Two days after ABC aired the conclusion of its controversial two-part miniseries, The Path to 9/11, Ann Coulter repeated a number of falsehoods about the "docudrama" and President Clinton's handling of terrorism, including alleging that the movie "relied on the 9/11 Commission Report"; that Clinton "refused the handover of [Osama] bin Laden"; and that "Islamic terrorists with suspected links to al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center" in 1993.
In her September 13 syndicated column, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter repeated a number of falsehoods about President Bill Clinton's handling of terrorism, asserting that a "fanatical campaign of the Clinton acolytes" attempted to "kill an ABC movie that relies on the 9/11 Commission Report, which whitewashed only 90 percent of Clinton's cowardice and incompetence in the face of terrorism, rather than 100 percent." Coulter was referring to ABC's The Path to 9/11, a "docudrama" aired on September 10 and 11, which distorted the historical record in order to blame the Clinton administration for failing to prevent the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, while largely ignoring Bush administration failures.
Contrary to Coulter's claim that The Path to 9/11 "relied on the 9/11 Commission Report," the ABC miniseries in fact contained a number of fictionalized scenes that directly contradicted the findings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission), as Media Matters for America documented. Further, ABC itself, while initially promoting the film as based primarily on the 9-11 Commission's report, gradually backed off that claim, as Media Matters also noted.
In addition, in her column, Coulter repeated the false claim that Clinton "refused the handover of [Osama] bin Laden," presumably referring to the oft repeated conservative claim that Clinton refused a 1996 offer from the Sudan to hand over bin Laden to the United States. Coulter also repeated the false claim that "Islamic terrorists with suspected links to al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center" in 1993. Coulter offered no support for connecting Iraq to the 1993 attack; the claim also appeared in the book, The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party (Nelson Current, August 2006), by David Horowitz and Richard Poe. In Shadow Party, Horowitz and Poe implausibly claimed that "[m]uch of the evidence" surrounding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing "pointed to Saddam Hussein." Horowitz and Poe's source for this information was American Enterprise Institute adjunct scholar Laurie Mylroie's book, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks (ReganBooks, November 2001). Mylroie's theories regarding Saddam and terrorism -- essentially, that Iraq was behind every major terrorist attack against the United States dating back to 1993 -- have been widely dismissed as unsubstantiated and conspiratorial, as Media Matters has noted. Coulter cited Mylroie later in her September 13 column, identifying her only as "Clinton's own campaign adviser on Iraq" (which Mylroie was), and attributed to Mylroie the assertion that "Clinton and his advisers are 'most culpable' for the intelligence failure that allowed 9/11 to happen."
Coulter also asserted that the Monica Lewinsky controversy spurred Clinton into "lobb[ing] a few bombs in the general direction of Saddam and bin Laden," referring to air strikes Clinton authorized against Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan in August 1998 and against Iraq in December of that same year. But as the 9-11 Commission report documented (Section: 4.2 Crisis), the August 20, 1998, air strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and the Sudan came in response to Al Qaeda's bombing of U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania:
On August 7, 1998, National Security Advisor [Samuel "Sandy"] Berger woke President Clinton with a phone call at 5:35 A.M. to tell him of the almost simultaneous bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Suspicion quickly focused on Bin Ladin. ... Debate about what to do settled very soon on one option: Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The day after the embassy bombings, [then-CIA director George] Tenet brought to a principals meeting intelligence that terrorist leaders were expected to gather at a camp near Khowst, Afghanistan, to plan future attacks. According to Berger, Tenet said that several hundred would attend, including Bin Ladin. ... The principals quickly reached a consensus on attacking the gathering. The strike's purpose was to kill Bin Ladin and his chief lieutenants.40
The 9-11 Commission noted that administration officials testified that they "based their advice solely on national security considerations" when proposing air strikes as a response to the embassy bombings, and the Commission "found no reason to question their statements." The Commission also noted that the December 1998 air strikes against Iraq came after "the UN inspections regime had been increasingly obstructed by Saddam Hussein."
From Ann Coulter's September 13 syndicated column:
If you wonder why it took 50 years to get the truth about Joe McCarthy, consider the fanatical campaign of the Clinton acolytes to kill an ABC movie that relies on the 9/11 Commission Report, which whitewashed only 90 percent of Clinton's cowardice and incompetence in the face of terrorism, rather than 100 percent.
Islamic jihadists attacked America year after year throughout the Clinton administration. They did everything but blow up his proverbial "bridge to the 21st century." Every year but one, Clinton found an excuse not to fight back.
Despite the Democrats' current claim that only the capture of Osama bin Laden will magically end terrorism forever, Clinton turned down Sudan's offer to hand us bin Laden in 1996. That year, Mohammed Atta proposed the 9/11 attack to bin Laden.
Clinton refused the handover of bin Laden because -- he said in taped remarks on Feb. 15, 2002 -- "(bin Laden) had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him." Luckily, after 9/11, we can get him on that trespassing charge.
Although Clinton made the criminal justice system the entire U.S. counterterrorism strategy, there was not even an indictment filed after the bombing of either Khobar Towers (1996) or the USS Cole (2000). Indictments were not filed until after Bush/Ashcroft came into office.
Only in 1998 did the Clinton-haters ("normal people") force Clinton into a military response. Solely because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Clinton finally lobbed a few bombs in the general direction of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
In August 1998, three days after Clinton admitted to the nation that he did in fact have "sex with that woman," he bombed Afghanistan and Sudan, doing about as much damage as another Clinton fusillade did to a blue Gap dress.
The day of Clinton's scheduled impeachment, Dec. 18, 1998, he bombed Iraq. This accomplished two things: (1) It delayed his impeachment for one day, and (2) it got a lot of Democrats on record about the monumental danger of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.
So don't tell me impeachment "distracted" Clinton from his aggressive pursuit of terrorists. He never would have bombed anyone if it weren't for the Clinton-haters.
Clinton's own campaign adviser on Iraq, Laurie Mylroie, says Clinton and his advisers are "most culpable" for the intelligence failure that allowed 9/11 to happen.
Now, after five years of no terrorist attacks in America, Democrats are hoping we'll forget the consequences of the Democrat strategy of doing nothing in response to terrorism and abandon the Bush policies that have kept this nation safe since 9/11. But first, they need to rewrite history.