NPR logo Hamilton Blasts ABC Sept. 11 Miniseries

Hamilton Blasts ABC Sept. 11 Miniseries

Some tension has developed between the 9/11 Commission co-chairmen Democrat Lee Hamilton and Republican Tom Kean. As they plowed through their investigation of the government's failures in the run-up to Sept. 11, Hamilton and Kean formed a mutual admiration society. Former Indiana Congressman Hamilton called Kean, the former governor of New Jersey, "one of the pre-eminent public servants of our day, bar none." That was before Kean became the co-executive producer of the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 that's aired the last couple of nights.

Yesterday, at a Sept. 11 forum at the National Press Club, Hamilton directed some sharp words at the so-called docudrama. The miniseries had already come in for sharp criticism for falsely portraying the actions, or inactions, of Clinton administration officials as the terrorist threat grew in the years before Sept. 11. A number of the most controversial scenes were edited out after pressure from the Clinton folks, but that didn't keep Hamilton from speaking his mind. With Kean standing next to him, Hamilton said, "It's either a documentary or it is a drama, and to fudge it causes me a great deal of concern." He went on to say, "I don't think it's good for the country, because an event of this consequence is very hard to understand, and to distort it or not present it factually... does not serve the country well."

For his part, Kean said he thought it was a "responsible project."

Incidentally, the New York Times reports today that an FBI agent, Thomas E. Nicoletti, hired to oversee the technical accuracy of the film quit during production because some of the scenes were "total fiction" and the film contained "a lot of historical inaccuracy.