals believed to have been funneling money to radical Islamic fundamentalist groups around the world, according to U.S. and Canadian officials.
U.S. sources told CNN on Sunday that investigators continue to search for links between Ressam and Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, who is accused of masterminding the bombings of two U.S. Embassies in Africa.
Meanwhile, Canadian law enforcement officials have located a van in a residential area of Montreal which may be connected to Ressam.
As a precaution, authorities have cordoned off the vehicle and evacuated some 400 people from nearby homes. Bomb technicians were preparing to search the van for explosives, according to a law enforcement official.
The official said the van was registered to a "Benni Antoine Norris," an alias allegedly used by Ressam.
President Clinton's National Security Adviser, Samuel Berger, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that a "very full and active investigation" is under way to determine whether Ressam is associated with any terrorist groups including that of bin Laden.
Investigators are looking for similarities between the explosive materials allegedly found in Ressam's car and those used in the embassy bombings. Of particular interest are the timing devices -- which officials say are similar to devices used by some radical Islamic groups and bin Laden.
Ressam, 32, was charged with trying to transport explosives into the United States from Canada. He was stopped on Tuesday at the border, allegedly with a car load of nitroglycerin and other potential bomb-making materials. He is in custody in Seattle.
Andre Poirear, a spokesman for the Montreal Police Department, told CNN that Ressam's name came up during the investigation when accused terrorist Karim Said Atmani was extradited to France from Canada earlier this year. But Poirer said that authorities didn't have specific information linking Ressam with Atmani.
He said that Montreal Police arrested Ressam in late 1998 in connection with the theft of laptops and cell phones from cars. Poirear said Ressam was charged and convicted, and spent two weeks in jail.
After he was released, Poirear said investigators received information that Ressam may have been connected to a burglary at a home and two other thefts from cars. Poirear said authorities couldn't find Ressam.
"The next time we heard of Mr. Ressam was when he was arrested at the Washington State border," said Poirear.
Poirear also told CNN that the Montreal Police Department has arrested 11 individuals -- eight of them Algerian natives like Ressam -- over the past few months for thefts similar to those for which Ressam was arrested.
He said Montreal investigators believe the items were sold and that the proceeds may have been funneled to Islamic groups around the world.
"At this moment, we don't have a link between Mr. Ressam and those people," said Poirear. But he said the Montreal Police Department is working with the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, Interpol and the FBI to make "certain links."
Berger told reporters that law enforcement officials "are taking extra precautions" and are "on extra alert status to be very vigilant to try to prevent any acts of terrorism in the United States."
He also said that, at this time, U.S. officials have no "credible information of threats against particular targets against the U.S."
"I think as Americans go about their plans, they should be vigilant. Obviously, if they see something that looks suspicious, they should report it to law enforcement," Berger said...
Somehow some people in the United States of Amnesia don't want you to remember that.