Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dropping the Gauntlet

Michael Scheuer, who was the former chief of the Osama bin Laden Unit at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (and the previously “Anonymous” author of “Imperial Hubris”), has dropped the gauntlet against those who want to can the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11.

If these opponents of the movie think that they were defamed or were inaccurate, sue. Declassify the information that was used in the decision making process, and who knew what and when they knew it.
“The solution is really quite simple, I think. Declassify the documents and testimony of the men and women who risked their lives to collect the intelligence that Clinton and his lieutenants failed to act on. Present this information to the American people — and perhaps put some of those officers on TV to answer questions — and then let the chips fall where they may. If the critics of the ABC movie are so confident they are right, they would surely welcome this process.”
While Albright and others have dropped hints of lawsuits, I don't think they are nearly so confident in actually bringing suit because the information coming out would not be flattering to them, or anyone else for that matter. The fact of the matter is that the US government did not appreciate the threat posed by Islamic terrorism, and that stretches back to the 1970s. The 9/11 Commission report did not delve into all the means and methods used by the government to track terrorists around the world, as evidenced by the kerfuffle over Able Danger. Jaime Gorelick was not subpoenaed to testify before the Commission to give testimony over how and why she pushed for a wall between CIA and stateside law enforcement and disregarded letters written by Mary Jo White's office decrying that move (White being the top terror prosecutor in the country).

Macranger relishes the possibility of a lawsuit brought by anyone in the Clinton Administration over this movie's depiction of their actions and ultimately that of the Adminstration as a whole. I'm torn between watching the discovery phase and everyone running to cover themselves, and the effect it has on our First Amendment rights, and those of the press. In the end, the First Amendment argument wins out as it must.

Ann Althouse can't believe that there are folks who are calling on politicians to sue those who have depicted them in a bad light. Specifically, she calls out Americasblog, which states the following:
Clearly Bill Clinton, Sandy Berger, Madeleine Albright and American Airlines have good cause to sue Disney/ABC, the BBC, Australian and New Zealand television, and any local affiliate that broadcasts the show. How can we further help their lawsuit? I think a first step is paying close attention in each country to how the show is being marketed. Get us copies of ads, promotions, etc. that show local broadcasters and others promoting the show as true and non-fiction. How else can we help their suit?
These folks want a chilling of free speech that they would never tolerate if it were a GOPer making the calls. It's hypocritical on their part, and the fact is that US counterterrorism efforts have been uneven over the past 30 years, and our intel community has done an even worse job.

The problem is not to attack this miniseries, but to improve our intel gathering capabilities and the ability to react swiftly and decisively.

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