Login or Register

Sign in with Facebook

"The Path to 9/11," an ABC miniseries about the events leading up to Al Qaedas strikes on the United States, was controversial even before its release last week. Written by a Cyrus Nowrasteh, a friend of Rush Limbaugh, the two-parter received much criticism for singling out former president Bill Clinton and his administration as largely responsible, through failures of intelligence and strategic miscalculations, for the attacks of September 11, 2001.

ABC did tone down the miniseries somewhat, cutting and altering certain dramatizations, the content of which was revealed after the network allowed some conservative commentators to preview the film. A few of the deleted scenes, however, were never made public. Here for the first time are three dramatizations that were in the original version of the miniseries, but which were removed after complaints from media watchdog groups and members of the 9/11 Commission. Though the scenes' ideological bent is subtle, astute readers may notice slight tweaks and exaggerations that may constitute bias on the part of the filmmakers. We leave it to you, the audience, to decide.



SCENE ONE

NARRATOR (V/O)
In 1997, Clinton had a perfect chance to nab Osama bin Laden, or to at least gather some much-needed intelligence so as to thwart future attacks.

BILL CLINTON and OSAMA BIN LADEN are sitting across from each other at a table in a DC-area Starbucks during the summer of '97. Clinton is drinking an iced latte; bin Laden, an iced frappuccino.

CLINTON
See, Osama? America's not that bad. I'm glad we were able to do this today, though it's unfortunate I had to sneak out of the White House like that. Some members of my staff still don't know how to have fun, no matter how many times I tell them that terrorism is not something that bothers me and that I find it very difficult to take its threats seriously.

BIN LADEN
I think you have the right attitude, Bill.

CLINTON
Of course I do — I'm Bill Clinton. I'm impervious to everything. And I'm so certain that you don't mean us any harm — that, like me, you're simply misunderstood by your enemies, that once you get back to Afghanistan I'm willing to let you pretty much have free run of the place, okay?

BIN LADEN
Thanks Bill, I appreciate it.

CLINTON
Not a problem. But will you do one thing for me?

BIN LADEN
What's that?

CLINTON
Promise that you won't launch any attacks against us. I'd really look foolish if you did.

Bin Laden puts a hand on the table and crosses his fingers.

BIN LADEN
I promise.

Vaguely threatening, Muslim-sounding music plays.


SCENE TWO

National Security Advisor SANDY BERGER bursts into the Oval Office.

BERGER
Bill, Bill! We have him in our sights!

CLINTON
Not now, Sandy.

A wide shot reveals that Clinton is engaged in an orgy with CHER, JANE FONDA and RICK JAMES.

BERGER
But Bill — there's a Special Forces team in place in Afghanistan, looking down at the site where he and his top lieutenants are encamped. If they can just call in an airstrike —

CLINTON
Goddamnit, Sandy, now I'm going to have to start all over. Sorry about that, babe.

RICK JAMES
That's okay.

BERGER
You need to listen to me â€"

Clinton jumps up, agitated, and puts on a robe made out of marijuana leaves.

CLINTON
What did I tell you on your first day in office, Sandy?

BERGER
I — I can't remember sir.

CLINTON
I said that nothing — N-O-T-H-I-N-G, nothing â€" is more important to me than my own personal well-being and sexual fulfillment. Hedonism is something I take quite seriously, Sandy. And you sound ridiculous. Uptight and ridiculous.

Clinton adopts a mocking, girlish lilt.

CLINTON (CONT'D)
I'm Sandy Berger, and I'm scared of Osama bin Laden! I'm so worried he's going to attack us. Maybe he'll ride an elephant through Bill's motorcade, or fly his magic carpet into the Pentagon!

Cher, Jane Fonda, and Rick James laugh hysterically. Cher does a line of cocaine off of Fonda's back.

Berger turns slowly and solemnly walks away.

CLINTON
Come back, Sandy! How could we ever have fun without your bright, cheerful presence?

Clinton swallows a handful of multicolored pills while the rest of his friends encourage him to rejoin the orgy.


SCENE THREE

NARRATOR (V/O)
In December of 2000, during the tail end of his lame-duck phase, Clinton had even more trouble than usual focusing on the mounting terrorist threat.

Clinton is sitting at his desk in the Oval Office, wearing a tie dyed dashiki and staring off into space. A cadre of his closest advisors hustle toward him, sidestepping trouble spots on the heavily stained carpet. Among them are Berger and COLIN POWELL. Powell slams a stack of documents down onto Clinton's desk.

POWELL
Sir, you should really take a look at these.

Clinton is nonresponsive.

POWELL (CONT'D)
Sir?

BERGER
Crap.

POWELL
What?

BERGER
He's on acid again.

Clinton starts giggling uncontrollably.

CLINTON
The dragon.

POWELL
What?

BERGER
What the hell?

CLINTON
The dragon. The dragon behind Sandy. It's hiccupping rainbows.

The advisors exchange worried looks. Berger puts his hands on Clinton's shoulders and tries to get the president to maintain eye contact.

BERGER
Bill? Are you with me, Bill?

CLINTON
Yes.

BERGER
There's a big plot â€"

CLINTON
Mesquite-grilled ribs.

BERGER
There's a big plot underway. To hijack planes and crash them. We don't know all the details yet, but this briefing has everything you need in order to better understand it. It was compiled from dozens of intelligence services, both here and abroad, and took weeks to put together. You should really read it and make recommendations to Bush.

CLINTON
Bush?

BERGER
Bush. The incoming president. If you make recommendations to him, he can deal with it when he takes office in a few weeks. If you don't, then he'll have no way of possibly knowing that this massive terrorist conspiracy is threatening us.

CLINTON
Bush. Bush? Bush!

Clinton leaps up abruptly, overturning the huge oval office desk. He runs for a window.

CLINTON (CONT'D)
It's behind me it's behind me it's behind me it's behind me it's behind me it's behind me!

Powell grabs Clinton moments before he would have plunged through the glass.

POWELL
What the hell's the matter with you? Get a grip, Bill!

CLINTON
It's behind me.

Clinton starts swatting feebly at the air, fending off an unseen foe. Then, he briefly calms, his body slackening. He looks at Berger.

CLINTON
Give me that. I'm ready.

Berger gives the documents to Clinton.

CLINTON
It's time.

Clinton somehow consumes the entire stack of papers before anyone in the room can react. He then hurls himself to the carpet and begins to nap noisily with his eyes open.

POWELL
Why? Why can he never take this threat seriously?

BERGER
I don't know. What I do know is that I pity Mr. Bush. Never before has a president come into power following in the footsteps of such an inept leader.

A slow closeup of Clinton's glassed-over, encrusted face ends the movie as more vaguely-threatening, Muslim-sounding music plays.
To turn on reply notifications, click here

22 Comments

Load Comments