It’s an ill wind that blows no good–and ABC’s swift capitulation to pressure from high-ranking Democrats (personal phone call from Bill Clinton, veiled threats by House Dems to pull ABC’s broadcasting license, etc.) that led the network to make last-minute changes in its docudrama “The Path to 9/11” has produced one quite satisfactory result: It has focused attention on Sandy “I’ll Take That Suit in Extra-Large” Berger, the guy who first refused to do anything about known terrorist Osama bin Laden and then was convicted of stealing classified documents apparently related to said refusal out of the National Archives by stuffing them into his clothes.

Betsy Newmark (hat tip: Ed Driscoll) reminds us of this Washington Times story from 2004 on some findings of the 9/11 commission on which the ABC docudrama is based:

“President Clinton’s national security adviser, Samuel R. Berger, rejected four plans to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, worrying once that if the plans failed and al Qaeda launched a ounterattack, ‘we’re blamed.’

“According to the September 11 commission’s 567-page report, released Thursday, Mr. Berger was told in June 1999 that U.S. intelligence agents were confident about bin Laden’s presence in a terrorist training camp called Tarnak Farms in Afghanistan.

“Mr. Berger’s “hand-written notes on the meeting paper,” the report says, showed that Mr. Berger was worried about injuring or killing civilians located near the camp.

“Additionally, ‘If [bin Laden] responds’ to the attack, “we’re blamed,” Mr. Berger wrote….

“These revelations come as Mr. Berger is under investigation by the Justice Department for smuggling several copies of classified documents that dealt with the Clinton administration’s anti-terror policies out of the National Archives.”
As Betsy writes:

“Think for a moment about the concerted action by Democrats, their lawyers, former White House operatives, Bill Clinton, sympathetic historians, and lefty bloggers to stop this show. Remember that this was the same crowd that was full of praise of for Fahrenheit 9/11 for crystallizing their opposition to George Bush. Accuracy and versimilitude didn’t bother them then. And they weren’t saying a word about 60 Minutes ‘fake but accurate story on Bush’s National Guard service. Now, ask yourself. If this crowd were to control the White House, how many more of these attempts to stifle any criticism of them would we be seeing? Think of how much has been aired during Bush’s tenure, even a movie depicting him being assassinated and more denials of civil liberties gets made without Bush’s White House unleashing its lawyers. But, for this thing, the Democrats go to the mattresses. Are they perhaps modeling for us what their response would be to further criticism if they should gain control of the White House – or even of Congress? Don’t forget those not-so-veiled threats to ABC’s license. Ponder that chill wind.

“The ABC docudrama seems to have made up scenes. I so wish they hadn’t. Docudramas do so all the time, but we need to be focusing on what actually happened on the path to 9/11. There was quite enough from the true story that they could have used rather than casting doubt on the show’s veracity by fabricating scenes. Now they’ve given Clinton’s defenders a legitimate hook for their complaints by criticizing the mini-series for having fabricating “fake but accurate” scenes. Imagine if this same debate were taking place over real scenes for which a lot of evidence exists. The whole discussion would be completely different. We’d be talking about what Clinton’s administration did and did not do regarding Al Qaeda rather than whether a docudrama that makes up scenes is worth broadcasting or watching. I so wish that that were the debate we were having rather than seeing people defend the fictional in the docudrama. Getting lost in the whole debate is whether there were missed opportunities during the Clinton years. How lucky for the Clinton people that they have managed to shift the debate away from their true record.”

By the way, Hot Air has video of both edited and unedited scenes from “Path” (hat tip: Little Green Footballs).