ABC Airs “The Path to 9/11”

Meaghan Haire

As more and more movies are coming out in theaters and on the television to tell the story of the events of September 11, the question may be posed: what can be learned from these films? When dealing with such sensitive material as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, directors and producers must be very careul with how they present their films and what their message is. On Sunday, September 10, 2006 and Monday, September 11, 2006, the ABC Television Network will debut the epic mini-series event, “The Path to 9/11.” The film is based on the 9/11 Commission Report, along with other sources. The 9/11 Commission was established after September 11 to work toward determining how and why the attacks occurred.”The Path to 9/11″ is a dramatization of the events that occurred, from the bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993 up to the plane hijackings and tragedy on September 11, 2001.ABC’s epic miniseries introduces us to key players behind the tragedy who have, up until this point, been heroic unknowns. The brilliant star of the mini-series, Harvey Keitel (from Pulp Fiction and The Piano), shines as John O’Neill, who is the most significant character in the series. O’Neill was an FBI agent and expert on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Due to certain events, he became the Director of Security at the World Trade Center just a few months before September 11. Other key characters that are introduced are: Ramzi Yousef, a terrorist bomber who was the mastermind behind what the terrorists called “the plane operation;” John Miller, the ABC newsman who obtained the first interview with bin Laden; and Ahmed Shah Massoud, the commander of the Afghan Northern Alliance, depicted as a faithful but underappreciated ally of the United States. Massoud became a great asset to America and is the one person whom bin Laden feared. ABC’s “The Path to 9/11” was created to raise awareness of the importance of these attacks and to help Americans see what needs to be done to stop this from happening again in the future. Throughout the miniseries, quotes of warning and imminent danger pop up and suggest to viewers of the miniseries that the threat remains. Danger still lingers, and even though security and preparedness has become much better, we can still learn from the terrorist attacks of September 11. The addition of hindsight makes watching this miniseries frustrating. Viewers are struck by how much evidence and information the intelligence agencies of the United States had before the attacks, and how little that knowledge was used to prevent the attacks. Sitting through the five hours of film that the 9/11 Commission presents, one is taken into the trenches of Osama bin Laden, the parking garages of the World Trade Center, the deserts of Afghanistan, the homes of the plane hijackers and behind closed doors at the CIA, FBI and the White House. In the process, we learn just how deep and complex the situation is in the Middle East and how much hatred there is toward our nation. It is important to understand what went wrong and what went right on this path to 9/11 so that something can be learned from this great tragedy. In the chaos that resulted from the attacks of September 11, 2001, the focus of news broadcasts and articles was often on the current events and how things might develop in the future. It was easy to lose sight of the explanations for why the attack happened, and what events led up to the airplane hijackings. “The Path to 9/11” offers a poignant and well developed account of the actions, people and problems that led to the terrorist attacks, and is sure to give all viewers new and never before discussed insight into the attacks and the situation in the Middle East. The five-hour epic miniseries will air on ABC in two segments, starting on Sunday, September 10 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET), and will continue on the anniversary of the attack, Monday, September 11 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET). “The Path to 9/11” is a must-see, and a truly fitting and appropriate television event for the upcoming fifth anniversary of the attacks that changed our nation.