September 10, 2006, - 11:18 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Here are a few of my observations on the first half of the edited version of “The Path to 9/11,” which ran on ABC, tonight:
1) Why does Mohammed Atta (played by actor Martin Brody) look more like newly retired Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman than like Mohammed Atta? Just asking. (The resemblance to Yzerman is far more pronounced in the movie than in the pics below.)
2) You read it on this site first, months before the movie:
* Ramzi Youssef used Casio watches to detonate bombs on planes, a reason TSA and airport security officials have been on the lookout for Middle Eastern men sporting the International Watch of Terrorists.
* Ramzi Youssef is 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew. We knew it. The producers of “The Path to 9/11″ knew it. But FBI Director Robert Mueller and top FBI counterterrorism brass still don’t know it.
3) Point of correction: The movie incorrectly identified Customs Inspector Diana Dean–who stopped Millennium Bomber–as a Customs Agent. She was not. We wrote about this when Ressam received his piddling sentence from liberal Judge, the Dishonorable John Coughenor.
In fact, at that time (end of 1999), the United States Customs Service was still intact–with the Office of Investigations (the agents) and the Inspectors (at the border/airports/ports). That was one of the great things about pre-9/11–the agents and inspectors communicated with each other and worked together. Now, the former Customs inspectors are Customs & Border Protection agents, together with former INS inspectors. And both CBP and ICE (the agency into which INS and Customs Agents went) are a mess.
You can vaguely hear the INS inspector (not shown on screen) waving Ressam into the States before Dean catches him. But if you didn’t know about it, you wouldn’t notice in the movie. Also not shown, after he was caught by Dean, the INS inspectors tried to slam Ressam’s car trunk (filled with volatile explosives) shut, which would have blown the car up.
3) Point of correction #2: We can tell, big-time, that the FBI had a big hand in this movie. John Miller, who is now one of its PR spokespeople, wrote the book, “The Cell,” on which it is based. So the FBI–not accurately at all–comes off smelling like a rose. When, in fact–in counterterrorism–the Bureau stunk like something else.
In the movie, the FBI is portrayed as having followed the cell that bombed the WTC in 1993, ever since its member El-Sayyid Nosair murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane. The blame for letting them off the hook is laid at the feet of the NYPD. But in fact, it was the exact opposite of that, in reality. As we wrote, that’s not at all what happened. In fact, the FBI did NOT pay attention to Kahane’s murder at all. They ignored it. That is confirmed in many, many reports and investigations, including “Jihad in America.” Had the FBI paid attention to Kahane’s murder (instead of dismissing it as a minor, lone angry Muslim killing a Rabbi the FBI didn’t like and was also spying on), they would have discovered Ramzi Youssef, the ’93 WTC bombing plot, etc., well before it happened. The movie is disingenuous on that.
Ditto for its portrayal of the NYPD as dropping the ball on Muslim informants. That’s never been the case. The NYPD and FBI have been at odds before and especially now, because many of the terror plots caught in NYC were discovered and stopped by the NYPD, not the clueless FBI, including–as we wrote–Shahawar Matin Siraj’s plot to bomb the subways during the 2004 GOP National Convention. The NYPD’s counterterrorism division is much better than the FBI’s, and the Bureau doesn’t like it one bit. The FBI’s counterterrorism officials have openly dissed the NYPD for having officers in Israel, for example, etc. Tough to be Famous But Incompetent.
4) In a “Nightline” special right after (which we figure was put into place to replace the 15-20 minutes of the movie we figure was cut to please Clintonistas), ABC’s Brian Ross discussed the “cold trail” in the search for Bin Laden, despite the “$25 million reward.”
But, in November 2004, the House passed legislation doubling the reward to $50 million. According to AP, that’s the official reward amount, now. That Brian Ross–who is supposed to be ABC’s chief investigative correspondent in the war on terror–still doesn’t know that (assuming AP is correct) is telling.
5) We like newcomer Mido Hamada, who does great work as Northern Alliance leader Massoud.
6) So far, former New Kids on the Blocker Donnie Wahlberg is okay as secret FBI operative “Kirk.”
Tags: ABC, actor, America, bin Laden, Brian Ross, car trunk, Casio, chief investigative correspondent, dean, Debbie Schlussel Here, Diana Dean, director, El-Sayyid Nosair, Federal Bureau of Investigation, INS inspector, Inspector, Israel, John Miller, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, leader, Liberal Judge, Martin Brody, Massoud, Meir Kahane, member, Mido Hamada, Mohammed Atta, Nightline, Northern Alliance, Office of Investigations, operative, Ramzi Youssef, Republican Party, Robert Mueller, Steve Yzerman, the Dishonorable John Coughenor, The Path to 9/11, United States Customs Service, USD