Nabil Elouahabi – “THE PATH TO 9/11”

“THE PATH TO 9/11”A 2-night dramatization of the events leading up to the morning of 9/11/2001 Sun 10 th Sept 8.00 pm BBC TwoMon 11 th Sept  8.30 pm BBC Two Note:
This dramatization is based on “The 9/11 Commission Report” and other published sources and personal interviews. Composite and representative incidents and characters, as well as time compression, have been used for dramatic purposes. A viewer advisory will be assigned closer to airdate. 
Night One 
September 11, 2001.  Teams of terrorist hijackers board four American airliners and take control of the cockpits.  Passengers and flight controllers quickly learn something is terribly wrong….            
February 1993.  On a similarly ordinary day, New York is stunned by a deadly bombing at the World Trade Center.  The discovery of a traceable van part at the site leads to the arrest of one of the conspirators and links him to a mosque led by the Blind Sheikh, a radical cleric. 
 A valuable FBI informant brings down the cleric and his cell, setting off a manhunt for elusive WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef, who narrowly escapes capture in Pakistan, where he is linked to the attempted assassination of Benazir Bhutto.  Yousef travels to the Philippines, where he tests an innovative small bomb that kills a flight passenger and comes close to bringing down the plane as well.  He’s almost captured again when a fire at his bomb-making lab exposes to Manila police his plot involving the simultaneous bombings of a dozen airliners.            
Yousef is finally brought down when an informant in Pakistan tips off a team of agents working in coordination with FBI counterterrorism expert John O’Neill.  Yousef’s trail leads them to a rebel named Usama bin Laden.            
In 1998, journalist John Miller’s interview with bin Laden is broadcast, and O’Neill and others in Washington are alarmed by the al Qaeda leader’s fatwa against the U.S.  CIA field agent “Kirk” contacts bin Laden’s primary opposition, General Massoud of Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, and they concoct a plan to capture bin Laden and bring him to the U.S. to face justice. 
 The plan is never approved for action, but the simultaneous bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa push the Administration to respond with an ineffective missile strike that some think merely elevates bin Laden’s stature in the Muslim world.  Arrests of al Qaeda operatives at the Canadian-U.S. border and in New York on the eve of the millennium provide further evidence that Muslim extremists are bringing their holy war to America. 
Night Two       
The October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole sends O’Neill and his team to Yemen, where he runs afoul of the U.S. Ambassador, who tries to have O’Neill recalled to the States.  The investigation in Yemen stalls, but the White House, confident bin Laden is behind the attack, continues to debate how to stop him.               
 In 2001, counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke’s warnings about bin Laden are downplayed, as is an FBI agent’s warning to his superiors that some suspicious individuals are learning to fly jet aircraft.  O’Neill butts heads with the CIA over their lack of shared information, and while intelligence agencies squabble, al Qaeda terrorists, under the radar, continue with their hijacking plot.O’Neill, his career stalled by an incident wherein he lost his laptop, and tired of the bureaucracy, retires from the FBI in August and takes over security at the WTC. 
Shortly thereafter, the Northern Alliance’s Massoud, who had pressed the U.S. for assistance against the Taliban and warned that bin Laden might strike, is assassinated by al Qaeda agents. 
Two days later comes September 11, and O’Neill dies bravely, along with thousands of others, in an attack by the enemy he had devoted his career to thwarting. In the aftermath, the 9/11 Commission is formed to study the events leading up to that fateful day and to form recommendations to confront the threat of terrorism.  

 “THE PATH TO 9/11” 

 On September 11, 2001 the world stood still as terrorists used four planes as lethal weapons against innocent Americans.
The 9/11 Commission was formed to determine how such an attack could happen, and its report documents the trail from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the tragedy of that autumn morning.
The bipartisan commission effort created a comprehensive record of events and provides valuable insight into what must be done to protect the nation in the future.  
Directed by David L. Cunningham (“To End All Wars”), the project stars acclaimed actor and Oscar nominee Harvey Keitel (“Pulp Fiction,” “The Piano”) as FBI agent John O’Neill, an expert on al Qaeda and on Osama bin Laden at the time of the attacks. His co-stars include (in alphabetical order): Michael Benyaer (“24”) as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Yousef’s uncle; Shirley Douglas (“A House Divided”) as Madeleine Albright; newcomer Mido Hamada as Massoud, one of America’s pivotal allies; Emmy winner Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) as Barbara Bodine, Ambassador to Yemen; Frank John Hughes (“Without a Trace”) as Bill Miller, DSS agent in Pakistan; Penny Johnson Jerald (“24”) as Condoleezza Rice; Dan Lauria (“Wonder Years”) as CIA Director Richard Tenet; Golden Globe winner Amy Madigan (“Carnivale”) as Patricia Carver, a top CIA analyst who prodded her superiors to take further action against terrorism; Michael Murphy (“Tanner on Tanner”) as William Cohen, President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense; Stephen Root (“News Radio”) as Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism advisor to four presidents; William Sadler (“The Shawshank Redemption”) as Neil Herman, an FBI Supervisory Special Agent who worked closely with O’Neill; Katy Selverstone (“Drew Carey Show”) as Nancy Floyd, an agent who cultivated a key informant; Pip Torrens (“Pride & Prejudice”) as CIA man Paul Kessler; film star Shaun Toub (“Crash”) as Emad Salem, an FBI informant who helped bring down the Blind Sheikh, and Donnie Wahlberg as “Kirk,” an undercover CIA agent.
 The miniseries will take viewers behind closed doors at the CIA, the FBI and the White House and into the world of Richard Clarke, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Sandy Berger and CIA Director George Tenet, among others.
Viewers will follow the international manhunt for elusive bomber Ramzi Yousef (Nabile Elouahabi, “Eastenders”) and meet several key players in the 9/11 saga, including: John O’Neill, the career FBI agent who spent years zealously chasing bin Laden; then-ABC newsman John Miller (portrayed by Barclay Hope, “Stargate SG-1”) who interviewed bin Laden; Emad Salem and other key Muslim informants who aided the U.S.; and Ahmed Shah Massoud, commander of the Northern Alliance, a crucial American ally and the person bin Laden feared most.
 The 9/11 Commission Report instantly became a national bestseller when it was published in July 2004. Writer Cyrus Nowrasteh (“The Day Reagan Was Shot”) uses this historic document as the basis for a powerful story with action as gripping and far reaching as the source material itself. Shot in Toronto, Morocco, New York and Washington, DC, actors portray the famous and infamous, along with the formerly anonymous and often heroic people thrust onto history’s stage.

Beginning with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and ending on the morning of 9/11, the miniseries draws on detailed information from the Report and other sources to take viewers on an unforgettable journey through the events that presaged that fateful day — to understand what went right and wrong, and what can be learned from this crucial eight-year period.
Former ABC News anchor John Miller, now the FBI’s Assistant Director of Public Affairs, was also a consultant on the project. His book, The Cell, co-authored with Michael Stone, was optioned by ABC for use in the teleplay. In addition, The Relentless Pursuit by Samuel Katz was also optioned.
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