ABC miniseries has facts wrong, ex-Clinton staffers say
Letter writers complained to ABC parent Disney about the program.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A miniseries about the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks is "terribly wrong" and ABC should correct it or not air it, a group of former Clinton administration officials said in letters to the head of the network's parent company.
But in a statement released Thursday afternoon in apparent response to the growing uproar, ABC said, "No one has seen the final version of the film, because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible."
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Clinton Foundation head Bruce Lindsey and Clinton adviser Douglas Band wrote in the past week to Robert Iger, CEO of ABC's parent The Walt Disney Co., to express concern over "The Path to 9/11."
The two-part miniseries, scheduled to be broadcast Sunday and Monday, is drawn from interviews and documents, including the report of the Sept. 11 commission.
The letter writers said that the miniseries contained factual errors, and that their requests to see it had gone unanswered.
"By ABC's own standard, ABC has gotten it terribly wrong," Lindsey and Band said in their letter.
"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate, and ABC has a duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely. It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known."
"For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression," ABC said in its statement. "We hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished film before forming an opinion about it."
"ABC/Disney acknowledges this show is fiction and in direct contradiction of the 9/11 commission report and the facts, and it is despicable that ABC/Disney would insist on airing a fictional version of what is a serious and emotional event for our country," Clinton Foundation spokesman Jay Carson said in a statement Thursday. "No reputable organization should dramatize 9/11 for a profit at the expense of the truth."
The letter writers pointed out examples of scenes they had been told were in the miniseries, but which they said never happened. Albright objected to a scene that she was told showed her insisting on warning the Pakistani government before an airstrike on Afghanistan, and that she was the one who made the warning.
"The scene as explained to me is false and defamatory," she said.
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