The Path to 9/11 Blog

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Note: What follows is the content of a blog removed from the ABC website on 9/3/06.

1. Even Further Clarification

It seems that people keep referring to this movie as a “documentary”. A documentary is a journalistic format that gives facts and information through interviews and news footage. This is a movie or more specifically a docudrama. Meaning, it is a narrative movie based on facts and dramatized with actors.

The team of filmmakers, actors and executives responsible for this movie have a wide range of political perspectives. I would say that most of those perspectives (which is the vast majority in Hollywood) would be considered “liberal” or “left”. Some of the very people who are being villified by the left as having a ‘right wing agenda’ are the very people who are traditionally castigated by the right as being ‘liberal dupes’ in other projects they have presented. To make a movie of this size and budget requires many people to sign off on it. One person’s “agenda” (if anyone should have one) is not enough to influence a movie to one’s individual politics when a far broader creative and political consensus is an inherent part of the process. And the consensus that emerged over and over during development, production and post production is that we tried, as best we can, based on 9/11 Commission Report and numerous other sources and advisors, to present an accurate and honest account of the events leading to 9/11.

The redundant statement about Clinton and the emphasis to protect his legacy instead of trying to learn from the failures of BOTH administrations smells of “agenda”. You may feel we “bash” Clinton and/or you may feel we “bash” Bush but the facts are that the eight years from the first WTC bombing to the day of 9/11 involved two administrations with plenty of culpability all around. Something needs to explain how that happened.

Watch the movie! Then let’s talk. If you haven’t seen the movie with your very own eyes – don’t castigate the movie out of ignorance.

-David Cunningham
Sat, Sep 2, 2006 16:48

2. Further clarafication

This movie is well-supported and well-documented. But everyone should be aware, and we say so upfront in a long legend — “The following dramatization…has composite and representative characters and incidents, and time compressions have been used for dramatic purposes.”

We cover the failures and mistakes of two administrations — as well as the successes i.e the capture of Ramzi Yousef, thwarting of the Millenium plot (both under the Clinton administration) etc. People need to watch both nights of the miniseries before drawing conclusions.

Also, we have talked to numerous media outlets from the New York Times to the Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, Reuters, The Washington Times etc. Whoever wants to write and talk about this movie is free to do so, and we’ve been very open in talking to them. We can’t control who writes what…

–Cyrus Nowrasteh
Fri, Sep 1, 2006 16:59

3. Clarification

1) This is not a documentary. It is a movie told in two parts with 247 different actors led by Harvey Keitel playing FBI Counterterrorism agent John O’Neil.

2) This is not a right wing agenda movie. The team of filmmakers, actors and executives that are responsible for this movie have very different political views. There was no emphasis given to one party over another. By the way, we are also being accused of being a left wing movie that bashes Bush.

3) Yes — we do show the PDB report in night two and many other missteps by the Bush administration.

-D. Cunningham (director of The Path to 9/11)
Wed, Aug 30, 2006 22:01

4. A chronological story

We have worked hard to make this not a political movie. We show both administrations with an unvarnished truth. Because our show is chronological – if a viewer watches just the first night of the mini series it could be perceived as anti Clinton. If a viewer watches just the second night it could be perceived as anti Bush. It sounds as if you are getting your information from someone who has only seen one night.

D. Cunningham, Director of The Path to 9/11
Tue, Aug 29, 2006 12:27

5. Balanced presentation

This miniseries is balanced in its presentation. We focus on weaknesses and mistakes of both administrations so that we can learn from them. So that we can be safer, stronger, and wiser. 9/ll is sacred and we must learn from the mistakes made so that it doesn’t happen again.

-Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer of The Path to 9/11
Tue, Aug 29, 2006 12:26

6. Many Interpretations

A quote that I really pushed to have included as the opening to the show is from the 9/11 Commission Report that states that there is recognition that with an event of this scale and complexity that we may have missed something.

Our heart as filmmakers was to approach this subject with reverence and humility. We completely recognize that there are many interpretations of what happened. When ever there was conflicting accounts of what may have happened we would revert back to the 9/11 Commission Report as our plumb line.

-David Cunningham
Mon, Aug 28, 2006 20:37

7. Morocco

When we were shooting in Morocco there was a strong bond with the locals who are very film-savvy. There was a desire among crew, actors, film company, and locals to do honest, dignified work — and all particapted in this. Director David Cunningham has traveled extensively and mixes well in any foreign locale and was very sensitive to local customs.

-Cyrus Nowrasteh
Sat, Aug 19, 2006 0:05

8. September 11, 2001

A ranging, dramatic canvas sprawling eight and a half years, four continents, multiple attacks and a dogged crew of investigators and operatives who knew in 1993, when the World Trade Center was bombed by Islamic terrorists, that they would be back to finish the job. A gritty and compelling docudrama that examines the courage and cowardice, the insight and oversight, the politics, the players, the bell-ringers, the heroes and the terrorists as they all collided on their paths to 9/11.

Fri, Aug 11, 2006 15:18