Thomas Kean - Co-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission and co-Executive Producer of "The Path To 9/11" speaking on ABC's "This Week" (Sunday September 10) said that he had not seen the final cut of the movie but nonetheless urged people to watch it.
"If people blame Bill Clinton after seeing this, then the mini-series has failed. That's wrong and it shouldn't happen."
On Monday September 11th 2006 in Washington DC at the National Press Club:
"If anybody looks at it and says well, my goodness, the Clinton administration's at fault, not only is that wrong, then the series has failed."
Open Letter to the Honorable Governor Thomas H. Kean Sr.
Dear Governor Kean,
1) Please log on to the internet. You will discover that there are now plenty of people who have seen the mini-series with its fictional depictions - who ARE blaming Bill Clinton and his administration for the 9/11 attacks.
In your own words - "That's wrong."
You said: "It shouldn't happen." But now it has. Just as those of us imploring you last week to do the right thing said it would.
It is now incumbent on you as a decent gentleman to make a clear unequivocal public statement that - in your own words - "the mini-series has failed."
And publicly declare that - in respect of Bill Clinton, his administration, Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright - the mini-series misrepresented the findings of the 9/11 Commission that you co-chaired with Lee Hamilton.
2) As a film and TV producer of 30 years standing I can tell you something you never-ever do as a producer. And that is to allow your name to be placed on a film as an Executive Producer - and make a recommendation that people see it - without having seen and approved of the final cut. Particularly of a film that you KNOW deals with extremely sensitive content - aired at a sensitive time - and that is already under fire for alleged political bias.
In those circumstances it was your civic duty to insist on seeing the FINAL cut PRIOR to making any public recommendation - a recommendation that the public was entitled to take as your personal endorsement.
Sir - you owe the American public an apology. Will you please make one?
3) As co-chairman with Lee Hamilton of the 9/11 Commission you gained bi-partisan respect for your fair handling of the topic of the 9/11 attacks. You made a point of making the vast majority of your appearances on television together with Lee Hamilton. You just wrote a book together.
Please explain to the American public the precise sequence and details of your involvement in this project.
In particular please explain:
A) Who first approached you and asked you to be involved?
B) At what point did you realize that the producers being able to cite your name as an Executive Producer and consultant would lend immense credibility to the film - and might provide the producers with protection from charges of political bias? And when that occurred to you - what steps did you take to ensure that the value of your good name and its association with the 9/11 Commission would not be abused?
C) Since one of the hallmarks of your participation in the 9/11 Commission was the bi-partisan spirit you ensured by working closely with your co-chair Lee Hamilton - what were the precise circumstances of your becoming involved on this project WITHOUT Lee Hamilton?
Did you request that he be engaged alongside you?
What were his initial reactions when you informed him of your intended participation in the project?
In retrospect do you agree that that it would have been more prudent to make your participation on such a politically-sensitive project conditional on Lee Hamilton also agreeing to be involved?
D) When you observed in the script - and the film itself - several sequences in which it was represented that President Clinton's ability to respond to terrorism was affected by the impeachment process - did you feel that that was a fair representation of the Commission's findings?
E) When you observed in the script - and the film itself - that there was not even one sequence depicting President Bush's reactions between his receipt (on August 6th 2001) of the PDB - "Bin Laden Determined To Strike Inside US" - and the events of September 11th 2001 - did you feel that this omission gave viewers a fair representation of the Bush administration's response to that specific admonition?
F) Asked yesterday about the fierce reactions to the film you said:
"What it told me is how raw and sensitive feelings are even five years later. I didn't see, looking at even the earlier cuts, the kind of things people were complaining about."
With all due respect sir - how is it possible that you didn't see those things?
G) When asked yesterday about your reasons for participating in the film you said:
"My hope always was that it would move the ball forward so that people would understand the [9/11] plot better ... and more people would see that than, unfortunately, would ever read our report."
Given that most of the media and public focus has been on the veracity of the fictional scenes in the film - in retrospect do you think that rather than work as an Executive Producer and consultant for ABC (and find your name used as a shield for any criticisms of partiality) - it might have been a more effective and dignified use of your time and power to have been campaigning more aggressively for the implementation of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations?
4) On Monday you made another of your joint appearances with Lee Hamilton. At the National Press Club in Washington DC. You were asked your thoughts about the Bush administration's response to the 41 recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Your response was:
"We are enormously concerned that five years later, some of the ones that seemed most elementary to us, the most fundamental, still haven't been done."
What are your plans going forward to inform the American public of the colossal failure of the Bush administration to implement the Commission's recommendations?
5) You have now expressed yourself as being "enormously concerned" that the Bush administration hasn't acted more effectively on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. This has been during a period in which the Republican Party has held control of the White House, The Senate and The House.
The American public is being asked to vote on November 7th on the election of a new House - and on Senate races that might change the current balance of the Senate.
The Republican Party's primary position in this election is that the security of this nation will be far better represented by the continuation of the leadership of the Republican Party. The same leadership whose inactions have caused you to be "enormously concerned."
Between now and Election Day - the Republican Party will be spending vast sums of money telling the American public that it is safer as a result of its policies and actions since 9/11.
Between now and Election Day - will you be active and vocal about the FAILURES of the Bush administration in implementing the majority of the 9/11 Commission's 41 recommendations?
And make clear to the American public that it is NOT safer. And that the Republican Party claims are untrue?
I await your detailed response to each of the questions above.