Thoughts on 'Path to 9/11' Part I

On this solemn occasion, our hearts go out to all who lost friends, colleagues, and family members five years ago, as well as to those who worked tirelessly and selflessly to save them. God Bless America.

For those that watched “The Path to 9/11” last evening, and were interested in which scenes were targeted by the Clinton administration for editing, you should see Dan Riehl’s post on the subject here.

Those that are interested in what apparently was altered in the final edition should see Al Brown's post here, as well as Editor & Publisher’s article on the subject.

With that as pretext, I wanted to offer my impressions of Part I. To begin with, I found the entire first part from a theatrical experience level to be extraordinarily well done. From the opening credits, this was edited and produced with a sharpness that kept you on the edge of your seat for the entire two hours and forty minutes. That’s not easy to do with a docudrama containing so much information.

As for the supposed anti-Clinton bias, I think this was overstated by the left. The reality is that there were mistakes made in the ’90s concerning counterterrorism efforts, and it would have been more biased to not present them than over-dramatizing scenes for the benefit of viewing pleasure. As virtually zero viewers know all of the details surrounding the controversial scenes – a fact that appears to include the members of the 9/11 Commission – there was certainly nothing that was presented in Part I that came across as particularly inflammatory when viewed as a whole.

Certainly, if you were going to just extract the controversial scenes and view them separately, it would be reasonable to come to such a conclusion. However, as part of a two hour and forty minute presentation, it seems specious to see these scenes as anything intended to specifically damage a former president’s legacy or any members of his administration's.

After all, if that had been the point, Part I wouldn’t have focused so much attention on the successes surrounding the capture of those responsible for the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, or the successful aversion of the millennium plot. In fact, as Part I ends on this extremely positive note, it really seems quite folly to look at this first segment as intentionally presenting a picture of one administration’s counterterrorism failures.

In the end, as 9/11 Commissioners Thomas Kean and John Lehman iterated Sunday, this program does seem to be an important presentation that we can all learn from regardless of what side of the political aisle we’re on.

Bravo, ABC. I can’t wait for Part II.

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Noel Sheppard's picture