ABC/Disney 9-11 film also gets facts wrong about dead FBI agent, American Airlines
Research ››› ››› MARCIA KUNTZ
Despite the suggestion by prominent members of the media that falsehoods have been alleged only with respect to the portrayal of some Clinton administration officials by ABC's The Path to 9/11, the film allegedly misrepresents others -- including former FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill, who died on September 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center, where he was head of security, as well as American Airlines.
According to a September 10 article in the New York Post, actor Harvey Keitel, who plays O'Neill in the film, had serious concerns about the script's depiction of O'Neill. The Post quoted a production designer saying that Keitel's distrust of the script was such that he hired his own researcher, resulting in Keitel's rewriting of most of his lines. Even with Keitel's reported efforts to correct the record, as Media Matters for America has noted, on the September 8 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann interviewed former FBI agent Tom Nicoletti, who said he was hired as a consultant during the film's production but resigned, objecting to numerous scenes in the film that he said reflected "improper research." Nicoletti told Olbermann that the film contains "inaccuracies in the portrayal of John O'Neill, who is not here to defend himself." Dan Coleman, another former FBI official, reportedly turned down an offer to serve as a technical consultant on the film after reading the script in the summer of 2005. Coleman also said he had concerns over O'Neill's depiction.
John Aravosis, on his AMERICAblog weblog, has flagged another scene in the film, which Aravosis characterized as "defam[ing]" American Airlines. The scene reportedly shows lead hijacker Mohammed Atta being waved through check-in by American Airlines personnel at Boston's Logan Airport despite a prominent warning on their computer screen. The problem is, as Aravosis noted, the 9-11 Commission report makes clear that the warning popped up when Atta was boarding a plane in Portland, Maine, to Logan. But, Atta did not fly American from Portland to Logan; he flew US Airways Express. So the film reportedly shows personnel from the wrong airline waving Atta through.